Vision and Values – Introduction, & Value 1: Loving

Vision and Values of ‘All Saints’

Loving (1 John 4: 7-12 and Matthew 22: 36-40)

Earlier this year the PCC spent some time thinking about, praying and discussing what our Vision and Values should be here at All Saints.  Then at our APCM meeting in April we shared them with everyone. 

And so now as we head into Autumn we’re going to spend some time focussing on our Vision and Values and how they shape and form us as God’s people in this community.

Let’s start by thinking a bit about Vision….

So, to get us started here are some vision statements from leading world-wide companies/organisations.

Let’s have a look at a few and see if you can guess who they belong to. 

  1. Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.  (Nike)
  2. To save the world from mediocre coffee…  (Costa Coffee)
  3. Inspire the world.  Create the future (Samsung)
  4. To be the world’s best, quick service restaurant experience.  Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.  (McDonalds)
  5. A just world without poverty (Oxfam)

Five quite different Vision statements… but there are several characteristics that they share.

Firstly, Vision is about the future. 

Secondly, Vision is all about having a clear picture, a picture in your mind’s eye of the way things could or should be in the days ahead. 

But Vision isn’t just a vague hope or wish or dream, rather Vision carries with it a sense of deep conviction that this must be accomplished. There is a convicting element that propels, enlivens, inspires and energizes so that the picture isn’t just a passive interest, but becomes action and accomplishment.

So, Vision shapes, it influences, it motivates, it directs and gives purpose.

Now keeping all that on the back burner, it is also worth noting that Vision is found in the Bible time and time again.   

I believe our God is a God of vision.

God called Abraham the Father of many nations long before his wife ever had her first child.

God spoke to Moses and promised deliverance for his people – even though they looked trapped in oppression and slavery. 

God saw a fresh start and new beginnings for Ruth and Naomi when they thought all had ended.

God saw a King, a leader in a young shepherd boy named David!

God saw the mother of Jesus the Messiah in a young virgin girl.

Time and time again God had a picture – a vision… and it wasn’t fanciful, but step by step that Vision became a reality.   

It shaped individuals, communities and nations. 

God’s Vision has always been about freedom, healing, and relationship with a loving heavenly Father. 

As a PCC we also had in our minds the stories Jesus told of God’s kingdom, stories of growth, mustard seeds becoming towering trees, stories of invitation and welcome, stories of change, transformation and healing, stories of acceptance and love.

And so, with all of this in our hearts and minds the PCC agreed this Vision Statement. 

Our Vision is to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church for the community of Denmead.

And to build on that, we came up with three things that we want to be as God’s people:

KNOW God – that after all is the very heart of the Christian faith….  a people who know God, not just a head knowledge about God, not just facts, rather an active relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  A relationship of worship and trust, not just at church, but daily in every part of our lives.

Then we want to be a people who GROW in our faith and discipleship through prayer, study and trust in God.  So we don’t want to be a people who are stuck in the past, rather we want to be a people who day by day are following after Christ… to be a people who are looking to become more like Jesus in our thoughts, our actions, our relationships with others, and this will happen as we pray, as we study God’s word, as we trust daily in God.

And then very importantly we want to be a people who SHOW God’s love by serving our community…in actions and compassion, but crucially in sharing the good news of Jesus in the power of the Spirit.  We have the most amazing news ever – and it changes lives, brings transformation and healing….and so we want to talk about Jesus like it really matters.

And these three go together, and in a sense feed each other.  The more we KNOW God, the more we want to GROW, and as we GROW the more we want to SHOW and share that love with others.  And in turn the more we see lives changed and transformed, the more we want to KNOW God…and GROW and so we continue.

  • It is this Vision that we’re now aiming for, working towards… It motivates, directs and inspires our decisions, our actions, our thoughts, and our prayers. 
  • It’s a Vision with a desire to help every person, whether young or old, new to faith or been around for ever, an occasional visitor or regular attender, to help each and every person encounter God.
  • It is this Vision that forms who we are… our actions, our attitudes, our relationships.
  • This Vision shapes our culture…our ethos… it is who and what we are, both as individuals and as a community.

And so, to guide us, to help form our understanding we identified eight values which we want to embrace and live out as God’s people in this place.

And top of the list was LOVE.

In all that we are and do, we will seek to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves.

It is centred on two passages from scripture, we’ve we heard earlier, and now we turn our attention to briefly.

Our passage from Matthew’s gospel recounts a conversation Jesus had with an individual who was trying to catch him out.  The individual wanted to know what part of the law mattered most. 

At that time, the Pharisees prided themselves on meticulous observance of the Law.  They not only knew the Ten Commandments, but they paid rigorous attention to all the laws in the books of Moses–613 laws. 

They tried to reason out the implications of the laws, and to make sure that they avoided even the possibility of violating any of them.

But the Pharisees had lost their way….

Jesus makes clear that the very heart of the matter is loving God – every inch, so to speak, our hearts, our minds, our wills, our attitudes, complete and utter full devotion.  This says Jesus is the heartbeat of all the commandments.   

Note that it is the first commandment, but not the only one.  Jesus follows it with a second commandment to love our neighbour as yourself.  Loving God empowers us to love other people.  To see them in the right frame of mind.

Jesus loved us perfectly and gave himself for us (Galatians 2:20).  He saved us when none of us could save ourselves (Romans 5:6-10).  And now, when we put our trust in him, we are united to him, and we are transformed so that we can imitate the pattern of his love: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 RSV). 

Through Jesus Christ we receive not only understanding of God’s will, but power and motivation to serve Him.  In receiving His love, we can, in turn, love others.

Our second passage taken from John’s letter, it reminds us that “God is love.”

Love is not just something God does, rather it is what He is, at the deepest level.

God is a Trinity of relationships and love is the very heart of the universe. 

There is nothing deeper than love. Love has eternally existed and the whole world was created out of God’s eternal love. God is the author of love and because He is love, all real love involves His very being.

So, when we have a share in this love, it is a sign that we are born of Him, belong to him in our very nature as His children.  As we love, we know Him who is love.  We are created for relationship, as He is relationship.  We are created to know ourselves in loving relationships with God and each other.

John says in v. 9 that God’s love is made manifest among us in the sending of His only Son into the world “so that we might live through him.” We learn or see this love that is God’s most clearly in the sending and coming of Jesus, His uniting Himself to our fallen nature to heal us from the inside out and give us a share in the very life He has with the Father.

Jesus is the “expiation for our sins” (v.10). By His life, death, and resurrection, He becomes the one who removes us from sin and heals and straightens out all that is broken in our lives. Now we live through Him, live in His life and receive His love.

So, in Jesus we see what true love is: love breaks down barriers, overcomes obstacles to come to the beloved. This love endures rejection and misunderstanding to bring about reconciliation, healing, peace, and life. In Christ, we see God’s great commitment to love us to perfection, to do all that is necessary to give us the fullness of love He already knows in His triune self. True love loves to perfection and perfects all that it loves. True love will not, in the end, settle for anything less than the perfection of the beloved. He accepts us where we are only to take us to where He is: the perfection of love.

So how do we love one another? Some days, if we are honest with ourselves, this can be hard to do even with those who are closest to us – husbands, wives, children, parents.   

Do we simply grit our teeth and try harder? Is it just a matter of bending our wills?

I don’t think so.

Notice John addresses his readers twice as “beloved.”

Who are we? We are the ones who are loved by God. In verse 10 John says, “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us …”

Love does not start with us. God has always been love.  He created us in love, and He sent His only son to redeem us and make us sharers in the great love of the universe that has always existed. Our love grows as we receive this love from Him, as we open our arms and hearts and let Him love us.

As we turn to God and receive again the good news of His passionate love, then we abide in His love and His love is perfected in us.   

God will enable us to grow in our ability to love as we act out of our faith in Him and in this process, He will perfect His love in us – we will indeed know a day where we live in love, moment by moment.

In the weeks ahead, we will return to our Vision and consider the other values. 

So today, can I encourage us all, to turn to God again,

to receive his love poured out for us in Jesus,

to welcome him into our hearts afresh and to ask Him for his help, 

– that we might love Him with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves.

As we live in this way, with this value central to all we do….

It will help us to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church for the community of Denmead. It will help us be a people who KNOW God, GROW deeper in Him and Show His love and truth to others.  Amen.

Values: 2. “Missional”

Vision and Values at All Saints

Missional (John 3: 16-21 and Matthew 5: 13-16)

We’ve just begun a new series thinking about our Vision and Values here at All Saints. 

Two weeks ago, we explored the whole idea of Vision… so just a quick reminder as we begin today….

First of all, Vision is about the future. It’s about having a clear picture, a picture in your mind’s eye of the way things could or should be in the days ahead. 

And Vision isn’t just a vague hope or wish or dream, rather Vision carries with it a sense of deep conviction that this must be accomplished. There is a convicting element that propels, enlivens, inspires and energizes so that the picture isn’t just a passive interest, but becomes action and accomplishment.

And so, Vision shapes, it influences, it motivates, it directs and gives purpose.

And we also recognised that throughout the Bible we are introduced to a God who is a God of Vision –  humanity began with his vision, spoken into being… a wonderful created world, with relationship, love and trust between God and humanity at the heart of it…. and then time and time again as we read through Scripture God’s vision was given to individuals:

  • God called Abraham the Father of many nations long before his wife ever had her first child.
  • God spoke to Moses and promised deliverance for his people – even though they looked trapped in oppression and slavery. 
  • God saw a fresh start and new beginnings for Ruth and Naomi when they thought all had ended.
  • God saw a King, a leader in a young shepherd boy named David!
  • God saw the mother of Jesus the Messiah in a young virgin girl.

Time and time again God had a picture – a vision… and it wasn’t fanciful, but step by step that Vision became a reality.   

It shaped individuals, communities and nations. 

God’s Vision has always been about freedom, healing, and relationship with a loving heavenly Father. 

So earlier this year the PCC met, and as we discussed and prayed together, we formed this Vision for All Saints. 

Our Vision is to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church for the community of Denmead.

And to build on that, we came up with three things that we want to be as God’s people:

KNOW God – that after all is the very heart of the Christian faith….  a people who know God, not just a head knowledge about God, not just facts, rather an active relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  A relationship of worship and trust, not just at church, but daily in every part of our lives.

Then we want to be a people who GROW in our faith and discipleship through prayer, study and trust in God.  So we don’t want to be a people who are stuck in the past, rather we want to be a people who day by day are following after Christ… to be a people who are looking to become more like Jesus in our thoughts, our actions, our relationships with others, and this will happen as we pray, as we study God’s word, as we trust daily in God.

And then very importantly we want to be a people who SHOW God’s love by serving our community…in actions and compassion, but crucially in sharing the good news of Jesus in the power of the Spirit.  We have the most amazing news ever – and it changes lives, brings transformation and healing….and so we want to talk about Jesus like it really matters.

And these three go together, and in a sense feed each other.  The more we KNOW God, the more we want to GROW, and as we GROW the more we want to SHOW and share that love with others.  And in turn the more we see lives changed and transformed, the more we want to KNOW God…and GROW and so we continue.

  • It is this Vision that we’re now aiming for, working towards… It motivates, directs and inspires our decisions, our actions, our thoughts, and our prayers. 
  • It’s a Vision with a desire to help every person, whether young or old, new to faith or been around for ever, an occasional visitor or regular attender, to help each and every person encounter God.
  • It is this Vision that forms who we are… our actions, our attitudes, our relationships.
  • This Vision shapes our culture…our ethos… it is who and what we are, both as individuals and as a community.

And so, from here the PCC identified eight values which we want to embrace and live out as God’s people in this place.

The first value we identified was Love – we want to be a loving community – that as God’s people we want to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves.

And following right behind this value, in fact almost inextricably linked to loving, was a deep desire to be a missional people. 

In all that we are, and all that we do, in every area of life, individually and collectively, we will reach out to others with the love of God.

To be a people whose heart’s desire is outward… not focussed on us… but longs to share God’s love with others.

Our thinking was influenced by two passages – both of which we heard earlier. 

Our passage from John’s gospel begins with perhaps one of the best-known passages of scripture.  Jesus says

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish – but have eternal life” 

No other verse in the Bible so succinctly summarizes God’s relationship with humanity and the way of salvation.

Some consider John 3:16 as the “theme verse” for the entire Bible. John 3:16 tells us of the love God has for us and the extent of that love—so great that He sacrificed His only Son on our behalf.

John 3:16 teaches us that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, will be saved.

This verse gives us the glorious hope of eternal life through the love of God and death of Jesus Christ.

This love, God’s love… for each and every person is beyond compare… it is deep, it is real, it is amazing…. The very best,

And it is this love – the good news of Jesus that we are called to share with others. 

In fact, it is our calling….  Jesus made that calling clear in his sermon on the mount.

As Jesus spoke to all his would-be followers Jesus said you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. 

Jesus was calling his early disciples, those who wanted to follow after him to be different, to be distinctive…to make a difference, to be salt, to be light in the darkness. 

And that calling remains true for us today…

We are called to be salt, to be light, to be distinctive, to be different…

to reach out to others with the love of God.

Our calling, to share God’s love impacts every of life, both as individuals and as a community of faith in this place. 


Now one of the ways we can do this collectively is to work in partnership with charities and mission organisations to share God’s love with those in need.

In recent years All Saints has supported many, many different missionary groups and charities… sending them money each year – about 7% of our income, and occasionally exchanging news. 

Now this was, and has been good, but it was rather hard to remember who we were working with… and to form any meaningful relationships/partnerships in which news and prayers requests were exchanged… as there were in a sense too many.

And so, the Mission team have made the decision to work in much closer partnership with 5 main groups, in the hope that with time, we will develop and form stronger and deeper partnerships – partnerships which aren’t just about us sending financial support (all though we will of course continue to do this) but partnerships in which news is exchanged, prayers are shared, friendships formed, projects and initiatives are supported, the voice of the marginalised championed and as a result God’s love is shared in very real practical ways.

So I’m just going to introduce us to each mission partner…

The Children’s Society

The Children’s Society are a national charity that works with the country’s most vulnerable children and young people. They seek to listen, support and act – because no child should feel alone.

Last year they worked with over 11,000 vulnerable children and young people, while their policy changes will improve the lives of more than half a million children.

Already at All Saints we hold a Christingle Service each Advent in support of the Children’s Society and many of our members collect loose change at home to donate at the Box Opening each year.  But we are looking to build this relationship to perhaps support other projects. 

Friends Without Borders

The mission group was aware that we are close to Portsmouth – an area that has many asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants.  And so, the mission group was keen to partner with a charity that works on their behalf. 

Friends Without Borders provides a drop-in project giving clients a safe place to meet and professionally access advice and advocacy.  They provide specially trained Access to Justice Volunteers who give free legal advice to those who need it.

Today we have Michael Wooley with us, the Chair of Friends Without Borders.

Church Mission Society

Now the Church Mission Society works all around the world enabling, facilitating, training Christians to make a difference and join in God’s mission both abroad and in local contexts. 

We’re just forming a link and beginning to support a young family, Doug and Jacqui Marshall who work in Malta supporting and caring for Asylum Seekers. 

We really hope that this link will grow and that perhaps next year they might be able to visit us, and that we can really develop a friendship with, and be supportive to Doug and Jacqui and their family.

Mission Aviation Fellowship. 

This is what MAF say:

In today’s ‘connected world’, the irony is that never have so many people been so isolated. Flying onto desert and jungle airstrips, lakes and rivers, tracks and roads, MAF’s light aircraft and their mission pilots go the extra miles to provide a lifeline. 

Working in partnership with hundreds of other Christian and relief organisations, MAF enables practical help, physical healing, and spiritual hope to be delivered to many of the most remote and inaccessible communities on the planet.   For 70 years, MAF has been flying for life.

We have supported MAF on and off over the years – we now want to work harder at forming a close partnership with them, supporting their projects, praying for their work and raising awareness.

IDWAL

IDWAL stands for the Inter Diocesan West Africa Link that Portsmouth diocese encourages.  It is a link All Saints have supported very closely over several years, and we didn’t want to lose this link. Our Deanery Havant is linked with Diocese of Koforidua, Ghana.

And as a church we are linked to St Paul’s, Tafo.  Over the years we have worked in close partnership with several visits taking place.  Last year we had a special week focussed on our partnership with St Paul’s. 

We want to do whatever we can to encourage and develop this link – and the sharing of new and prayer requests.


As we move into next year, we really want to encourage these links, we hope each month to focus on one of our mission links, to share news, to share prayer requests, to raise awareness. 

Each day at Morning Prayer – starting tomorrow we will pray for our mission links… A different link each day. 

And we’ve also updated our noticeboards at the back of church and our website with a whole section focussed on our mission links… we will use these spaces to post up news, share prayer requests.

So, let’s just take a moment to be still – to reflect on all that we’ve heard…and then I’ll lead us in prayer.

Father God

Thank you for sending Jesus to die for each of us, so that we could know eternal life.

Help us to be salt and light… to be distinctive, to make a difference to share your love and truth with others. 

Lead us together, as we seek to work in partnership with others to share your love locally and further afield. 

We pray in Jesus name, Amen.


As we live in this way, with this value central to all we do….

It will help us to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church for the community of Denmead. It will help us be a people who KNOW God, GROW deeper in Him and SHOW His love and truth to others.  Amen.