A city transformed: Loved by God the Father, saved by Jesus His Son, empowered by His Spirit, called by God to reach our city with His love – Trinity, Lakeland.
A Vision Statement is simply an attempt to express an organization’s hope. When our church was planted in January of 1997 we did not want to start just one more congregation. We wanted to be useful to God in helping to reach our city for Christ. We knew that from the outset that the need was large enough in scope that it would require many congregations (even many denominations). And however small our efforts are in the scheme of things, we have always dreamed of seeing our entire city transformed by the love of God in Jesus.
Why do we want to see our city transformed? We believe that Jesus, as our Great God and Savior, is necessary. 4 out of 5 residents in our city have no meaningful connection to Him through a local church (and those statistics are slanted so that the younger you are the worse it gets). While it’s possible to connect to Jesus apart from a local gathering of God’s people, God’s ordinary means for reaching and transforming people is by His church. This sad reality of people’s disconnection from God and his church breaks our hearts. We know the experiences of guilt and we can see the wreckage that life without Jesus brings, so we want to do something about that.
While we believe this is a stark though realistic view of the situation, we also believe that our city is a wonderful place to work. God has given us good work to do, to pursue Truth and Life in a way that reflects well on Him and is good for anyone. God wants us to be a blessing for the good of those around us. This is what God’s Word means to “seek the welfare of the city.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
Why Trinity? Our work to transform our city flows from our beliefs about God’s very nature revealed in the Bible. Most significant to us is that God is loving. We can see this especially in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. As mysterious as this is, God’s nature as Three-in-One at least means that He is (and always has been) relational! There has never been anything but love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Love is not merely something God does; loving is how God has always been and always will be!
God is also powerfully active! What fuels us is our hope in God’s love and grace. The Bible is clear that our hope is not in anything that we have done or could do, but that our hope is in what God alone has done and will do. It is not about what we do; it’s all about Jesus and what He’s done. In His work to save sinful people like us, God the Father Almighty set in motion an undeniable plan. God the Son came to this earth in Christ to accomplish this plan, and His dying words were, “It is finished!” And God the Spirit applies this work of Christ into the hearts of every last true believer – He literally works into us what Jesus did for us. Therefore, this Triune God is not only a communion of love who made us to love like Him, but He is also a God of great power who works to forgive and transform us so that we can love like him.
Believing this good news, this is one of the many reasons that we were eager to take the name Trinity Presbyterian Church. So as we say in our Vision Statement, “Loved by God the Father, saved by Jesus His Son, empowered by His Spirit,” we believe that God has called us extend His love to men, women and children throughout our city. It is not our works that we’re proclaiming but His. Our hope is in God’s work. And because we’re saved by God’s grace (and not by anything we’ve done) we’re humble. Yet also, because it is God’s work (and not ours) we’re hopeful. What’s He has done to redeem people like us, He could do for anyone, and what He does no one can reverse.
So this is our vision as His people. Our city transformed by God’s love and power – His grace – our hope.