We eliminate barriers to give people access to Christ.
The small word "to" would have been easy to skip over in my weekly discipline of meditating on each word of the mission statement. I mean, it's so small. What could I possibly think about for a week! But, I decided to give it a try and was quite surprised at all that I discovered about this small word.
I realized that the word "to" is linked to an action that Christ modeled for us. Christ came to our world. Christ came near. Missionaries call this the "incarnational model" of going to people and living among them and becoming like them so that barriers are eliminated and people have access to Christ. God himself came to us and loved us, even unto death (Phil. 2).
Our church has some interesting diversity between our three sites. It is important that we go to each site with an incarnational mentality that has at its core humility and love for what is unique to that place and people. That is what Christ did when he entered history and walked among us.
Secondly, I realized that the word "to" connects the first half of the mission statement to our purpose. The first half, "we eliminate barriers" is what we are set on doing. OK.... That gives us something to do. But, is it worth doing? I mean, we could eliminate barriers to make people happy...or to hear cool music every week...or to get a good meal every weekend...or help families have time together in a safe environment...or even help each of us celebrate recovery from the baggage of our lives. But, this small word "to" connects our efforts of "eliminating barriers" to God himself, Jesus Christ. When people are connected to God, we have connected them to everything they need for life and godliness. And that, from my stand point, is a pretty cool thing! That, for me, makes the mission statement worth doing.