The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism reads this way:
What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
We can’t think of a more concise, more Biblical way of stating what we want to do as a church! Our first and essential response to God’s magnificent grace is thankful praise. Ultimately, in everything we do, we want to glorify and enjoy God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We do this most explicitly when we gather for Worship on Sunday mornings. But we want that central purpose (vision) to drive everything at Ascension. So, our mission consists of three simple (yet profound) ways we will pursue that vision; we want to believe, pray, and love.
Jesus said we’re to be disciples who make disciples. In our view, discipleship includes both the introduction of new people to the faith and the maturation of believers in the faith. The way forward for any of us is the same; we must believe in who God is, what he has done for us, and what he promises to do. The response to his grace that God desires from us is faith (trust, belief), which then expresses itself in obedience. So the proclamation of the Gospel for our faith is central. We seek to engage in relational evangelism, local and foreign missions, bible studies, counseling, leadership development, and other things that teach people of all ages and from all nations to trust and obey the Triune God.
Faith is not just about head knowledge. Prayer is a vital application of our faith. Christianity is about a relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ, and all relationships flourish through communication. Prayer is an expression to God of our love for and dependence on him, and it is the way Jesus prescribed for advancing God’s kingdom on the earth. We are changed as we submit our lives and wishes to God in prayer. And God is glorified as he answers the prayers of his people. Prayer, then, is a crucial part of the church’s participation in God’s own mission. So we hold one another up in prayer regularly, and we pray at all our meetings for God’s grace, strength, presence, and guidance among his people.
God’s love for us in Christ wins our love for him and teaches us how to love others. Meaningful fellowship is important to us as both an end goal of the Gospel and as a means of displaying the Gospel. So we hope to love one another from changed hearts, to speak kindly so as to edify, to be hospitable to everyone in order to extend the love of Christ to them. Likewise, love displays itself in merciful service. We would imitate Jesus by entering into the lives of other people, in laying down our lives for them, self-sacrificially treating them with the favor we have been shown by God. We want to have deep concern for the real welfare of the people in our lives. We will find ways to care for one another in the church, and to show mercy outside the church in order to testify to the coming Kingdom of God.