I. The Mission of the Church: Why Does the Church Exist?
The purpose of the church is live as God’s people –
to be a taste of the coming kingdom,
- by submitting to God as king in all things (worship)
- by engaging one another in Spirit-filled community (relationship)
- by embodying the presence of Christ in the world (mission)
Our goal in ministry will be at all times to give people a taste of the kingdom of God and of Christ our King through the power of the Holy Spirit. We will do this through worship, relationships and mission. These are not three separate purposes, but one, and they should occur simultaneously. Robert Webber ties them together well: “The church’s mission is to show the world what it looks like when a community of people live under the reign of God”. There are three primary components to accomplishing this mission:
1. Casting a vision:
We are convinced with every fiber of our being that if people really see Christ as he is (by the grace of God), they will genuinely want to follow Him. Rather than focusing on behavior modification (changing what people do), we will endeavor to cast a vision of Christ, removing all the barriers we can, in the hope that they will begin to fall in love with Him.
2. Creating a community:
Our goal is to create a community where it is apparent from the way that we preach, worship, love one another and serve the community that we are citizens of a different kind of kingdom and servants of another king. Rather than wasting our energy on criticizing other churches or people, we want to “criticize by creating” something that is faithful to Scripture and marked by faith, love and hope. Our desire is to create a deeper hunger and a thirst for Christ and his kingdom in all who experience this community. The “cultural values” of this community are unpacked in the “portrait of a disciple”.
3. Cultivating Christ-followers:
When people genuinely desire to follow Christ, they will want and need “cultivation”: an organic investment of training, tools, and time, to help them take the next step of faith as they become more like Christ. Christ followers by definition are disciples, servant leaders, missionaries and ministers who live their lives with God (communion) and for God (ministry). The principles of nurture used here are unpacked in the third section of this document.