Western Society is in such a rush to arrive .. to have been seen to have “made it”. But, how much human devastation have you seen resulting from men and women who get what they want without the life-change to enable them to do well with it?
It’s my belief that God is less interested in our destination as He is in the journey to get us there. I hold to the realisation that it is what we learn and who we become ON the journey that will sustain us when we get to our destination.
In other words .. ‘what it took to get you there is what it will take to keep you there’.
So, there are three core values that I believe must be central to the building of our church communities. You could call these values “journeys” ..
The Inner Journey (worship, prayer and spiritual formation .. together)
The Outer Journey (mission, justice and service .. together)
The Together Journey (community, fellowship and relationships .. together)
We must aim to be holistic in our approach to church. Many are tired of the program-driven, one-man-show expression of church and desire something that will more realistically meet the needs of the human condition .. something that will truly fill the “God-shaped hole”. Therefore, I believe it is of the utmost importance to discover “who we are together” before we determine “what we do together”.
That’s not to say that we want our church communities to be introspective groups who sit and navel-gaze never achieving anything. Not at all. But I firmly believe that the mission of a church needs to organically develop out of the inherent gifts and callings of each member of the community of believers, trusting that God has planted them where He wants them to grow.
Therefore, Mission should not be so much about top-down imposed “vision”. Rather, it should flow out of a grass-roots groundswell from within the ‘church’ community to reach out and touch the ‘broader’ community.
That obviously takes time .. time which we must be prepared to allow .. because we’re not trying to build a corporation that calls itself a church. What we should desire to do is trust God to build a community as only He can; facing one another .. favouring one another .. serving one another. A little bit like the Trinity really.
I’m not sure that any church community should ever have a “mission statement” or “vision booklet”. Think about it. If you truly assess every church’s mission statement you will find it saying the exact same thing in many different ways. That is, God wants us to extend His Kingdom .. end of story.
If we take John Alley’s revelation at face value, we must agree that the primary anointing released on the day of Pentecost was the anointing to develop community. With that in mind, as we allow God to build a community of believers as only He can, we must first focus on our values and each other (who we are together) and this will in turn give permission for all of us to discover the specifics of our mission (what we do together).
We the church are in a state of flux in terms of how we are learning to express ourselves. We are growing and changing .. together .. and that ought to be just the way we like it.