We’re continuing to post on the vision and values of our church plant.
So far: 1. “Why?” – 2. Our mission – 3. Skeptics and Dreamers – 4. Missionary communities – 5. Journey, Honesty, Community – 6. Participation, Oikos, Simplicity, Wonder – 7. Creativity, Roots, Justice, Truth – 8. 3D Church – 9. Gatherings
Today: a sketch of our philosophy of ministry
This stuff is perhaps for the more technically-minded. But reading it will definitely give you a good picture of the ethos we want to cultivate as a community (shout-out to my friend JR Briggs, by the way – I based much of this on the community he planted).
- Our desire is to be known more for our sending capacity than our seating capacity (a friend came up with that phrase, love it!). Therefore, we desire to send regular people out into the world as missionaries: teachers, students, plumbers, businessmen and stay-at-home moms in the name of Jesus.
- We desire to connect more with the de-churched and the un-churched than the overly-churched.
- Our desire is to reach people who are skeptical or cynical towards Church, have left the church or have never experienced a meaningful, authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.
- We desire to communicate, embrace and live out a more robust gospel, holistic in understanding. We believe the gospel renews us as individuals, it renews us as the Church, it renews the communities in which we live, work and play and it renews the systems and structures that operate in our culture.
- Our evangelism strategy will be geared specifically to post-Christian culture: to make clear the meaning of the word of proclamation (kerygma) by means of a life lived in fellowship (koinonia) and finding its expression in simple service (diakonia). These are not isolated “ministries” of the church but vitally integrated aspects of a holistic understanding of the gospel.
- Our approach will be much more “relational-familial” than “business-corporate” in its structure.
- We desire to lead out of our unofficial influence rather than out of our job titles or positions.
- We will lead by both our strengths and our weaknesses, believing that God is honored by our willingness to obey.
- While structure and order are important they are not the end-all sign of health. After all, a graveyard is extremely orderly. So we desire to lead in the midst of a healthy chaos. We embrace the chaos, rather than run from it, trying to adopt a playful attitude toward the mess we will often experience.
- While there will be appropriate assignments of responsibility, authority, and leadership, the hierarchical structure will be much more “flat,” taking more of a team approach to decision-making.
- We will place a high priority on identifying, building into, training, equipping and unleashing new and younger leaders in their passions and giftedness.
- Communication will be honest, transparent and forthright with the faith community because we are family.
- We will take risks in leadership, not simply seeking to “play it safe.” We will seek to cultivate a culture that gives people permission to take risks and to fail.
- We desire to lead not as experts, but as fellow journeymen. We desire to lead with our questions, not merely our answers, and won’t hesitate to admit when we don’t know the answer.
- The elders, staff and key volunteers will not only know each other, but be expected to live life together (i.e. be in each others’ homes, have fun/celebrate together, pray with and for each other, spend time together outside of official church responsibilities, etc.)
- We will confess our sins to one another and share one another’s burdens and seek to pray regularly and often for each other.
- Prayer will be a high value and will be present often (i.e. a heavy presence in our services, during the week in homes and communities and in regular times of corporate prayer gatherings as a church).
- We desire for people to be participants in the kingdom of God, not spectators of a religious show. Therefore, participation will be a very high value in the planning of our worship services. Our services are intended to be shaped together by all of us in big and small ways rather than be left to the experts to do all the work up front.
- Excellence (in the sense of a polished, professional presentation) will not be one of the highest of values. While we certainly do not desire shoddiness, we desire to be known more for our authenticity and realness than if we can pull off an excellent show.
- We will provide an element of healthy discomfort, challenging people and calling them out of their comfort zones, rather than encouraging their comfort.
- Our services will be an extension of our mission, a time to equip people for mission, not the “high-water mark” of our week as followers of Jesus.
- We desire to have a high spiritual sensitivity to our own souls, each others’ souls and souls of our communities.
- We believe that structure must always submit to Spirit. Therefore we desire to be dialed in to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and for our decision-making as a church.
- We desire to be known more for our spiritual sensitivity than our business acumen.
- We believe that brokenness and authenticity honor God and inspire people. Therefore we will strive to create a safe, come-as-you-are atmosphere where people can be themselves. This includes their questions, who they are, how they dress, etc.
- We give permission for people to be honest about their messiness and to admit their brokenness and desperation.
- We want to create a safe place that gives people permission to ask uncomfortable questions about God, faith, life and church.
MEASUREMENTS OF SUCCESS
- While buildings, budget and attendance can be indicators of health, we do not desire for that to be the primary elements of measuring success.
- We desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore we will know if we are a “successful” church by measuring spiritual growth, missional impact, multiplication and reproducibility.
- We will measure our success by the stories that we experience, hear and share with one another as to how God’s Spirit is working through us and in us by our obedience.
- We desire for leaders to be “out there” with others rather than spend the majority of our time during the week in an office behind a desk.
- We desire to have fun as a staff. Therefore, we will proactively initiate regular opportunities to celebrate life together in meaningful, creative, healthy and God-honoring ways.
- We desire to create an atmosphere where we can be lovingly honest with one another and cultivate an environment saturated with trust.
- Our desire is not to become one large monolithic church. We believe that the best way we grow healthier is by growing smaller as we grow bigger – by emphasizing and creating opportunities for people to connect in smaller communities, while maintaining connection to the larger church.
- We realize that to have a strong “dispersion” we must have a strong center and we will seek to live in this tension in terms of gatherings and finances.
- We desire to have a regular meeting location for our worship gatherings that does not “turn off” the skeptics and dreamers we are reaching out to.
- We will actively seek to find inexpensive/shared space, possibly partnering with other churches in this regard.
- We are open to the possibility of owning a building if it fits with the missional goals and ethos of our community.
Next post – An Invitation to Partner