As you may have heard, some friends and I are planting a church. This post is part of a series I’m doing that outlines some of the vision God has given us. I’d love to interact with you about it.
We want our community to be known as a safe place for skeptics and dreamers to explore the gospel.
We aren’t very interested in making church “cooler” in the sense of having a polished presentation and professional production values in worship services. Instead we want to cultivate communities that are connecting with the un-churched and de-churched, but not in a salesman-y way. Not as a program. Not with hidden agendas and motives, but with genuine friendship and love. Jesus connected with those on the margins, and our passion is to follow him in that way, helping those who are spiritually disconnected experience the transforming love of God that comes through the good news of Jesus. G.K. Chesteron wrote, “The church is the only institution that exists solely for the benefit of non-members.” So in essence, we are here for people who are not here.
We want to be intentional about humbly, authentically engaging with those who have left the church, those who are doubting and questioning, those who are disillusioned and hurting, those who dream of another world. We desire to cultivate a community where these skeptics and dreamers can be organically connected to the renewing, healing love of God, be equipped as followers of Jesus, and sent as ambassadors of God’s kingdom.
Lesslie Newbigin wrote, “The best apologetic of the gospel is a congregation that believes it.” In an age that views all truth claims with skepticism and suspicion, the best evidence that the gospel of Jesus is true is a flesh-and-blood community that is honestly and openly seeking to live out the implications of the gospel. The message of the gospel must be expressed holistically, through words (kerygma), a new kind of community (koinonia), and that community’s simple service to the culture it find itself in (diakonia). (A few Greek words for the theology nerds out there!)
We believe the gospel really does change everything, starting with us. We’re going to seek to embody the good news of Jesus in our community as a vital part of our evangelism strategy. We would love it if it was said of our community what was said of Christians in the second and third century by intrigued seekers: “Behold how they love one another!” and “Not only do they take care of their own poor, but they’re taking some of our poor, as well.” Through a life of genuine Christian community and simple service, the message of the gospel takes on flesh and can become intelligible and attractive to post-Christian people.
Next post – Missionary Communities