We have chosen three words – Daring, Declaring, Delighting – to express the heart of our vision for the church.
Daring to live by the Word and the Spirit
Many people consider the Christian life to be boring and irrelevant, something just for small children and little old ladies. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against small children and little old ladies but when we read the pages of the bible we see that God is also very interested in men and women of all ages and calls them to follow Him and face danger and adventure – in short to be Daring! It takes courage and boldness to faithfully apply the Word of God to our lives. It takes us out of our comfort zone and cause us to live counter cultural lives. Similarly Spirit filled men and women in the bible don’t get to live lives of comfort and ease. Slippers and sofas are not on the agenda for people like Stephen, Peter and Paul. Prompted by the Spirit they welcomed opposition and even death for the sake of Jesus.
Declaring the Grace and Mercy of Jesus
When Jesus took up the scroll in the synagogue in Luke 4:16-30 he unveiled the manifesto of the Kingdom of God; a manifesto that offered hope in the here and now and hope for eternity. The world loves to try and box Christians into their agenda, and even some Christians seem to imagine that we must choose between a social gospel and a spiritual gospel. That is not the gospel of Jesus! He came proclaiming a message of salvation that brought healing for the present, hope for eternity and care for the poor, weak and vulnerable. He trained and equipped his disciples to do the same and commanded them to equip and train others – us in other words. Church is God’s plan A for reaching the world – there is no plan B. Church is here to heal the sick, preach the good news and care for the poor.
Delighting in God and His people
I recently saw a video interview where someone commented that they really liked God. There was a ripple of ironic laughter at the thought that this was a surprising concept. Tragically however it often is. People think of God as a severe head teacher – to be feared and avoided. Again a true biblical understanding of God is that for those who have been forgiven through Jesus, God is highly approachable and pleased to welcome us into his presence. As we worship God together we are able to experience his delight in us and in return enjoy him. What’s more, as we each individually draw closer to God he knits us together into a wonderful family of fellow disciples who love each other and enjoy being together.
David Grant | Leader