Making Disciples - Planting Churches
We believe disciples of Jesus should be powerful people. Powerful people are spiritually mature people who courageously allow God to develop them into His Son’s image. Like grapes from the vine, only the ripe can be squeezed into wine. When we are truly developed in the Spirit, crushing us yields something sweet rather than something sour. That is what it means to be powerful. When we naturally return mercy for malice, blessing for curse, forgiveness for injury, and love for hate, we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us. When these same people preach the gospel of Jesus Christ with signs, wonders, and miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, they become God’s growing testimony in their city. Those are powerful people. We want to be such people.
To be powerful is to value supernatural character over success. To be powerful is to be like Jesus. God uses the pressures of life like a hammer, and His Word like a chisel, to sculpt us into Christ’s image. But God’s workshop for such sculpting is our spiritual family, the Church. Discipleship occurs within an organic, covenant community. We need spiritual family, filled with God’s love through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5), to create a horizontal environment of encouragement, acceptance, safety, holiness, and exhortation toward Christ-likeness. But that same family also provides the context for us to serve others in their spiritual journeys. Biblical church is a family that requires us to take responsibility, be conformed to Jesus’ image, serve people, and therefore become powerful. Healthy relationships within a spiritual family develop love in us. And Christ-like, biblical love in the Holy Spirit is powerful.
To make disciples and plant house churches in our city. We believe the best way to fill our city with Christ is to make disciples who meet and multiply through small, close-knit groups called churches. Out of such churches emerge the creative presence and power of Christ through: a consistent flow of love, evangelism, and discipleship; strong leaders; compassion for the poor; and impact on the city’s moral well being.
To plant and nurture house churches. Each church is called to be a Jesus-centered, Spirit-filled “family on mission.” We believe God’s Kingdom on earth looks like people who look like Jesus. We want to be that kind of people – people who allow the Spirit to develop the image of Jesus in us both as individuals (Rom 8:28-30), as well as churches (Eph 4:7-16). So we do certain things together: 1) meet as groups for worship, prayer, and sharing the spiritual gifts; 2) cultivate relationships outside of church gatherings; 3) meet in smaller groups for more intensive discipleship; 5) help take care of one another’s needs; and 6) reach out to our community with the gospel and acts of love.
We want to be a presence centered people. A people who prioritize the presence and voice of Jesus in all things, and above all things. His presence is the hub of life, it is central to everything. Everything that we seek to be, cultivate, and pursue must come out of our lives being centered in and on His presence. We desire to be a family that bears His image. We are jealous to have our lives and everything around us marked by His presence.
We are kingdom people, by way of declaration and demonstration. We want to preach the kingdom with our lips and have it on display in our lives. We preach Jesus, the cross, His blood, His resurrection, and ascension unashamedly. We believe in healing, deliverance, the gifts of the Spirit, and miracles (Matt 10:7-8). We want our preaching and teaching to be in harmony with the way that we are living.
The establishing of a people who walk in covenant with God and one another. We are seeking to cultivate supernatural unity by the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:3), knitting our lives together, thus creating a habitation for God by His Spirit (Eph 2:20). The Gospel must be more powerful than our preferences, therefore we need His Spirit in us conquering all of the divides between us. Family is not just to satisfy our own broken desires. We must walk freely before God so that we can love one another freely and fully.
The Table of The Lord
We celebrate the table of the Lord and the communion meal that Jesus instituted. The table signifies what God has done for us, is doing in us, is doing between us, and will do for us. He is reconciling all things to and in Christ. We celebrate this meal in a family environment on a regular basis in order to deeply cultivate the power of it in our hearts and lives; for as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of Me (1 Cor 11:26).
We want to be a people who live out supernatural other-worldly generosity. This world is not our home, therefore our primary investing and anchor system is not in the material things of this life. We want to be entrusted with all things by way of having God do something in our hearts to be free from all things. One of the marks of revival in the founding days of the Church was generosity—for no man laid claim to his own possessions as if they were his own (Acts 4:32). We want to see our city shaken by a generous people.
The opening up of our lives and homes in a beautiful broken way to host one another. Hospitality is important to the Lord. We are instructed to pursue hospitality (Rom 12:13). Hospitality is one of the qualifications mentioned by Paul in his writings to both Timothy and Titus (1 Tim 3:2, Titus 1:8). The writer of Hebrews also mentioned hospitality by way of hosting angels without knowledge (Heb 13:2). We want to surrender our lives one to another, and thus share intimate space together in real life.
To be a house of prayer for all nations (Isa 56:7). We are building God’s house in our city. We want to be a people who value and embody the place of prayer, individually and together as a corporate people. We are seeking to have our lives in prayer overtaken by what is in God’s heart and then be a people who will steward well His burden for our hearts, our homes, our city, our nation, and the nations of the earth.
We believe in partnership and accountability. We know that God connects our lives in order to fulfill His purposes. We value and pursue input from gifted men and women from outside of our community. We enjoy the wisdom, grace, encouragement, correction, and equipping we receive when we submit ourselves to such proven and reliable servants of Christ. In this sense, we are connected relationally to several people who provide counsel, partnership and friendship for us.