A Living Community..
We believe that our faith should not be lived out in isolation but actively and visibly with each-other in our everyday lives as we play our daily part in the community that God has placed us in. ‘For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.’ (James 2:26)
A Loving Community..
1 Corinthians 13 says this:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
A Learning Community..
We recognise that we are not simply part of an organisation to receive teaching but we are becoming a Christ centred family community that has been divinely created to embark on a journey of discipleship together.
We recognise the importance of studying God’s word together as it ‘…is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We also recognise our dependence on each other. ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’ (Proverbs 27:17)
..with Jesus at the heart
Colossians 1: 16-18 says
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Our vision statement states that we aspire to be a place that:
Enables everyone in the community to engage with God’s heart
We aspire (we realise that we are not there yet and have a long way to go to achieve this!) to reach out to everybody in our community in ways that make it possible for them to encounter God and engage with Him personally. This means discovering the ways that we can be relevant to a multitude of people of all ages, life experience, ethnic background and religions.
We are also committed to thinking ‘outside of the box’ missionally to allow the significant proportion of people in our community with little or no church background to hear the gospel in ways that inspires them to go on to ‘engage with God’s heart’ personally.
To experience full life
In John 10: 10, Jesus says ‘… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’
We believe that having a living relationship with God through his son Jesus, means that we live the life that God intended for human beings to live, in close personal relationship with our creator meaning that we can live a full life whilst still here on earth.
Our desire is to see the community experience that same full life as we believe that it not only brings spiritual transformation but literal transformation to the community as hearts and lives are transformed by encountering the grace, truth and love of Jesus Christ.
We believe that creating a culture is vitally important to inviting the community to ‘engage with God’s heart and experience full life.’ Rather than offering people the opportunity to participate in a one-size-fits-all programme of off-the-shelf courses and events, we want to invite people into a Christ-centred, family-based discipleship culture that meets their needs—a culture that invites people to belong in ever increasing ways, from being a part of the crowd at a community festival to becoming a committed follower of Jesus, core contributor to the church family and disciple maker.
We strongly believe that people need to be invited and enabled to belong before they eventually believe. Feeling welcomed and a sense of belonging leads to a change in their behaviour as overtime they increasingly value the culture that they are becoming a part of, this in turn, over time leads to a feeling of acceptance and belonging.
It is at this stage that the believing and deciding to follow Jesus may happen. Of course, in all of this, the Holy Spirit is at work and is more than able to move people in ways that this model doesn’t consider.
The values that help to create this culture are listed above and we have committed to use these values as benchmarks when deciding what to do and how we do it as a church.