So, in my search to find a tribe that would walk alongside us as we plant, I have been assessed. This simply means I have allowed an entity to put our lives under the microscope. They have asked questions about our marriage, my theology, my vision and plan. They have asked questions about how we grew up and done personality profiles to determine if we would be good church planters. Turns out, not everyone is built for this kinda work. Apparently planting churches is really hard, and it breaks good men.
Well, in our talks they asked me a great question. What are some of the values of your church? You are going to build a church from the ground up, what are the things it holds dear? What is the lifeblood of this particular church? So I sat and thought about it for a long time. All the reading, praying, serving, preaching, traveling, bleeding and believing... what do I believe the church should look like? So far, I have six values. I am going to be revealing them all here, and then going through them a week at a time. These are values that are very specific to a place, but have been percolating in my soul for a long time. So without further ado:
1) Gospel Centered - The Church exists to proclaim the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ. The true story of Jesus dying in our place, rising from the grave, and ascending to the Father is not a sermon just for Easter Sunday. This informs our understanding of all reality.
2) Bold Preaching - The Church is going to proclaim the truth. With love for certain. But the truth has an edge to it. The word cuts between bone and marrow. It is active and alive. It is offensive, and can seem downright foolish to those on the outside. But to those of us who believe, the preaching of the cross is the power of God unto salvation. It has to be said. Without apology or shame. With all the passion and power the Spirit of God places in the personality of the preacher.
3) Missional - The Church is not a building. And it is more than the Sunday Gathering. Sunday can not be game day. Cause the game cannot be sitting and watching a chosen few play. We are the church, and we must be in the fight. We must be out there, on mission in the world. In our work, among our families, with our neighbors. We as a Church must not just say Come and See. We must Go and Tell.
4) A Family. The Church is the family of God. It is a place where we belong. We come together and there should be a sweetness and brotherhood that defies expectation. We are brothers and sisters in faith. There should be the sharing of life, the giving of hugs, the true knowledge of one another as people.
5) Disciple Making. The Church makes disciples. That is how you know if she is successful. if a church draws a crowd and makes no disciples, then that is not a Church. That is a show. The Pastor is not called to do the mission alone. The Pastor and the other Elders are called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
6) Multi-cultural. The Church family is not meant to be homogenous. Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Whites meet with whites. Blacks with other blacks. Latinos with latinos and so on. Now, some of this is geography. If a neighborhood is mostly Korean, then the church can reflect that. But what if a Church was in a city full of whites, blacks,and mexicans? What if there were the working poor and young hipsters in the same neighborhood? Wouldn't it be awesome to see a college professor sitting next to a redeemed pimp, both praising God for their deliverance and salvation?
These are some of the pictures I see when I close my eyes. I will be writing more on them as the weeks go by. I hope these thoughts awaken something in you. The Church... she is God's chosen vessel to bring light into the world. The Church is this world's hope. So let's give her all we got.
"Awake O you sleeper. Awake."