Actually putting faith in God moment by moment may be the most neglected aspect of Christian living in our day. Christian routines take the place of faith when we approach God as a system of thought. Often this leads to trusting our understanding of God rather than putting faith in him God himself (Prov. 3:5-6). Looking at the Bible narrative as it is clearly presented, the Old and New Testament stories tease out the great divide between those who trust God in all and those who recoil into self-reliance. If we embrace his Lordship and leadership in everything – the heart of worship – our lives begin to take on a different meaning & purpose. A life about me is replaced with a life about God and others. Our very identity changes and everything we think, feel and are passionate about reorients. This is the New Life!
Christians spend far too much time alone these days. Meant to live as a body or as a family, we have bought into the radical independence of society, a double lie, which shouts, “You don’t need anyone!” and “You have to do it alone!” But God didn’t create us to live that way. He created us in his image as communal beings. We are meant to thrive in intimate tribal units. We see it as a key mandate of church-life that we do all we can to counteract independence. We establish churches that are small enough to be radically intimate. Everyone is known. Lives are open to scrutiny and Gospel-need is obvious. Everyone interacts regularly. Everyone serves and everyone is dependent. Everyone is valued. This is Church!
The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus “died so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them” (2 Cor. 5:15) . Meanwhile, Jesus’ teaching and his lifestyle call his followers to live as he did; in service of all as if we were serving God himself. We see this as so central to Christian living that we consider it a Christian identity. With this in mind, we miss no opportunity to weave a service mindset into every aspect of who we are. We anticipate each individual with us will pursue humble service as the basis for all their relationships – family, friends, co-workers, even enemies. Gatherings are designed to be opportunities for everyone to serve and be served. In addition, we’re doing all we can to bring positive value to our local community; volunteering on committees, at school functions, serving at community days and fairs, etc. These rhythms feed and support our desire to live as new creations (2 Cor. 5:17).
We are on a Mission (Missionaries). When a missionary goes to a foreign land, they embed themselves in that world and orient their lives completely around the people of that land for the sake of share the Good News of Jesus. This is who Jesus has made us as reflectors of God. God is a missionary God. When Adam and Eve betrayed him, he pursued them offering guidance and reconciliation. He did this throughout the Story, in the history of Israel and carried on the same pursuit right up through sending Jesus. Because of God’s redeeming mercy, our lives are being restored & we are being given his mission. We are turning from pursuit of our individual self-missions to focus together on pursuing God’s mission.
Whom we love & how we love them paints a picture of the impact God has had in our lives. No amount of talent, intellect or passion will overcome a lack of sincere love. We are people learning to ask how best to love each person we encounter and learning to love in tangible ways that bring real benefit.
Listening is the heart of love and compassion. We can’t understand & truly serve if we don’t listen. Truly seeing each other and our neighbors, understanding the cultural and personal stories of individuals and being with people as they live are all key.
Local leaders lead local community members in local ministry & local mission. We are a family of community members having a tangible, visible impact in our community. This provides an ideal environment for any local community member looking for a more meaningful relationship with God right in their own context.
EXPECT PEOPLE WHO VALUE DIFFERENCES WHILE SEEKING RECONCILIATION
We believe that all humans are image-bearers of God and that no image-bearer should be diminished. God’s heart is that we push against stereotypes and prejudices of all types, cross barriers & build connecting bridges – human to human – irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status or political affiliation. We will use whatever power and privilege is available to us to serve the disadvantaged, seeing them flourish and prosper.
We recognize that the relationship we enjoy with God is due to Jesus mercifully taking our blame, suffering in our place. As those who have been forgiven of much, we are eager to show God’s love and mercy to anyone eager to receive his forgiveness.
You’ll find people that are learning to find deep rest in God as we learn to look to him alone for our sense of wellbeing, believing his acceptance of us is of greater value than any accolade we could receive from what we do. Out of that rest, we experience renewed energy to serve and love others.
EXPECT ORDINARY PEOPLE LIVING HONEST LIVES TOGETHER
We cherish the freedom to be ourselves and avoid pretense. We value relationship that happens in actual life because, in life, we relate to real people. We’re not interested in empty religion. We expect what we believe will influence and dominate the way we live.
You’ll find people that are positioning themselves as continual, life-long learners regarding God, the Bible, the Gospel, relationships, failure, shame, pain, solutions to problems and so on. Leaning into God is how you will always find us as we continue the struggle to understand the universe and the God who made them.
Love for people, a compassionate response to their brokenness, drove Jesus’ priorities from moment to moment. It must be the driving force behind any ministry we do in Jesus’ name.
Embracing organic church is in many ways simply following Jesus into love. It means given up the illusion of control and embracing the unpredictable and the messy. The dependable order, structure and outcomes of Sunday church is largely absent in real-life ministry.
Walking in faith, we are dependent on the Spirit to meet us, speak through us and then minister to our own brokenness even as we minister to others in the heat of their messiness.
What can be gained by such an approach? Much indeed, both for ourselves and those we serve.
Each box below contains a short description of what we’ve come to expect in specific areas of life in organic ministry. It is safe to assume that anyone following Jesus’ path for ministry will have a similar experience.