Have you ever gone Church hunting? Of course now a days the web can make it much easier. You do not even need to step foot in some of the buildings you would have had to visit at least once if you were seriously looking, say fifteen years ago. Now you can find out what kind of music they have, discover what their children’s ministries are like, hear a sample sermon, and even check out a statement of beliefs, all before you darken the door. Of course checking things out on-line is not exactly the same as a face to face encounter but one can narrow the field of possibilities dramatically with a few quick clicks of the mouse.
If I were ever a part of a “Church plant” my statement of beliefs would be rather simple. First it would say: We believe that what we believe is not half so important as the fact that God loves you. Secondly, I would add that we believe in a creator God whose love for His people is so strong He manifest His presence on the earth in the form of His son, Jesus, who lived a sinless life, was crucified, and rose from the dead so we would know the way back to the Father. Then our statement would say, we believe God continues to communicate with His creation through the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised the disciples His Father would send when they no longer had Him in the flesh. And I would add, we believe in the forgiveness of sin as modeled by Christ in His death and extended to all through His manifested and resurrected life. Finally my statement of beliefs would say, we believe in the redemption of the sinner and the restoration of the Kingdom. The rest of what one might find in other statements of faith I would say is pretty much open to discussion as long as it does not get ugly.
My mission statement would probably seem strange to most. It would begin by saying, as the called out gathered we believe it is our mission to testify as to what the Lord is doing in our midst and in so far as we are able to be available to be used by the Lord to minister encouragement, forgiveness, fellowship, help, and healing. So, bring a song, a word, a question, a need. Walk with us and let us walk with you and may we each be given the measure of His peace, the portion of His love, and the abundance of His joy that we need for our journey together. I might also mention our desire as a fellowship to use our talents and resources to reach out to the marginalized, the broken, and the needy around and among us.
Our called out gatherings would probably never look the same way twice. Though, I would hope we would always have time for testimonies and encouragement. I suspect at times we might share a meal together and perhaps some music or other creative expression. I imagine some would want to pray and others might bring a word. But, these elements would not necessarily happen at every gathering nor be performed by the same person each time. If we were to take up an offering it would be because we knew of a need or wanted to bless another ministry. Our leadership, per se, would not be paid and our “building” would most likely be a public place, like a coffee shop or park, or an individual’s living room, depending on our size. Maybe we could volunteer to be the janitorial service somewhere in exchange for the use of the facility once a week. I doubt we would ever become too big. Still, we could multiply and end up have lots little gatherings in a bunch of different places.
If we are really blessed, we might start looking like Jesus and His disciples. Wouldn’t that be amazing!