Again as a church over the next few months we have some ‘larger’ decisions to discern together. Where is God calling us? How is Jesus leading us? What will it mean? Jesus continues to be our good shepherd. God is our father, the head of the family. The Holy Spirit continues to empower and free us to live for Jesus. As we journey with God it seemed another good moment to remind us of our values. This four core realities we have agreed to aspired to and live out together. Four values which we felt both accurately described us as a church and which we long to become more true of us. Four values which direct us to continue to be all about Jesus. Four values which will protect us from losing sight of Jesus as the main thing.
We want to be a place where everyone, whatever their background, culture, experiences, age, education, or faith feel welcomed, embraced, accepted and that they can belong. A place that, even if we cannot fully endorse someone’s behaviour or belief we can entirely embrace them as a person. We long to be people with big hearts and wide hugs that are truly inclusive. After all Jesus not only says ‘love your neighbours’ but ‘love your enemies’ too! (Matthew 5:43-44).
Courageous in Mission
We want to be a place that so loves the good news of Jesus and so loves the people around us we take all sorts of risks so people might know and grow in Jesus. To be courageous, brave, and bold. To be audacious and undaunted and gutsy. To be ready to fail, daring to try and attempt new ways of being church and doing mission that come with uncertainty and danger. To be that as a church together. And to be that as individuals. To be that locally and to be that globally. ‘Go and make disciples of all nations…’ says Jesus. (Matthew 28:19).
God speaks. We want the Bible (the place God speaks) to saturate everything we are – not just how we preach (though essentially there), but what we sing, and how we make decisions, and through our conversations, and in the work place and family life. That the Bible might be precious and delightful and meaningful and profound to us in everything. Jesus says we ‘do not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’ (Luke 4:4).
God has not left us alone, but given us his Spirit to guide and strengthen and lead. And he has made us a team, giving each member an essential gift to share and complete the whole. God’s Spirit reforms and rejuvenates so we become more fully who he made us to be as he makes us more completely like Jesus. So we want to be dependent not on our own strength, wisdom or resources but on his Spirit. As individuals and as a community. Jesus promises ‘another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.’ (John 14:16)
Thank you Jesus.