A friend loves at all times.
There’s a reason human beings have always pursued community: we’re made in God’s image. The Bible teaches us that God is triune: three Persons in one God. Perfect community, perfect fellowship, perfect love. Made in God’s image means we, too, pursue, even thrive in community. Hope Church knows to be successful it will have to open up space for these communities to develop.
People are different, so there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to these communities. We plan to develop a variety of groups to meet the needs of our people. Our success at our vision requires this.
We do know that there has to be some things in common across these communities, whether they be home gatherings, bible studies organized by gender, or kid’s groups. We want to develop each of our communities to promote Convictions, Character, and a Commitment to follow Jesus Christ in a public way.
Everyone has their beliefs. Some of those beliefs become life-forming. That’s what christian beliefs are supposed to do. They are supposed to go do deep within that they change our lives on the outside. That’s how you know when you have a conviction: you are acting in ways consistent with a belief. We want to form ourselves in communities of conviction built around God’s Word, the Bible.
The most important question for a christian is, “What did Jesus do?” But the second is, “What was Jesus like?” That second question touches on character. Christians are not merely people who are forgiven (though they are), or called (though they are that, too). They are followers of Jesus. They are people who, because they are filled with Jesus’ Spirit, are enable to become a certain kind of person, from the inside out. If anything was absolutely central today, it is character.
A local church must be perceived in its own neighborhood as the place where good news overflows into good action. Lesslie Newbigin
As that above quote shows, christians must be doing more than talking. Hope Church aims to not just develop people of Hope, but release them as well. Jesus said that no one lights a light and then immediately covers it up. All christians have been forgiven and called to follow Christ publicly in a committed fashion. That might look like the following:
- Doing as much practical good as they can do on their street
- Serving in a ministry in the church
- Helping in a community organization that works to right social injustices
- Doing one’s job with honesty, integrity, and excellence
By God’s grace and his Spirit, Hope Church will work on developing this kind of church, within our city, and on behalf of our city.