Community takes more than a Sunday…
We love Sunday Gatherings – we value the opportunity to gather with up to 200 people each Sunday, to encounter God through shared corporate worship and challenging teaching from the word of God. These are times where we are reminded that we are part of the bigger movement of God beyond our personal ministry context. And these are times where we are encouraged by seeing the gifts of God on display in his body. However, this one weekly gathering can’t be expected to fulfil all the New Testament descriptions of the deep, challenging, life changing relationships that encapsulate church as a ‘household of faith’. When Paul, Peter and others were writing to churches in the New Testament, they would be writing to people that gathered in groups no bigger than could fit in a house, which helps to makes sense of passages like 1 Corinthians 14:26 and Romans 16:3-16.
Up, In and Out…
As households of faith, we want our priorities to reflect those of Jesus. As we read the gospels, Jesus had three great loves and three distinct dimensions to his life. First, up: deep and connected relationship to his father and attentiveness to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Second, in: constant investment in everyday life of the relationships of those around him. Third, out: entering the brokenness of the world, looking for a response individually (people coming into relationship with him) and systemically (systems of justice being transformed). This three dimensional pattern for living a balanced life is evident throughout scripture and needs to be expressed in community life as well. Because of this, we believe all our communities need a balanced expression of up, in and out, to become healthy growing communities.
What do Communities look like?
Communities take place in community and often revolve around shared times of food and fun. They centre on Jesus, helping people become and then grow as his disciples. However, they do not require participants to be professing Christians to belong. They are unashamed about following Jesus in values and vision and conduct worship, prayer and Scripture reading as core practices. They look outward through a mixture of service and verbal witness. They have a common mission focus which is the glue for the shared sense of togetherness. They place a high value on family for support, challenge and closeness in life lived together. They gather informally throughout the week, not just at formal meetings. They have leaders who do not do everything, rather they facilitate and release others to serve and lead. It is a place where we can be known, supported and challenged to go deeper in our relationships with each other and to grow as disciples of Jesus.
Communities are not just a housegroup meeting but rather a genuine community of interconnected relationships. They are not a bible study group, though the bible is central to the life of the community, being read, discussed and lived out in the context of shared life. They are not a care group though pastoral care is a feature of communities. They are not primarily insular but share a strong sense of mission – God is a sending God, and he’s a going God, a God who incarnates himself in a particular time and context so that everyone might come to know and love him. Mission is a movement from God to the world; the church is an instrument for that mission. There is a church because there is a mission and not vice versa.
Coming into contact with an extended family on mission together is how people become fascinated with a God whose kingdom is breaking into the now, giving a foretaste of what his fully realised kingdom will be like.
How do I get connected to a Community?
There are several communities that meet throughout the week. If you are interested in getting involved please speak to one of the leadership team, and we can point you in the right direction. Alternatively, you can send us a message via the Contact Page and someone will contact you with more information.