Philosophy of Ministry
The Kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God in human hearts and its expression in the world. It is a past, present, and future reality. Because of the presence of the Kingdom, believers are to live as a community under the rule of King Jesus. The church is an expression of the Kingdom to the degree its life expresses His rule.
Plural and collegial servant-leadership is the biblical pattern and is to be taught and modelled in all aspects of the community. In the New Testament headship resides only in Jesus and oversight in plurality of the elders. Authority does not come from an office but from gifts, character, and service rendered in love and faith. Life as a body demands openness to each other’s gifts and the ability to hear God speak in one another. This style requires more influence through relationship than of authority of office. Yet at every level the authority of those in leadership is to be recognized and submitted to.
Because the unity of the body depends upon unity in leadership, each leader must relate in friendship with the others. Personal needs are always first on the agenda when leaders meet.
The variety of gifts the Spirit gives makes each leader unique, but a common unity is expected in character. No amount of gifting is to overshadow mature character. Elders are to match the prescribed Scriptural qualifications; deacons and other ministry leaders also. Elders responsible for ruling are to be male. Women are to be encouraged to minister and lead in their gifts and calling under the oversight established.
All the spiritual gifts are expected to be present and operating in the church community. No one gift is manifested by all believers. Assisting people to function maturely in their gifts and ministries is one of the tasks of the five-fold ministries of Ephesians 4:11. Cell groups are the ideal place to develop proficiency in using the gifts. Those in oversight are responsible to ensure that gift ministries conform to biblical norms. Visiting ministries are expected to submit to the local leaders as they come into the community.
Worship is of great importance in the community because the Father is seeking those who will worship in Spirit and in Truth. Worship is the expression of the Spirit bringing glory to Jesus through His church and revealing Jesus to the church. The style of worship is best likened to that which David instituted under prophetic inspiration, supplementary to the Mosaic system. Acceptable worship springs from godly character, uses many instruments and bodily forms, is led by inspired musicians and incorporates the whole congregation through the operation of spiritual gifts and ministries. (Psalm 149, 150; Acts 2:42, 46; Acts 15; 1 Cor. 12:26)
Music and musicians are to inspire participation and provide models and leadership in worship to God and not admiration for themselves as performers. All styles of Christian music contain resources for worship. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs provide general categories for musical styles. Each style, by definition, is composed of both words and music.
Preaching style should be biblical tending toward the expository so that the meaning of the Scripture is made plain and consistent with the balance of Scripture. It may be teaching per se or be inspired and prophetic. It should bear confirmation from the prophetic contributions and also from the worship music. The delivery of the burden of the Lord is to take precedence over time. Obedience to the Word is expected and public response may sometimes be required but emotional manipulation is not acceptable. The word brought is to be directed to people’s experience, to give direction and challenge, to be Christ-centred, and to edify the body cultivating hope even when convicting of sin.
Function of Children's Ministry
The children’s ministry is to supplement the home environment by providing peer fellowship and additional role models for the children. This ministry and the small groups are to assist the parents in teaching and training their children.
Witness is the duty of all. Evangelism is the calling of some and the gift of some. For all we emphasize the possibility of bold witness through work, friendship and caring.
Those who have a desire for particular evangelistic projects are encouraged to carry them out in consultation with the leaders and with the cooperation of others in the body similarly called. Those with evangelistic gifts also provide stimulus and role models for the whole community.
A community is a body of persons who have a common life. The purpose of the community is to sustain and enhance the shared life. Our community aims to provide all that as necessary to sustain the life of Christ in the believers and to express the presence of the Kingdom of God.
Our community life has five components. The first component is the whole body, which gathers at stated times for worship, prayer, and teaching. The second is home groups, which meet at other times for sharing, prayer, Bible study and fellowship. Third is the family, which provides the model of Christ and the church, the sanctuary for the home group, and hospitality and fellowship for singles, other families and ministries. Fourth is the individual believer who is the living stone being discipled and built up, sharing and being built in and serving and being built upon as the community grows. Fifth is the ministry group composed of those of various gifts who share a common calling to serve in a particular way.
Home groups are the key to building the community. There, true sharing of life and needs can occur in practical as well as spiritual ways. Those who are not involved in home groups will be missing basic pastoral care and fellowship. Home groups meet regularly and sometimes share meals together.
Family hospitality is the most basic unit of fellowship and always needs encouragement.
Church-wide activities occur regularly as well and home groups meet with other home groups from time to time.
Inter-church fellowship for various purposes is also necessary to provide a larger concept of the Body of Christ. Acts 4 and 6 are examples of the New Testament church moving to meet needs in this area.
“Jesus had compassion on them.” This describes Jesus’ response to the needs that people where feeling. Accordingly we, as a community, want to be responsive to the needs of people. We recognize that needs present an opportunity for effective ministry. However, Jesus later reproved the same people because they sought for Him only because He performed miracles and healed and fed them. They placed no value on His teaching. Therefore, we will prayerfully weigh the needs of people against the leading of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual and physical resources of the community. We will put priority on meeting the needs within our own community, the Christian community, and on widows, orphans and strangers, as the Scripture teaches.
Attitudes to Ethical Issues
The motive forces behind the moral issues of the day are demonic. Therefore our first task is to pray and praise and be holy ourselves (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Our second task is to be salt and light in the city and to reprove and expose the darkness (Ephesians 5:8-14). We will do this as problems arise and according to the wisdom God gives us. Acts 15 provides a method for dealing with such issues.
Size is not significant as long as there is health and strength in all the body and not just excess weight. We will seek to plant other local expressions as the Spirit shows us.