Reaching Farther by Going Deeper:
To reach further we must go deeper. And going deeper will be spurred on by reaching further. The further we reach out in mission the more we will need the deepest resources of the faith and the profoundest communion with Christ. This mirrors the rhythm of our worship: one of gathering to meet Christ in the Word and Eucharist and then dispersing to join Christ in his mission in the world.
We will reach further by
- Building a culture of friendship. Friendship is characterized by affection and respect. This is how Jesus referred to his disciples toward the end of his life. This is the kind of life he commended to them (John 15:13-15).
- Praying for and inviting our neighbors to Alpha, the Marriage and Parenting courses, all of which are characterized by friendship.
- Being a peacemaking church. Peacemaking is both an imperative of the Gospel (Heb. 12:14) and indeed, the fruit of the Gospel: "and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the Cross" (Col. 1:20). Peace is both gift and task.
- Helping all kinds of churches reach their local communities with the Gospel by learning to do evangelism this way too. We currently help Baptist, Coptic, Pentecostal and other churches do evangelism this way and thereby fortifying the unity for which Jesus prays for his church.
We will go deeper by
- Beginning our theology with "original design" (Genesis 1-2) rather than "original sin" (Genesis 3). By following the biblical order we become a more biblical people.
- Living in the narrative of the Bible in a worshiping community with fellow Christians rather than proof texts that divide the narrative from the community. Narrative gives us a context for living; proof text gives the illusion of thinking and an "incarnational deficit." Such a deficit can be sustained in a virtual community but not in an actual community. Our current mission must be seen as an embodied continuation of the biblical story – from creation to new creation.
- An incarnational faith will affect our thinking about community, buildings, and all things material. It will teach us to have a fuller understanding of salvation as "creation - healed" rather mere forgiveness alone.