What does life together look like in your congregation? Can members describe it? In Part 2 of Creating a Life Together picture, we discover a pathway to a deeper understanding of the picture.
If you ask a member of the congregation for a picture of living life together, could they describe the picture? Would they envision that life together in a way that is compelling and appealing?
Previously we discovered a straightforward way is creating a Life Together picture that can be shared with everyone. This picture includes essential elements such as mission, vision, values, goals, and congregational practices.
In this post, we go deeper into a Life Together picture. This deeper look gives the congregation a better understanding of the Life Together picture.
We suggest that you create the short version of the picture, distribute that, and have a deeper understanding copy available.
In this post, we unpack Shalom, Mission, and The Five Values.
Our Life Together
A Deeper Look
We are being formed into a congregation that is a picture, foretaste, and ambassador of God’s shalom rooted in Jesus
A Spirit-empowered congregation that lives for God’s glory, by being a picture, foretaste and ambassador of God’s shalom rooted in Jesus
We live our vision and mission in thankfulness for God’s grace, by the Spirit’s powerful action, for God’s glory, and through the church
Giving a taste of shalom…for God’s Glory
- God’s Glory
- Whole Life Discipleship
- Spiritual Progress
- Undivided Allegiance
Our name is the Biblical word “shalom”. This word is rich and wondrous in meaning. Shalom is
- the absence of conflict or having an individual inner calm
- a restored relationship with our Creator through Jesus the Messiah
- human flourishing, a flourishing creation, holiness and justice, the healing of broken systems
- relational wholeness in families, between genders, in congregations, denominations, and between ethnic groups
- healing the rift between nations and beating our swords into plowshares
- leaders and nations that end oppression and that lift up the poor
- unmistakably beautiful.” systemic
- lived in and lived out in the beloved community, the church
When the church lives Jesus and his shalom, we rejoice the city, and people are drawn to God (see Proverbs 11.10-11)
One of Shalom’s most beautiful pictures was spoken by Mary in her Magnificat (Luke 1). Jesus portrays shalom in his inaugural address in Luke 4. We see a community living out shalom in Acts 2. Jesus pictures the move toward shalom in Matthew 25 when he portrays the sheep as people/nations of shalom. Psalm 72 depicts a leader who pursues shalom. Add to this multiple other pictures of shalom throughout the Old Testament, especially in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 9, 25, 60ff), and we are immersed in God’s vision for the cosmos.
The Bible Project has a video that brings much of this picture of shalom to light.
Our mission is to be formed into a people who are a
- a community that is visibly living the way of God’s shalom
- a community that gives the world a taste of God’s shalom that Mary sings of Luke 1.46-56), Jesus declares (Luke 4.16-19; Matthew 5-7, Matthew 25) and the Scriptures display (Revelation 4-5, 21-22
- a community that serves as God’s representatives in every area of life bringing glory to Him and declaring to all “be reconciled to God” (Hab. 2.14, Colossians 1.15-20, 2 Cor. 4.6, 1 Cor. 10.31, 15.58, 2 Corinthians 5)
of God’s shalom
rooted in Jesus Christ.
Above all we value God’s name, honor, and praise being reflected in our lives and spread into the world. (Isaiah 26.8, Matthew 5.13-16, 1 Corinthians 10.31, Revelation 5.9-14)
Whole Life Discipleship
We bring glory to God when we live all of our life as disciples. Living as disciples of Jesus we seek the welfare of our city and work to bring life and hope to the places God calls us so that these places flourish and give praise to God
We bring glory to God when we move forward in living the ways of his family. We celebrate that the Spirit empowers us to live this new life — especially by uniting us us to Christ in Word and Sacrament
We bring glory to God when we live with total allegiance to him and his kingdom (Matthew 6.33). To live in total allegiance we cultivate a life of spiritual practices. These practices put us in tune with the was of God’s family. They also alerts us when other kingdoms are drawing us away from God.
We bring glory to God by practicing hospitality in all of life. We know that this reflects God’s hospitality to us.
As Christ made room for us on the cross so we could be welcomed into the family so we make room for others.
As Christ opened his nail-pierced hands to friend and foe alike, we open our hands to all. We welcoming all to worship and the community of faith. We especially reach out to and welcome those Jesus names as his brothers and sisters in Matthew 25.31ff
In the next post we’ll look at a fuller picture of five values and five loves.
How does your congregation help people to get a good life together picture and then lead them more deeply into that picture?
“Can your Congregation Envision Life Together? Part 2” is provided by Larry Doornbos, director of Vibrant Congregations. Vibrant Congregations assists congregations in taking fresh steps in ministry and mission. We are a joint endeavor of the CRC and RCA. For more resources and our latest Church Now Conversation, visit Vibrant’s website.