Monday, 16 March 2009
I was impressed when I read the core values of a group of churches called 'The Crowed House'led by Dr Tim Chester who I first heard speaking at Cliff College some years ago. No matter what church you belong to, these certainly seem to be biblical values that we may well want to make our own. What do YOU think of them? Do you think they would work well in practice or are they just grand notions that will be forgotten once one of the 'churches'within the group really gets big and ends up promoting itself? AK
The Crowded House is a family of church planting networks. Our congregations are committed to working together within, and between, networks around the following shared aspirations. They are a statement of our distinctives and are not intended to be a judgment on those with gospel commitment who do things differently.
In obedience to Christ and for his glory, we are committed to:
1. The priority of the gospel
('community in mission')
We are committed to filling ordinary life with gospel intentionality, pastoring one another with the gospel and sharing the gospel with unbelievers. We challenge one another to be sacrificial, servant-hearted, risk-taking and flexible because the gospel has priority over our comfort, preferences, security and traditions. We will not let Christian activity be just one part of our lives.
2. Mission through community
We are committed to communicating the gospel message in the context of a gospel community. As we build relationships with people and share the gospel message, we want to introduce them to Christian community. We want people to experience church as a network of relationships rather than a meeting you attend or a place you enter. We will not put on evangelistic missions outside the context of a Christian community.
3. Home as the primary location of church
We want a reproducible model of church without any trappings that might impede freedom and flexibility. We are committed to homes as a context for all or most of church life with home shaping the ethos of church. When congregations use other buildings, those buildings will not be viewed as the main focus of mission.
4. Sharing our lives as extended family
We are committed to sharing our lives in Christian community, caring for one another, discipling one another and resolving conflict. We expect one another to make decisions with regard to the implications for the church and to make significant decisions in consultation with the church. We will not let conflict continue unresolved, nor view church simply as a meeting you attend.
5. Inclusive communities
We are committed to welcoming broken people and making church accessible to unbelievers. We want to offer a sense of belonging, and be communities of grace in which people can be open and vulnerable. We will not let our welcome be dependent on adherence to any cultural norms not demanded by the gospel.
6. Working for city renewal
We are committed to working for neighbourhood and city renewal – redressing injustice, pursuing reconciliation and welcoming the marginalized. We celebrate the diversity of cultures in our local contexts while recognising the need for gospel renewal. We encourage one another to glorify God and serve others through the workplace, business, community projects, government and artistic endeavour. We will not make a division between spiritual and non-spiritual activities.
7. Growing by starting churches and church planting networks
We are committed to starting new congregations. We will work together within, between and beyond our networks of missionary congregations. Our vision is to collaborate in a wider church planting movement to litter the world with communities of light. We will not develop into single, large congregations, nor become insular.
8. Prayer as a missionary activity
Recognising that God is the primary agent and orchestrator of mission, we view prayer as a missionary activity. We want prayer to be both a regular community discipline, and an impromptu response to needs and opportunities. We will not assume we are in control of mission, nor rob God of his glory by boasting of our achievements.
9. Everyone exercising gospel ministry
We are committed to every Christian seeing themselves as a missionary and exercising gospel ministry in every aspect of life. We shape activities around gospel opportunities, and the gifts and passions of church members. Leadership is not about control, but setting a missional vision by modelling and teaching the gospel so creating a culture in which everyone flourishes in ministry. We will not make distinctions between full-time and nonfull-time ministers.
10. Shaped by the Bible
We want our lives and our life together to be formed and shaped by the Bible’s story of redemption. We believe the Bible to be the reliable, authoritative and sufficient word of God, and are therefore committed to good Bible learning. We will not act on the basis of tradition, habit or pragmatism without reflection on the Bible. We will not see Bible teaching as an end in itself, but as that which must shape our thinking and action.
For more information about the Crowded House check out the website at http://www.thecrowdedhouse.org/