Growing together – themes
Growing Towards God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Growing towards God, who is Father, Son and Spirit – spiritual growth as we become more like Jesus
This theme helps us to look up towards God – who is Father & Son & Holy Spirit. It touches on our worship, on knowing and being empowered by the Holy Spirit, on experiencing the presence of God and of being changed when we encounter God, as individuals and as a church community. It connects with our own spiritual growth as disciples or followers of Jesus as well as that of the whole church community. It reminds us that we are always seeking to become more like Jesus, and that the power of heaven can be released through us. It helps us think about this in the context of our whole being and of our whole lives. It helps us to truly be ourselves.
John 15v7-8: But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Romans 12v1,2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There is an air of excitement and joyful expectation among the people of Christchurch that we will personally encounter the Living God daily and our lives will be transformed as we do so. This is true whether we are gathering together on a Sunday, in activities throughout the week or individually in our everyday lives. And as we encounter the presence of the Living God through His Holy Spirit, we are open to receive from Him whatever He chooses to give… love, hope, truth, healing, wisdom, strength, purpose, peace… the list is endless. As a result, we are ordinary people who are in the process of being transformed into an extra-ordinary people. We are now being equipped to reach out to share, in love and service, what we ourselves have received. This brings joy and more expectation …and so the cycle begins again.
FOUR E’s and FOUR STATEMENTS relating to the people of Christchurch –
- EXPECTANT – a joyful expectation of encountering the power & wonder of an awesome God today
- ENCOUNTER – daily encounter the inspiring, extraordinary, miracle-working Father, Son & Holy Spirit
- EQUIPPED – equipped as they receive from God, are filled with his Spirit, & sustained to give out daily
- EXTRA-ORDINARY– a people of integrity who are distinctive, Christ-like and real.
- EXTRA: ‘A centre of EXCELLENCE for training, education & ministry’
Growing as followers and leaders
Agreeing together on direction and good practice in communication, management & organisation
This theme helps us to root all that we are and do as Christ’s church so that we are Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. It encourages us to think about how we can help each other to be better followers of Jesus as individuals and as a church community, and to better lead all who are connected with the Christchurch community to be church. It touches on spiritual things including agreeing together on the direction that God is leading us, how we help each other to discover our natural or God-given passions, gifts and talents, how we release each other into these, and how we identify and nurture future leaders and understand the concept of servant leadership. It also touches on what we might consider more practical things such as efficient communication, good management, and how we organise ourselves and plan our work together in small or larger groups; all so that we can be united as a church and as we take the next steps in the direction that God is leading us as part of His master plan.
1 Corinthians 1v10: I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
A church in which all can find a role (EXPECT, EXPLORE), where we support each other in finding our current “niche” (ENABLE, EQUIP), and where we encourage each other as we work that out (ENCOURAGE).
A church where all that we do is ‘led by the Spirit’.
Growing as a Community centred on Jesus Christ
Being like Jesus in our love and care for all those connected with Christchurch
This theme helps us to think about how all that we are and do as a community is centred around Jesus Christ. It encourages us to think about how to ensure that Jesus is at the forefront of all we think and say and do, the source of our inspiration, our strength and our purpose. It touches on how we love and care for all those connected with Christchurch, and how we enable all to flourish and to contribute. It connects with being known and valued, and of having fun together. It may be a challenge to be an authentic and extraordinary community filled with a love that embodies acceptance, diversity, empowerment, and unity; that draws in and provides the witness most needed by the world at this time. It talks about a community that can be described as a ‘second home’ and a place of welcome, safety and healing.
John 13v4-35: So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
We are a family, and Christchurch is our second home. We are known as the place in Hitchin where everyone is welcomed, where all are known individually and celebrated for who they are, and where all are nurtured to grow more like Christ.