Much of the Lord’s calling on our church these past two years has been reflection inward to discover who we are as “family, living in heavenly reality” and “loving community for bold exploration”. The process of naming and communicating that specific identity gives us greater confidence to look outward: not just at our local community (Lake Ivanhoe, Orlando) but the whole world as it is today. God willing, we have a better understanding of how our community is best suited to advance the Kingdom of heaven in the time and place to which we have been called.
We have come to recognize the core of our identity is to be a church community, made of diverse voices, for people who know “there must be something more” - especially those disenfranchised by their previous experiences of “church”. In a culture where many are exiting traditional religion looking for authenticity there are few voices in the Church offering to walk alongside questioners and seekers in a way that deepens faith. We want to be one of those voices, not just to bring healing to disappointment from the past, but to pursue a better vision of God’s Church for the 21st century world we find ourselves in.
After prayer and discussion, we have honed in on a vision that will guide us this year:
TELLING GOD'S STORY WITH EVERYTHING WE ARE.
This banner gives us a trajectory to encounter and express God’s story as it transforms us, but it also challenges us to ask the right questions: “So who are we? How do we tell the story well? Who do we tell it to?” These are the kinds of questions that invite us outside ourselves to look upon the world around us and seek divine creativity in bringing the hope and healing of Jesus.
Our first series of the year is helping us on this journey, first in answering the “who are are” question by exploring our church’s values. I like to think of our values as the major themes you would hear in the way we tell God’s story. We have already delved into our first three, which set the stage for everything else:
By cultivating intimacy with Father God,
We learn to inhabit our identity in Christ,
And discover our purpose as the Spirit-Led Church.
I’m heartened by seeing what God has already done to clear the path forward for us as City Beautiful Church, and I’m excited to see where He takes us next. Be praying for this next season.