This past Sunday, our church gathered for a family meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to update the church on our current health, and cast vision for the next few years. We discussed some important needs and shared some exciting opportunities. In a series of blogs, we will share more details about each part of our VISION 2020. The booklet can be downloaded here and audio can be listened to here.
The first, and most important, part of our meeting on April 2, 2017 was a reminder of who we are. This is the part of the vision that never changes because it is rooted in the unchanging truths of God’s Word. People change. Programs change. Practices change. Even philosophies change. The practical outworking of our long-term vision will often change quarterly, but our shared identity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ should remain the same over the years. It is important that every leader and every member have a clear understanding of our identity as individuals and as a collective.
In other words, regardless of what we actually DO as a church, we want everyone to understand who we ARE as the Church. A friend recently told me that, “Expression deepens impression.” If that is true, then the more we talk about the truth of our identity, the more we will believe it. And the more we believe it, the more we will live it.
It is not enough to know this ourselves, we must be able to explain it, talk about, and
share it with others. Everyone must be equipped to answer some very basic questions about their faith in Jesus and about their life with people of Jesus. Some of these questions include:
What is the gospel?
What is the church?
What is the mission of the church?
There are entire books written to answer these questions. At Restoration Road Church, we have tried to keep the answer to these questions simple enough to fit on a napkin and within one conversation. Simply stated then, we believe we are RESTORED TO RESTORE…or said another way, we are RESTORED IN CHRIST to bring RESTORATION FOR, WITH, and THROUGH CHRIST.
By grace, through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, we are restored to who God created us to be. Trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross means finding our identity in Jesus’ life—we are “born again.” The Bible teaches that: if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2Corinthians 5.17). By grace, through faith in the person and work of Jesus I am:
Restored to relationship with GOD | GOSPEL TRUTH
Restored to relationship with OTHERS| GOSPEL COMMUNITY
Restored to relationship with the WORLD | GOSPEL LIVING
We are restored to restore through the gospel. The more we grow into objects of restoration, the more we become tools for restoration—the more we come to know God, the more we want to make Him known.
That is really enough for a napkin…but…to answer those questions specifically, we begin by stating that the GOSPEL is the truth-message that initiates all heart-transformation–it is the power for salvation. Through putting our faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Gospel Truth), we become sons and daughters of God, we become fellow heirs with Christ. That means we are adopted into God’s family and consider each other as brothers and sisters in Christ (Gospel Community). But we are not only saved, we are sent into the world. We are given a purpose and a mission (Gospel Mission); we are ambassadors who go into the world, together, equipped with the power for the gospel to make disciples.
This unchanging identity governs every “new” vision we have for the church. Some might feel it is a bit “elementary” to revisit these kinds of things every time we cast a new vision. I would argue that those things which are foundational are easily forgotten if not intentionally remembered.
Next BLOG: MINISTRY – WHAT WE DO