It is essential for a church to know where it’s going.
Knowing our direction of travel gives us clear focus, helping us to be united in our various roles, everyone pulling together for the same cause.
But it also helps those outside the church, people who are looking in, interested to know why the church does what it does from week to week.
The direction of Gilnahirk Baptist Church can be summed up in four movements. As a church we go Up, In, Out and Through.
This is nothing innovative or novel by the way. These four movements are drawn from the pages of the biblical New Testament and informed by many groups of believers across the years. It is simply a handy way to express what we see in the Bible.
We are a church that moves Up
Our ultimate purpose as humankind is to make much of God and enjoy him forever, and this underpins our attitude towards worship as a church. God is entirely deserving of our highest thanks and praise, and so we want to express this together in the fullest available means.
Therefore, we are a church that values all forms of worship, from inspiring corporate worship, to quiet contemplation, reflection and prayer.
We are a church that moves In
God not only communicates himself to us in ways we can understand, he also desires that we know him as our Father, and that we relate to him as his treasured children.
Therefore, we are a church that is committed to knowing God better. This happens in a whole variety of ways, from our preaching from the Bible every Sunday, to study groups, and beyond. We are a church that equips its people with the skills and motivation to cultivate a rich relationship with God – personally, in their family context and corporately.
We are a church that moves Out
We are not called by Jesus to sit in pews. He is clear that we are to bring the good news – the gospel – of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, and all the implications that flow from it to us; we are to bring that message to the ends of the earth.
Therefore, we are a church that is unashamed to proclaim Jesus to the world – we are a city on a hill! We do this through a radical biblical attitude towards evangelism – whether holding special events as a church or being equipped to bring the good news individually. We also bring the message of Jesus to the world by church planting – establishing churches that are similarly committed to proclaiming Jesus. And finally, through ministries of mercy, we get to help people in need, doing so in Jesus’ name – whether people on our own doorstep, or people in poverty on the other side of the world.
We are a church that moves Through
Jesus called his people ‘a light to the world’ and ‘salt of the earth’. This is the effect he expects us to have on the world. This movement is distinct from going out, but is related. Whilst the church gathers on a Sunday, it then disperses into the world for the rest of the week, going from an organisation to an organism.
Therefore, we are a church that values the role every individual plays in their occupation, seeing our work as a distinct calling from God to be his people in the situations he places us. Wherever we are in the world of work, in our engagement with the arts and culture, or our response to national and international politics, we are people called by God to be salt and light, seasoning the culture for the nourishment and flourishing of the land.
A City On A Hill
These four movements are interrelated and there is much overlap between each domain. Some activities that we do as a church may combine some or all movements. However, they inform our activity as a church and help us to make sure we are functioning in a biblical pattern.
Over the next few posts, we shall examine each of the four movements in more depth.