Today we’re continuing our values series by looking at our third value: a relational community.
Now to be honest we were really tempted to skip this one for now and come back to it later because at the moment we’re still very small as a church plant. It felt like we’d be claiming to be something we’re not yet if we blogged about the central importance of relationship to how we ‘do’ church.
The thing is though, we cant skip this one – it’s absolutely key to our vision of church life. You may have noticed that community is a part of every one of our values – like our desire to be a worshipping community or a bible-saturated community that we’ve already blogged about.
We believe this because that’s the kind of church we see form in the book of Acts. In Acts 2:42 we read:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
And again in verses 44-45:
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”
The early church were “devoted” to the fellowship, they were “together” and cared for one another’s needs. The picture we get here is not of an organisation or a business but of a family who loved one another.
In John 13:35 Jesus says:
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This love for one another was to be a hallmark of Jesus’ people, it would be something that clearly marked them out.
Another striking thing as you read the New Testament is the continual use of the term brothers in reference to other Christians (in Greek this word adelphoi, which is the plural of the word adelphos, can mean brothers and sisters). Again, this highlights this relational understanding of the church.
We want to build a church that’s like this, where everyone devotes themselves to each other. Can you imagine how loved you would feel, and how able you would be to learn to love selflessly. To be on a journey together as family – a true community. No wonder church like this is a sign to unbelievers of Jesus’ love!
We passionately agree with this and want to build a church with is authentic to this pattern shown in scripture.
There’s a final reason though why we believe so deeply in being relational over organisational and it’s possibly the most important reason. We believe in the importance of community because God himself has been in community for all eternity!
Since before time and creation began God in the Trinity has been in perfect, harmonious community with himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The language used is here is not about systems and organisations, it’s relational “Father” and “Son”.
If we’re to image God and display him to the world then we need to do so likewise in a context of community.
At the end of our last values post we said we want to be doers of the word and not simply hearers so practically, how do we work out truly being a relational community at Hope?
Our heart’s for it to be seen in everything we do. In the way we counsel and care for one another as a loved family. In how we relate to those in leadership or as leadership relate to us from a place of community not hierarchy.
At the moment, we’re literally a single family and like all families, day by day we’re learning to devote ourselves to each other. But our vision is to make everyone who comes to Hope Community Church part of the family.
As a family, we love the teaching, worship and prayer we take part in together – but we so long for others to join us and love Jesus with us! So whether Hope Community Church is one day five, 50 or 500 people, this joy of family, of community will always be in our DNA. Our desire is that church will never be corporate or business-like, but full of love, honesty and prayer, encouraging one another in holiness, clearing out each others’ sheds and enjoying many, many BBQs together!
Maybe you want to be part of this? Maybe you could be part of building the relational community of Hope Community Church. Great! If you are committed to relational community, or if it scares you to pieces but you want to be part of it anyway, we’d love to sit with you over a cuppa and just talk through our church plant.
You can email us at email@example.com or call us on 07496 356199.