3A discussion about strategies that clarify purpose of the Church in the light of changing times and contexts.A continuing discussion in the light of a changing context by recapturing the ethos and practices of the early church and bringing those to bear on post-modern culture.
4The Inter-relationship Between Three Affirmations The Church is—the church’s nature provides the framework and foundation for understanding the essential character of the church.The Church does what it is—The nature of the church established the foundation for understanding the purpose of the church and its ministry determines their direction and scope.The Church organizes what it does—It develops strategies through leadership and organization through the initiative and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
5The mission of God is participated in by a Spirit-led Church that is a signpost of God’s redemptive kingdom rule in the present and a preview of what redemption is like and a vehicle to carry that mission of God to the ends of the earth.If God is the prime mover in this redemptive saga—then, the task of the Church and its leaders is to discern and respond to the initiative of the Spirit which is guiding and empowering God’s redemptive mission.
6“A deep appreciation for the marvelous and mysterious creation of God called the Church is a crucial foundation for any aspiring church leader. God’s eternal plan to have a community of people who express in particular contexts the reconciliatory purposes of His redemptive character is central to any church leader’s reason for being.
7These communities, called and empowered by the very presence of God, give visible testimony to God’s reconciliatory mission (II Cor. 5:17-20). To serve as a leader gifted to facilitate that mission (Eph. 4:11ff) requires a deep appreciation and understanding for the eternal significance of the church.
8That understanding must be enfleshed in a world that is best unimpressed and may be, in many cases, antagonistic to the eternal redemptive purposes of this community of the King called the Church.
9Such a world requires aspiring church leaders to have a firm grasp of God’s eternal purposes for the church as biblically defined and a growing capability to discern fad from the genuine in church ministry.”
10“How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.”Newbegin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
11HISTORICAL ATTEMPTS AT UNDERSTANDING THE CHURCH AND IT’S MISSION
12REFORMED PERSPECTIVE Confession of Augsburg 1530 Westminster Confession 1630Synthesis of these confessions would see emphasis on right belief, right teaching, and right order.
13ANABAPTIST PERSPECTIVE 17-18TH CENTURY Rejection of Church-State modelChurch is viewed as distinct and separate societyCommunity life is central
14ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH Pre-Vatican II The Church is the perfect societyContained within the Church are all powers necessary to issue and promote its existenceHierarchical authority controls--brings meaning
15POST VATICAN IIImages change to people of God on a pilgrimage in service to the worldHierarchy is not repudiated but community is enhances as a themePeople of God, is an emerging image
16WESLEYAN PERSPECTIVE The Church is a community of God’s grace It’s unity is the koinonia of the SpiritPursuit of maturing Christian lives—sustained by grace is crucialKey terms--community, grace, holiness
17CONTEMPORARY PICTURES Peter Savage Lecture Hall—where the Bible is expoundedTheatre—where the faithful assemble to witness the drama of the sacrament enactedCorporation—where the professional team markets religion to the massesSocial Club—where people come to get needs met
18LAUSANNE COVENANT 1974The church is at the center of God’s cosmic purpose and is His appointed means of spreading the Gospel.The Church is the community of God’s people rather than an institution and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system or human ideology.
19“How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.”Newbegin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
20When we encounter the church, we move into spiritual territory that occupies earthly terrain. We encounter the living God in the midst of our humanity. We encounter the Spirit of God dwelling in the midst of people who are created and formed into a unique community.Van Gelder, p
21We must consider the nature of the church before proceeding to define its ministry and organization. The church is a people of God who are created by the Spirit to live as a missionary community.The church is God’s personal presence in the world through the Spirit.Van Gelder—pp
23Church and mission are not two distinct entities Church and mission are not two distinct entities. They are the same realities.A missionary church participates fully in the Savior’s redemptive work as the Spirit creates, leads, and teaches the church to live as a distinctive people.
25The Spirit is the experienced, empowering realities of God’s own personal presence in and among us, who enables us to live as a radically eschatological people, in the present world while we await consummation.Gordon Fee—Paul, The Spirit and the People of God
26The work of the Spirit is our key resource in the ongoing development of the church. The church can experience this constant renewal only by developing discipline in discerning the leading of the Spirit.