Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ember Church: The Vision

One of the first things that church planters get asked is, "What is your vision for this church? What is your vision for the future?" This is a tough one for me, because sometimes the only vision I have is of eating Chipotle for dinner.

But the vision drives the church; and the vision I have in my own head is what drives me to plant this church. We actually have a vision statement (which we may or may not have stolen from Scum of the Earth Church) that we settled on recently.
We strive to be a church who:
actively pursues intimacy with God and honest relationships with others;
cultivates creativity and uses everyone’s gifts;
humbly seeks to know God, his Word, and his ways well;
recognizes our need for Jesus, our Savior
respectfully shares the saving love of Christ;
demonstrates God’s self-sacrificing love in our community;
worships God passionately and proclaims his Word prophetically.
This is who we want to be, but that works itself out in a thousand ways. So let me tell you about the future I see, the future that drives me to plant Ember Church.

I see a future where you're not giving into the sins that plague you now. I see a future where God has transformed you at the deepest levels of your heart. I see a future where you have been so completely changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ that you now actually desire the things of God. I see a future where your relationship with your parents (or your kids) has been restored. I see a future where you have the courage to follow God, faithfully, wherever he leads you. I see a future where the godliness of your character allows your children to grow up with an intimate knowledge and experience of the grace and love of God. I see a future where you are primarily motivated by agape love, not fear or guilt. I see a future where the image of God is restored in you by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

I see this future for you because I believe that this is what God wants for you and, therefore, it is a real possibility for you. This is not a pipe dream. This is not false hope. This is not preacher talk. This is a reality personally pursued by God with all the power of the Holy Spirit at work within you.

I'm planting Ember Church because I believe that God has more for you. Not more stuff, but more character. Not more pleasures, but more Christlikeness. Not more self-indulgence, but more discipline and self-control. God wants the rule and reign of Jesus the King to become a deeper, ever present reality within your heart and throughout your life. That's the "more" I'm thinking of.

And so when I dream about what Ember can be, I see a church where liberals and conservatives can enjoy a stimulating conversation and a delicious meal together, all in the name of Jesus. I see a church where God is worshipped with thoughtful passion. I see a church where the word of God is proclaimed prophetically and faithfully. I see a church where mistakes are acknowledged publicly and humbly. I see a church where those who are far from God are brought near to him through respectful, empathetic gospel-proclamation. I see a church full of people who know their Bibles well because they have learned to read the Scriptures with insight and clarity. I see a church that is known for walking the walk of Jesus--of laying down their lives for each other and for the world. I see a church full of people who know that the only difference between themselves and those without Christ is Christ. I see a church where surrender to Jesus is normal. I see a church where Jesus rules and reigns, and from which his rule and reign is extended to hearts and homes all across central Ohio. I see a church that walks in the light of a love that lays down its life; that loves and is not afraid.

This is the vision. If this strikes a chord with you, or if this is what you want to see the church be, too, please feel free to send me an email. I'd love to talk with you.


Jennifer said...

Wow. Amen!

5 VOICES said...

Okay, Pastor Holt, that dog'll hunt as they say in Spooner, Wisconsin where I planted the first church.

I like vision statements and even more, the pastoral grace and hard work that takes that vision and with the amazing help of the Holy Spirit imparts it to a group of pilgrims that "get it" and actually do it in a way that genuinely bears resemblance to the original vision. To that end, Andy, I am praying.

Hope to see you in late Sept or early Oct. Greetings to Breena