Jesus and the Church
Jesus said he would build “his church” (Mt.16:18). The church was Jesus' his idea and there is nothing else that he said he would build. The church is his master project and all of his energies are focused on completing it. What Jesus is really saying is, “I will build my new community.” His call was to individuals, but his goal was community. So in its practical sense, “church” is a “community of believers” who have been brought into relationship with God and others where there is common faith and common purpose.
The church is extremely important to God! The church is described as the body of Christ (it's part of him), the bride of Christ (it's the love of his life), God's army (it's his force in the world) and God's temple or house (it's where he chooses to live). The church is also very important to the world we live in (Mt.5:13-16. Phil.2:14-16). Take the community of believers out of the world and there is no light only darkness everywhere. There is no salt to preserve, only decay and perversion. The darkest places in our cities and our world and places where the light of God's community of believers is shining the dimmest. Bill Hybels make this declaration: “The local church (when it's working properly) is the hope of the world!” It has been entrusted with the gospel, which is the only power to change or transform the human heart. The church has a completely unique mission to fulfil on planet earth, essential to the well being of society and that no one else can accomplish.
So when you invest your life, your time, your energy and your resources into the church of Jesus Christ, you are making a wise, a strategic and an eternal investment. You are aligning your life's priorities with what is central to the very heart of God. You become a partner, a shareholder and a contributor to the greatest project in the universe - the church, the hope of the world.
Today and always there is only one true church of Jesus Christ made up of all true believers around the world. However, there are and have been many local congregations led by human leaders and made up of people just like you and me. Together we have the responsibility to make our local church something that will please and honour God (1 Cor.3:5-15.)What Kind of Church Do You Want?
There are many options today and right here in Melbourne there are 100s of churches to choose from (1600 in fact), most of them doing great work for the kingdom of God.
- Small or Large?
CityLife is a LARGE growing church with the potential to make a real difference in the world. However, we are also seeking to keep growing SMALL through Life Group ministry, so that everyone is cared for and has a sense of belonging.
Traditional or Contemporary?
- CityLife is a CONTEMPORARY church seeking to present the never changing message of the gospel in a relevant manner. However, we are also committed to preserving the central TRADITIONS of the orthodox Christian faith.
- Evangelical or Pentecostal?
CityLife is a PENTECOSTAL church that embraces the activity of the Holy Spirit. However, CityLife is also an EVANGELICAL church that seeks to build everything strongly on the inspired infallible and authoritative Word of God.
- Single or Multiple Focused?
CityLife seeks to be a balanced church through adopting a MULTIPLE FOCUS on key aspects of church life (soul winning, experiencing God, close relationships, teaching and social action). However, we also want to be SINGLE FOCUSED by not trying to do everything.
- Inward or Outward Focused?
CityLife is called to be an OUTWARD focused church that has a heart for those who are far from God. However, we also want to have a strong INWARD focus that ensures that we are a warm and caring community of people. CityLife is a church with a MISSION from God that we are passionate about and totally committed to. CityLife is also committed to MAINTAINING the ground we have taken and in preserving the foundations and values of our church's great heritage.
What kind of church do you want? God has called our church and given us a unique part in his plan for Australia and beyond. That doesn't make us better than any other church, just different. It's time for us to embrace his call and step forward with fresh passion and commitment to be all God wants us to be at this time of history. Let's work together at Building Our Future today!Discussion Questions
- What do you think about the statement, “The local church is the hope of the world”? Is this true? If so, how should it affect the way we live (individually and as a Life Group)? This is a good question to discern the value people place on the church.
- Have you been a part of any other churches? Describe your experience. What were some of their strengths? Weaknesses? This question helps people share a bit of their background and church experiences.
- What do you think are some of the strengths of CityLife? Why do you a part of our church? This is a good question to find out what attracts people to our church?
- What do you think are some of the weaknesses of CityLife or areas that need improvement? What are some ways these areas could be strengthened? This question gets some good honest discussion about CityLife. Encourage people to share without openly without fear.
- Do you think CityLife is too Large already? How much bigger do you think it will get?
- Do you see CityLife as too Traditional, too Contemporary or just right?
- Do you see CityLife as too Evangelical, too Pentecostal or just right?
- Do you see the ministries of CityLife as Balanced (multiple focused) or not (single focused)?
- Do you see CityLife as too Inward Focused, too Outward Focused or just right?
These questions enable people to think about the kind of church CityLife is now and what it could be. In a large church, there is the opportunity to achieve a broad appeal to all sorts of different people through a variety of ministries and emphases. However, if someone only wants one thing all the time, then his or her expectations may be unrealistic.