The CityLife Story
Every person has a story and every church family has a story. CityLife Church began in 1967 under the leadership of Richard Holland. Richard really loved people and was a person of great faith. The church grew to over 500 people over the next 20 years. Kevin Conner was our second Senior Minister. Kevin’s teaching helped to further strengthen the foundations of the church and during his 8 years of leadership the church grew to over 1,500 people. In 1995, Mark Conner became the Senior Minister and since that time the church has continued to grow and expand its ministries. Highlights include a stronger emphasis on small groups, creation of our LIFETRAX life and leadership development course, the establishment of an effective community outreach ministry, the commencement of new congregations in other locations, and expansion of our mission work around the world.Our Mission
Our church has a very clear mission that explains why we are here as a group. Our mission is to “raise up fervent followers of Jesus Christ who will reach out and impact communities, cities and nations for the kingdom of God.” This statement is built upon the Great Commandments (love God and others) and the Great Commission (“Go into all the world …”). There are two dimensions or aspects to our mission: Breathe IN (“raise up”) and breathe OUT (“reach out”). This refers to the twin activities of discipleship and outreach.Where to now?
God has done some amazing things through our history as a church. What’s next? What do you see? What’s ahead? Obviously, we want to continue to take further steps towards our mission so that we have an even greater impact on communities, cities, and nations. The key to this increasing impact is that we continue to see more and better “fervent followers of Jesus Christ.” God’s work in us is the foundation for all that He desires to do through us. It is through genuine disciples that Jesus transforms the world and expands His kingdom.A Portrait of a Fervent Follower
During this season in the life of our church, we are focusing on our lives as disciples of Jesus. A “fervent follower” is a genuine disciple of Jesus. Last year we intentionally moved to a more qualitative focus. This year our focus is still the same, but we have simplified our portrait of a fervent follower around 4 Es:Experience
A fervent follower experiences God. This occurs both personally (through practices such as prayer and Bible reading) and with others (through regular participation in Celebration gatherings).Engage
A fervent follower engages with others. This occurs both within the church (through fellowship and accountability, within Life Groups and in other informal relationships) and outside of the church community (through friendship evangelism).Equip
A fervent follower equips themselves and others. Equipping can be through coaching, mentoring, personal accountability, reading or attending a training course.Express
A fervent follower expresses their purpose. This occurs both within the church community (through serving, giving financially and helping meet various needs) and also outside to our wider world (through activities such as sharing our faith, compassion and justice).
This is not a new mission, just a fresh way to describe it. You will also notice that each of these words is an action word. A disciple is defined not just by their beliefs but even more so by their practices. Jesus was interested in obedience not just mere knowledge. He commanded his disciples to teach people to DO everything he had commanded them - to put his teaching into practice. Behaviours are a greater indicator of true values than are beliefs. How we live our lives is the evidence of God’s Spirit at work within us and our co-operation with Him. Note that in the first church at Jerusalem there was a clear description of what the disciples did, not just what they believed (see Acts 2:41-47).Sample Discussion Questions
1. How long have you been in CityLife Church? What qualities attracted you to the church?
2. The first disciples “devoted themselves” to a number of practices (Acts 2). What do you think an individual can realistically expect from the church and what must they be personally responsible for when it comes to their own discipleship?
3. Beliefs are very important but why are practices or behaviours even more important? [Here you could discuss the difference between “preferred values” and “actual values.”]
4. Becoming “fervent” will take more than attending one church gathering on a weekend. What are the types of activities and practices that could contribute to our spiritual health and vibrancy?
5. On a fervency scale, where would you describe yourself as a disciple of Jesus right now: cold, lukewarm or hot? What are some factors that have contributed to this? What will it take to lift your spiritual temperature this year?
6. Practices are like habits; they take time and repetition to develop. Share about your own experience with stopping bad habits and starting new more healthy ones.
7. Ultimately, our decisions not our conditions determine our future destiny. What choices do you need to make today IF you want to become a more fervent follower of Jesus? [Encourage people to fill in the Journey of a Fervent Follower card with their decisions. You could spend time discussing some sample practices for each of the 4Es]