The way we do things around here
(Here is an edited transcript of the values that Stephen our Pastor spoke about at out 2012/13 Vision Sunday.)
A Church of Kingdom builders, not empire builders
OK so kicking us off. I think really clearly for me now I see our vision as not building and growing a church. When you set out to grow a church, all of our focus comes on to “us” and on to “our” Sunday services and our style of worship and how many people we can get to go to certain events. Working like this means that our energy and money is spent getting people to come to us, to join our team and our church can be bigger and we can feel better about ourselves. Its not always the case but I recon that if you set out to “build “a church it can very easily turn into you building an empire of ourselves.
Instead here at CNBC we don’t primarily want to grow our church, we want to simply get on with “being” the church. The amazing this is when you are working on “being” the church, what you focus on, is growing the kingdom of God in Teesside. Our job, the thing that gets us up in the morning is not to have a mega building with hundreds gathering. That kind of excites me and who know that may happen. But if that happens I want that to be the side effect. I don’t want that to be the driving factor, I want that to be the side effect. That if we truly are concerned about being Gods people and heaven coming on earth in Teesside then one of the repercussions of that will be people will want to gather with us more as we worship the King of the this Kingdom.
We are to be a church of the “Kingdom in Teesside” focused people. We need to be people who will dream dreams for Middlesbrough, people who will start thinking and imagining, if Gods Kingship was fully happening here in this place then what would it look like, what would it smell like, what would it feel like, how can I be involved in making this happen? Vision for Middlesbrough not for us – Not how we can grow the best church, how can we be the best church.
One church together with other Churches
We are not the only church in Teesside. We are not Gods people on our own. There is a bigger picture. God has his people in Teesside and there are alot more of them that we have gathered in CNBC. They are our brothers and sisters. We not in competition with them we are not working against them…we are working with them. Although this is not a ground breaking statement to make, often we don’t act like this is true. Here at CNBC this value is going to become increasingly significant for us. We want to take our relationship with other Churches from a place of just knowing about each other, to a place of praying together, deeply loving each other, feeling each others joys and hurts, lovingly supporting each other and working together in Gods mission to Teesside as ONE Church.
This will mean Churches all over Teesside saying to each other, “our purpose and our mission is not actually to our denomination or to ourselves, but its to our city to our town. We are all here to change Middlesbrough and Teesside. We are here to bring the Kingship of Christ to Middlesbrough! Were all in it together.We are one. So if what they are doing over there, looks like how Jesus wants things to look then, I love, I back it. Support it, pray for it. It brings me joy and I kind of share it with you. Its kind of mine as well, because its what I am after as well.
Now I don’t think we are fully there yet with this one in Teesside, but something is stirring and we are pointed well and truly in this direction. It will start with the leaders praying together, but it will also become much more mixed and messy than that. And at CNBC we are going to work towards the day when the churches of Teesside will be able to truly be ONE. I really think this is the only way we will see an area transformed by God. Mega churches wont see it, a few key thriving churches wont see it…..but a whole united variety of churches of every shape size and color might just see it.
A Church of Players not Spectators
One of the values of CNBC, one of its characteristics is that it is not the sort of church you are a part of for long unless you are really interested in truly having a go at following Jesus. Its not a church for spectators. Its not the sort of church you turn up to because you have to because its your tradition, its not the sort of church you turn up to because the production values of our services rival the west end. Its a church for players not spectators.
The value that I am talking about here is that this church is “you”, its “you” as much as it is me. You are church leaders you are church missionaries. All of you. There is not one of you in CNBC that is not called, chosen and anointed to be a follower and whole hearted disciple of Jesus Christ in every environment that you find yourself. This means you and the person next to you on a Sunday, and the person next to them and the person behind you, all of us being a part of the mission of God to transform lives and this entire creation.
You need to hear that you are in full time ministry!! I might get paid to be released into a leadership role in this church but you are the church and you are its full time ministers. If doing church stays in the hands of the ministry and pastors and priests then we should all give up now…its just wasted potential.
This means that one of our core values as a community is that you need to let this whole Jesus thing infect, impact and transform every single part of your life and the way you do everything. This is the movement from just being a Jesus fan in the stands cheering the game on, to being a full time on the pitch player. Where are you with this? Because if you want to join CNBC into the years ahead then we need you to make sure your on the pitch playing the full 90mins. Spectating isn’t good enough for very long here.
Loving family and Team mates
This value sounds so great but is so so so so hard. A community of people from every age, background, social status that you can imagine and called to be “one”, called to be a family of loving, forgiving, sharing brothers and sisters. “Ouch”, its sounds beautiful but to make it a reality its gonna hurt. We need to be closer to each other, we need to be more generous to each other, more sharing with each other, more forgiving of each other.
And if you sat here now thinking “yer, too right, this church should have been more loving to me then, this church should have been more generous to me at that time, this church should have done this and this for me if we are a loving family” then you are missing my point. Its YOU this starts with. You worry about your end of this deal, are you loving this church family enough? are you praying and forgiving and encouraging it? Are you cheering others on or pulling them down. It’s you this starts with, not the person next to you, you!
If we are going to make a go of this church family thing, then we need you on board with this stuff. We are going to need you to be encouragers’ of this church and of others in this church. We need you make sure you are a person who speaks always for the building up of this church and the people who make up this church. Its too easy to get into habits of moaning, and complaining, and talking about all the things wrong with a church. If you want to know things that are wrong with this church then I can give you a list as long as your arm, I am not stupid I know every which way we fall short of what we should be. But that doesn’t help. And too many churches are torn apart by moans and grumbles. We need to be people who look at the beauty of this thing we are a part of, who celebrate where we are doing really well, who encourage us to be more, who build us up and fire us up for Gods mission. If you see a problem, can you think like a church leader and ask how can I bless that, love that, encourage that and challenge that.
Intimate Worshipers and “With God” Livers
Here is our base value that all the others are build upon. We are a people who seek after close, real, intimate relationship with God. We are a people who do life “with” Him. If we in the next 5 year quadruple in size and get ourselves a brand new building, and we have tones of life changing ministries but we are not a church of worshipers and people who do life with God, then we will have failed. I want us to be known above all for our passion and love of Him who made us.
And if we want to go forward and make sure this is true, then we have to remember that this relationship doesn’t just fall into your lap, you have to work at it. You have to make a decision that this is central to your life and your existence, and you will have to create disciplines and stick to them. We will need to be a people who pray, study scripture, fast, meditate, retreat, people who spend time and effort developing their relationship with their creator and sustainer.