I have written in my past 5 "why" blogs about the first 3 primary values that we have chosen to focus upon in the formation stage of our development as a community of Jesus followers - ADORATION, HOPE, and KOINONIA (fellowship). I began this series by referring to the kind of learning environments that we focus upon - informal and non-formal. I also inserted a bit about embracing a non-sectarian attitude and posture in order to love, respect and embrace other Jesus-loving ministries, churches and movements. The 4th main value that we are seeking to impart into the heart of our community is DISCOVERING PURPOSE. Just as there is power in knowing the "why" of our community, it is even more vital to us that each member of our fellowship discover her/his personal "why". Whether on large or small scales, people who really know their God-given identity and purpose will be history-makers. They will bring renewal to the whole creation through emoting His presence and wisdom!
In the past, the spiritual cultures we planted, joined and helped lead tended to say to prospective members - "God has given the founders and leaders of this body a clear and compelling vision/mission that we would love for you to "catch". We desire/need you to join in with us to love, labor, fund and make sacrifices, as we have, to help this work of God become fruitful." Though this kind of message has some Biblical elements and merit, we have felt directed to aim at and convey something different to people who are and/or may want to become a part of our spiritual family.
We try to communicate something like this - "As founders and pastors of this community, we want to equip and empower you in every way we can and walk alongside of you in friendship to discover and accomplish the will of our Heavenly Father for your life in every season of your journey. This is what we earnestly desire for you and yours."
It seems good to the Holy Spirit presently that we have taken this approach and that He is promising us that whatever more corporate vision/mission He has for us will naturally-supernaturally emerge, dawn upon us all and grip our hearts. We believe that the personal ethic Jesus taught us in Matthew 16;25 applies to corporate groups and organizations as well - "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." We haven't been called as a community of faith to exist in order to preserve our existence. Rather, we are called to build and develop a rich spiritual culture in which people are empowered to hear the Lord's voice and to do what He instructs them to do. We simply trust that if we will focus on building people of Christ (i.e. making disciples), that our Lord Jesus will build His church. (Matthew 16;8)
Some might point out that this approach sows into our group the seeds of our own demise. But we would reply that a solitary seed goes into the ground in order to die, but to then mysteriously give rise to bringing forth much fruit! (John 12:24) I pray that we might always delight that the powerful rhythms of death and resurrection are at play in our community.