The Vision – Building a city for the city
First, we use the term “city” as a metaphor for the church because the Greek word translated “church” in the New Testament – *ekklesia* – referred to the public assembly of the citizens of a city. So a church is an identifiable, public group of Jesus followers that functions like a city.
Think about what makes up a city, all of which is also true of a healthy church:
- There’s lots of people
- There’s lots of activity
- There’s a defining culture or set of values that permeates the city
- Everyone has a job to do, a part to play and yet…
- There’s a sense of being part of something far bigger than yourself
- There’s some form of government or leadership to direct traffic
Second, Fellowship Denver is for the city of Denver. The early churches became centers of mission to their cities and regions. They did not exist simply to take care of those who were already “in,” but to serve and show Jesus to everyone.
The Mission – Describes how we accomplish the vision. We see four areas that the gospel cultivates in order to make us into a city for the city:
- Community Formation – Christ followers doing life together in a distinctive way, inviting others in.
- Personal Conversion – New followers of Jesus being born because the church is translating the gospel into their language and inviting them to believe.
- Sacrificial Service – Meeting needs in the city through deeds of mercy and justice, especially to the poor and those lacking social capital.
- Creating New Culture – Christians developing new ways of living in all areas of life so as to fully reflect the gospel, for example: singleness, marriage, work and vocation, and the arts.
The Values – Describes the way in which we’re committed to carrying out the mission.
Our main value is The Gospel – the message of Jesus and the meaning of his life, death, and resurrection.
Under The Gospel, we have the following values to ensure that the gospel remains vibrant and true to the original. We express them as “and” statements because Christians have often tended to pull these apart – to emphasize one aspect to the exclusion of the other. So these are things we value and hold together:
- Contending and Contextualizing – We must always “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) AND translate that faith in a way that’s intelligible and accessible to our current context, 21st century urban Denver.
- Doctrine and Life – The gospel calls us to believe certain things about God, Jesus, humanity, and the world AND to live consistently with those beliefs, not just mentally acknowledge them.
- Scripture and Orthodoxy – The Bible is our highest authority in all matters AND it should be interpreted in a way that’s consistent with the historic Christian faith.
- Words and Deeds – Sharing the gospel with others requires teaching, preaching, conversation, and explanation AND lives that make it look desirable.
- Transformation and Grace – The gospel calls us into a new way of living, repenting of sin and growing to become more like Jesus AND it gives us grace and forgiveness when we fall short.
- Personal Faith and Church – The gospel calls each of us to make our own response to Jesus AND it calls his followers to be joined to a church.