To be a Congregational Church is not to be exclusive but rather it is to be free. Congregationalists believe that each local church has the authority and the
responsibility to govern itself under Christ.
Our denominational affiliation with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference provides us with a measure of accountability and enables us to share in joint missionary endeavors and other works of Christian service.
We gladly recognize other denominational churches as being our brothers and sisters in faith. Our own local
fellowship includes people from a variety of church backgrounds. We enjoy a
freedom that recognizes the essentials of Christian faith and cherishes the beauty of diversity in expression and practice. In a true sense we are a community church.
The Mission of the Church
Is the Kingdom of God
Jesus came proclaiming the good news of God. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark
1:15). In addition, he said to his disciples
that "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world"
(Matthew 24:14). It is clear then that the
message of the kingdom was the good news that both Jesus and his followers were
What then is meant by the kingdom?
How is it defined? It would
seem obvious that in order to have a kingdom a king is implied. That king is Jesus. He acknowledged this before Pilate at
his trial (Luke 23:3). He will be universally
acclaimed "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" in the consummation (Revelation
19:16). The good news we are to proclaim will
therefore always center around Jesus.
But in addition to a king, a kingdom also implies a dominion. It is more than a spiritual dominion
for it touches the whole of his creation.
The goal of God's kingdom is "to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even
Christ." (Ephesians 1:10).
The church is the agent of the kingdom. The church is to both proclaim and model the good news that
Christ is Lord of all of life.
This is surely an evangelistic mission, but it will involve more than
the message of personal repentance and forgiveness. It will also include the reconciling of all things to
himself (Colossians 1:20). It will include
proclaiming the reign of Christ over the earth and its resources, over the social
and political systems that promote oppression, over the culture and its
disregard for its Creator.
In order to help define clearly our mission, we have drafted an outlined
description of the message of the kingdom as it is found in the text of Christ's
first sermon at his hometown synagogue in Nazareth at the Sabbath worship (Luke
4:14-30). Without doubt there is a predominate
evangelistic concern. There is a
needed personal repentance and belief.
There is a spiritual relationship that permeates the text quoted from
Isaiah 61:1-2. But the message of
the kingdom also includes the practical and visible realities of life in a
fallen world. God's kingdom goal
is to ultimately create shalom in the earth. Consequently, we see the mission of the church as including
the following practical ministries.
1. Sabbath Observance (Luke
Worship is not only for the nurture of God's
people, it is to be the call to the society to have regard for the dual aspects
of the Sabbath: creation with its sanctity and rest, and re-creation with its
life and resurrection.
Evangelistic Invitation (Luke
The "good news" begins with the message
of repenting and believing (Mark 1:15-17). This is a process whose progress will involve variable
increments of time. The church' s
obligation is to invite individuals into the process of following Christ.
3. Economic Assistance (Luke
Good news to the poor is, in practical terms, not a
handout. It is the assistance that
enables the poor to change their own condition.
4. Relational Intervention (Luke 4:18)
Proclaiming freedom for the
prisoners requires relational and often legal intervention. This is the task of the peacemaker who
seeks to settle disputes between those at enmity.
5. Physical Provision (Luke 4:18)
The recovery of sight for
the blind is a reference to the need for physical help. The church's mission is to provide
physical demonstration of its concern for the whole person, body as well as
6. Institutional Justice (Luke 4:18)
The very mention of the
oppressed is recognition that there is in force a power that holds others down
unjustly. This is the power of
institutional injustice which must be addressed to gain release.
7. Ecological Preservation (Luke 4:19)
The year of the Lord's
favor is a clear reference to the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25). Its
main focus was to give proper care to the earth and its people by limiting