What's Driving Hope1
All churches are driven by something. Some are driven by tradition (“We’ve always done it that way!”). Others are driven by finances (“What’s it going to cost us?”). Others are driven by strong personalities (“What does Mr. So-and-so think about this?”). At Hope, our desire is to be a “purpose-driven” church. In other words, we want the purposes of God to drive everything we do. As we have searched the Scriptures, we have found five major purposes for a New-Testament Church. Here’s one way to put it:
1. We Celebrate God’s Presence.
That’s called worship. We believe that our God is alive and worthy of our praise. That’s why when we gather together we sing and celebrate God’s love. Our God lives and reigns! No people in polyester singing sadly at Hope. What great joy we experience at our Sunday services.
2. We Communicate God’s Grace.
Grace… God’s unmerited favor is too good to keep to ourselves. For ten weeks last fall, we focused on God’s amazing grace. We found life, hope, peace, and joy in Christ, and we want to communicate that to those in our sphere of influence. That’s what we mean by “invest and invite.”
3. We Connect God’s People.
We’re a family. Survival means linking up with one another in small groups… in mentoring… between services… at Alpha… at Newcomers’ Pizzas. It’s a jungle out there, and without the support and encouragement of other Christians, we’re weak and vulnerable. Find a way to get connected.
4. We Cultivate Godly Character.
Our desire is to produce fully devoted followers of Christ. We’re all in process… all striving to become more and more like Jesus. We like to tell people to come as you are (“no perfect people allowed”) but consider each day taking one step closer to Jesus. That’s why we have Bible Studies, Alpha, Mentoring, and Small Groups. They’re all about growth; all about getting closer to God.
5. We Carry Out God’s Work.
All Christians are ministers. All have been given gifts and special abilities by God to help others. When we use our “gifts/ abilities”, we are doing “ministry.” What a thrill to see so many people at Hope finding their niche, rolling up their sleeves, and getting involved. We need each and every one of you. We can’t do it alone. When you use your gifts/ abilities, you receive a blessing, you build up a church, and you honor God.
That’s the purpose-driven church. Our goal is to have all five of those purposes firing at the same time. That’s what healthy churches are all about – balancing those five areas. And when it happens, watch out! God is honored and lives are changed!