Vision

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Elim Hope Church Vision

Introduction

Welcome to the Elim Hope Church: Lane End’s vision statement. As a church, we are excited to release the vision that as a leadership we believe has come from God. We have been seeking God for over six months as to the direction God wants for this church in Lane End. We have all fasted and prayed and come together as a leadership team, to be open to what God has planned for this church. Before I go further, it is important to understand that God makes vision a priority in all He does. The moment humanity rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), God had a vision of redemption for all humanity through His son Jesus (Romans 5: 19).

Further to this, in one of the great wisdom books in the Old Testament, Proverbs 29: 18 states “Where there is no Prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint…” Vision is essential in keeping people focused on the plans He has for the church. We believe that God has given us a vision that enables us to connect with our community, grow and develop the church and release people into the fulness of God.

We believe as a leadership that what God has given us has been tested and is correct for this church. There has been a unity across the leadership as we sought after God’s will for the church and found that God had been speaking clearly to each of us, that when we met to discuss the vision, we all were coming up with the same ideals. This was very exciting for us as it showed that what he had was a genuine vision from God.  We perceive this to be an exciting time for the church here in Lane End and we hope that you can journey with us as we seek to make a difference within our community, both inside and outside of the church.

Foundation

It is important to understand that Jesus is our firm foundation (1 Corinthians 3: 11), and that Jesus is our focus. Jesus said. ‘he will build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16: 18). Anything we seek to build must be laid upon the foundation that is Christ Jesus and allowing people to grow deeper in their experiences and knowledge of Christ. This is where the vision we have received is built upon and inspired by the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We believe in the full authority of scripture as laid down by the Elim movement and the vision operates within what the Word of God instructs, guides and inspires us to do.

Upon this foundation, we are a church that seeks to be led and inspired by the Holy Spirit. As a Pentecostal church, we desire for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide the church. This foundation enables us to do this.

Salvation

During our first session on exploring the vision, it became evident that as we searched through the scriptures, salvation was a clear vision for the church. Mark 16: 15-16 states,” Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved…”. Couple this scripture with Romans 10: 9 “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart the God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. It became very clear to the leadership that salvation was the essential focal point for the church. Once you add John 3: 16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him,” God’s heart is for all to find salvation in Jesus Christ and none to perish.

In all that the church does in the future will have a focus on salvation, with the desire to share with those who do not know the salvation that Jesus brings to all humanity. This must be shown through the believers in the church, our lifestyles must be transparent and consistent with scripture, so that the light of Jesus is shown through Christ and Holy Spirit filled believers.

Elim Hope Church: Lane End, defines salvation as: We believe that salvation is a gift offered by God to all humanity. We believe in the necessity for salvation of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by which the sinner is pardoned and accepted as righteous in God’s sight. This justification is imputed by the grace of God because of the atoning work of Christ, is received by faith alone and is evidenced by the Fruit of the Spirit and a holy life.

We care because Christ cares about the eternal state of this community. Christ saved us from an eternity without God, and we are desperate to prevent others spending an eternity without God!

Belonging

During the process of exploring the vision, it became very apparent that belonging was a key pillar to the vision. Belonging includes hospitality as the two go hand in hand. Belonging is integral to life within and outside of the church. The people within the church firstly need to know that they belong to God. Romans 8: 17 tells us that we are heirs in Christ (also Romans 6: 1-6). We therefore belong to the Kingdom of God.

Belonging within the church is essential to moving and growing with each other. Ephesians 4: 32 tells us to be kind and loving to one another and forgiving each other as Christ forgave us. There are many scriptures that explain that as the church body, we are to love, serve, care for one another and to be people of forgiveness (Gal 5: 13-15; 1 Peter 4: 8-9; Rom 12: 10 & 13). Furthermore, not to think too highly of ourselves that we judge others displaying a more superior attitude (Matthew 7: 1). The church is also called to build one another up as indicated in 1 Corinthians 14: 12, “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church”.

We are called to be people who are hospitable (Genesis 18; Hebrews 13: 1-2; 1 Peter 4: 8-9). This is hospitality within the church itself and our homes. Our desire is to see people wanting to spend time with one another and caring for each other. The early church spent lots of time together and opened their homes (Acts 2: 44-47; Luke 14: 15-23).

Elim Hope Church: Lane End, understands belonging to mean: Belonging is everyone knowing they are welcome and valued here, and experiencing Christ’s love through His church.

We want everyone who becomes part of Elim Hope Church to feel they belong to God, and the church body. Some may not be believers yet however, belonging allows all to experience God’s love and salvation in Christ.

Discipling

Being a disciple is the next step in a journey with Christ after salvation. Discipleship is the road one takes to grow in their faith with Jesus, understanding the voice of God and being filled with the Holy Spirit (John 10: 27). Although salvation makes us right standing with God, we still need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). This means that discipleship is the continuing journey a Christian takes to a deeper and growing relationship with God. Discipleship is what we call that journey.

As Christians walking this journey to a deeper relationship with God, we must first realise that we no longer live to our own agenda, but to the way that Christ has called us to live. We are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9: 23; Matt 16: 24-25; Luke 14: 33). We are to let go of the past life and enter the new life found in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4: 20-24 & 5:1). That is why baptism is important, letting go of the former life as you enter the water and as you raise again out of the water, you enter a new life in Christ.

Jesus said that people would know we are his disciples by their fruit (John 15: 8). The fruit of being a disciple is someone who does what Jesus commanded, loving one another, caring for the poor and each other as well as being filled with the Holy Spirit, and demonstrating the nine fruits that Paul indicated in Galatians 5: 22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.

Elim Hope Church: Lane End understands discipling to be: ‘discipleship is the continuing journey one takes after salvation to become a follower of Christ; led by the Holy Spirit, to become more like Christ, being inspired to share our testimony of the life changing power of Jesus’

Discovering

Everyone has a natural gifting, something that a person can do naturally without having to think or work too hard about it. Over the years of life, we learn to discover these giftings and we learn what we are naturally good at. The same is true of those who come to have a relationship with God. God provides them a gifting from the Holy Spirit. As a church, we believe it is essential that people discover what these spiritual giftings are and learn how to put them into practice.

The Apostle Paul writing to the Church in Corinth explained nine gifts of the Spirit, “To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues…” (1 Corinthians 12: 9-10).

These are gifts that are given for the edification of the church and the building up of one another (1 Corinthians 12: 11). There are also other gifts, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[a] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12: 6-8). Furthermore, there are other gifts that help with the running and developing of the church itself, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4: 11-12).

Discovering the spiritual gifts is vital to the vibrancy of the church body, so that the church grows, building one another up in love. We are encouraged to desire spiritual gifts but especially prophecy so that the body of Christ can follow the call of Christ in all our lives (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Elim Hope Church: Lane End understands discovering to be: “Discovering is recognising that God has given each person a gifting and calling, both through God given natural abilities and through the gifts of the Spirit. So, you can be useful for ‘His acts of service’ and beneficial to all.”

Releasing

Discovering your gifting leads to the releasing of those natural and Spiritual gifts. This is an exciting time for those disciples of Jesus who seek to be released into the calling and gifting Christ has given. The leadership is overall responsible for the releasing of the giftings within the church so that the church body can function well in unity. Releasing the giftings in people helps to grow and strengthen the church body through acts of service (Ephesians 4:12). Furthermore, Timothy was reminded by the Apostle Paul which is relevant to all members of the church to “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you” (1 Timothy 4: 14). This is an important message, that as believers, we all have our own contribution to be made. Releasing those gifts provides encouragement to the church body and helps promote the reality that Jesus is alive and wants to communicate with humanity.

We as a church want to release everyone into the fulness of God, helping them to find their place and ministry (2 Timothy 1: 6). For the church to make an impact within our society, we all need to explore the gifting that God has given us, and then release it within the church environment.

We recognise however, that at times, as a gifting is released, so can a ministry be. This at times may mean releasing people into the ministry that God has called them into, resulting in them leaving the local church setting. This tends to become obvious and so the releasing is not a burden, but excitement that someone is going to fulfil their calling in God.

Elim Hope Church: Lane End, understands releasing to be: Releasing is enabling you to put into action the God given gifts and callings within the church under the covering of the leadership, freeing you into the fulness of God.

Individuality

There is an added component to the vision here at Elim Hope Church, we recognise that one size does not fit all when encouraging people into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Some people find reading the bible difficult, while others find prayer an easy task. How they connect with God is different too and its being aware of our individuality that will enable a greater chance of exploring all there is in God.

This dynamic of individuality holds the vision together because everyone is different. They see the world differently and mission, discipleship, belonging, exploring and releasing of the gifts are experienced uniquely. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians explained that everyone is part of the body of Christ. They all have their part to play, and so like the many parts of the natural body exists, such as eyes, feet, hands etc, they all perform a different role. They are unique in the specialism and like the many individuals that make up the church, every person is unique to a role they will be encouraged in (1 Corinthians 12: 12-27). That is why exploring our giftings is so vitally important to find where God has placed them for acts of service within the body of the church.

We believe that by understanding the individuality of each other will help the person find how they first connect with God, secondly, are inspired by God and thirdly, how they will use their gifting to feel fulfilled within themselves while also edifying the church community. This will take a lot of work and co-ordination, but it reveals the heart of God to the church. People need to feel fulfilled in their giftings of God while being an encouragement to others. Using their giftings in unity with each other and not in competition. It is for the individual to recognise how God wants to use and guide them in their lives and how God wants to further their ministry within the church.

By recognising the individual’s uniqueness, it enables that person to grow in God at the right level that is right for them. Some people grow very quickly, while others take time to discover and trust what God is doing. We as a church want to journey with people in this as our desire is to see everyone within the church fulfil their true potential in Christ. This process helps keep us all humble before God and each other within the church, as it helps us to see that God has given us the gifts for his purposes for the growth, encouragement and development of the church body (Romans 12: 3-8).

It is essential to note however, that salvation, belonging, discipling, exploring and releasing are not step one merely goes through, but it’s a collective movement in all these areas. They all function together and as we are all different, some will find they grow faster and deeper in one area, while in another area, they find it harder and there is less growth within it. This is fine and normal, as God will lead people through at the pace that is right for them. Understanding our individuality and it connection to the wider church is critical in seeing God move through his church.

The Next Step

This is the vision here at Elim Hope Church: Lane End, however, it requires your help too. We are a church that seek to grow and build people and encourage them to be all they can be in Christ. Our commitment to help and support people on this journey, but we are also very open to receive ideas and plans from the people here at Elim hope. God has provided the leadership with the vision, but how this vision becomes a reality encompasses the whole of the church body. We all have a part to play, whether it be volunteering, coming up with ideas you have received from God, ministries you have a passion for or just being willing to be used by God, this vision is for this church and those who belong. Please do not sit back and think it is someone else’s responsibility, it is all our responsibility to be willing and open to all that God would ask of us. Please get involved, if you feel you do not know where, come and speak to the leadership, who would love to discuss and explore where you can get involved and feel fulfilled in the things of God, within this church body. We look forward to journeying with you and seeing God fulfil all he has for Elim Hope.


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