A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. This fellowship is seen lived out in the life of the church. We summarize this life of the church into the strategic themes of community, outreach, reproduction, and education. Below is a description of these themes with the italicized words being the actual biblical terms used in the New Testament.
Community is based on the biblical teaching of the fellowship and liturgy of the church (koinonia and leitourgia). Fellowship deals with the strong familial bond that believers have only in Christ and how that impacts our attitude and behavior toward one another. Liturgy is the spiritual practice of the community in corporate worship on a Sunday morning, the celebration of baptism or the Lord’s Supper, in midweek prayer, or other times of communal practice.
Outreach is based on the Biblical teaching of service and proclamation (diakonia and euangélion). This occurs as a lifestyle of our members. Both serving our neighbors, as we have been served by Christ, and publicly proclaiming the exclusive and universal truths of the gospel we seek to uphold base commands of Jesus seen throughout the Scriptures. Outreach is then highly contextual, dynamic displays of the truth of the Gospel that we ourselves have been changed by.
Reproduction plays out when we make disciples and are sent plant new churches (mathateo and apelusan). When we engage the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truth of the gospel in each other and respond with repentance and faith we are in the disciple making process of sanctification. This can occur in homes, at work, at the playground, or coffee shop. We encourage and equip members to regularly and intentionally engage in this process with each other. The reproduction of disciples in new contexts to which we are sent give rise to new churches being planted as a function of the mission of God to us to go and make disciples.
Education in the truth of the gospel as found in the Bible occurs as we teach/preach proper doctrine (kerugma and didake). The preaching of God’s truth occurs when we are gathered together on Sunday mornings (both for Sunday school and our worship service), collectively study during the week in Men’s or Women’s groups, or in smaller group settings. Knowing the truths of the gospel is the first step in applying it to our hearts and being transformed into the image of Jesus.