In seeking to be a church that is 'expressing His life and fulfilling His purpose', we have found it helpful to use three key words or motifs, each flowing from the other, which serve as anchor points or pillars.
The first half of the above statement is ‘expressing His life…’, but who is this God whose life we want to express and what implications does this have? Through the Scriptures, God has revealed himself as Triune. The nature or being of the one God is dynamic personal communion between Father, Son and Spirit. It is the plan of the Father, through the Son and by the Spirit, to invite and draw humanity into the loving communion of the Godhead.
The doctrine of the Trinity shows us that we are beings-in-relationship, rather than creatures complete in ourselves. The church then, which has been called out from humanity and tasted the ‘first-fruits’ of this reality, should seek to reflect this (albeit in a fallible, finite way) by being a community that is made up of rich, loving personal relationships. We are called to be a community that builds and models
loving relationships as an echo or reflection of who God is.
The second half of the purpose statement is ‘fulfilling His purpose.’ God’s purpose for us is outlined in the prayer Jesus taught his followers to pray: ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.’ In other words it is to see God’s rule and reign (Kingdom) come in every area of life, both on a personal level (spiritually, emotionally, physical and relationally) and societal level (locally, nationally and globally).
This purpose or mission is something that flows from and originates within the Godhead (Trinity). The Father sends his Son, in the power of the Spirit, as the King and embodiment of his kingdom, to restore his rule and reign. In Jesus, we see the life and kingdom of God expressed in a way that we can appreciate and comprehend. The Father then sends the Spirit, through the Son, to form a community of believers called ‘Church’, who are called to be both an agent and sign of the kingdom. All our outreach should be in order to see God’s kingdom established and give people a taste of the blessings of God’s rule and reign. In short, our purpose is to co-labour with God in order to see his kingdom come in every area of life on earth, the same as it is in heaven, and the greatest expression of this is in making disciples of Jesus Christ.
How then can we be a community that is ‘expressing His life’ and ‘fulfilling His purpose’? God did not remain aloof and separate from the world he created, but entered into it in the person of his Son and Spirit. In Jesus, people can know and encounter the living God present to them, and in knowing and encountering the presence of God in Jesus there is transformation.
Although unique in his divinity as the Son of God, Jesus in his humanity functions as a model of what it means to be a true human being, filled with the Holy Spirit, and thus a host of God’s presence; expressing God’s life and fulfilling God’s purpose.
The means, then, through which we can express his life (Trinity) and fulfil his purpose (Kingdom), is Presence; the presence of God in us by the Holy Spirit. Every person and every aspect of our church life must seek to be initiated, empowered and soaked in the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
. . . all that has been discussed so far seeks to outline a theology of what it means to worship God. As we seek to grow in our relationship with God and with one another (Trinity), as we seek to share in God’s mission of love to his world (Kingdom), all in the power of the Spirit (Presence), we are worshipping.