Several years ago, I took a virtual course from Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota from two of their pastors – Paul Eddy and Kevin Callahan. They came up with one of the best definitions of church I’ve come across. I’m not quoting exactly, but it went something like this:
We who follow Jesus are:
- Specially chosen
- To join a Holy Spirit-led covenant community
- With an urgent message, mission, & calling;
- To give up “normal” life and comforts,
- To become trained to live in submission
- To the power & purposes of GOD
- At the risk of our own lives
- For the wellbeing of all of creation.
Every phrase is a sermon series.
We are chosen by God. God loves us. God drew us with bands of lovingkindness to Jesus. Our essential identity is Beloved of God.
We were chosen and drawn to community – genuine, authentic, connectedness with other humans, a tribe with whom to do life.
This community is multicultural, multigenerational, interracial, inclusive, welcoming, and nonjudgmental.
This community is led by the Holy Spirit.
This community is a covenant community. We are bonded together by commitment to love, serve, and care for one another.
This community has an urgent message: God is love. God created you in God’s own image. God adores you. God invites you into vitality, inner freedom, actualization, and wholeness. God will never hurt you.
This community has an urgent mission: Take God’s love to others. All others.
This community has an urgent calling: to shine with the love of Jesus.
We are called to give up “normal” life and comforts. “Normal” in our context is consumerist, materialist, militaristic, triumphalist, narcissistic, individualistic, and racist.
We are called to become trained to live in submission to the power and purposes of God – to be fully, unconditionally, yielded to God.
We are called to obey God even at the risk of our own lives.
And we are called to do so for the betterment of all of creation, in harmony with all people, and all the natural world.