We are a people connecting with God through Jesus Christ and experiencing real community.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people willk now that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13: 34-35
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:24-25
"No man is an island" and yet many in our city live unconnected, individualistic, and often lonely lives. However, the Bible says we were made in community by a God who invites us into community with Him through Jesus Christ. We are a church that values connecting intentionally. Whether it's in a large or small group, time and space is given to help build a community of people doing life together; from our Sunday services to sharing a meal together mid-week, intentionally connecting with each other and with God through Jesus Christ is interwoven into our everyday life rhythms as individuals, families, and as a church.
We are a people challenged by the truth of the Bible and the serious call to follow Jesus Christ with our whole lives.
"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only... Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." - James 1:22 & 1:27
Despite what many think or feel today, the Bible and the Church, when properly understood, are anything but boring or out of touch; they are dynamic, relevant, life-giving, challenging, and real. We are a church that loves God and His Word (the Bible), but will not simply study it for intellectual purposes. We are a church taking advantage of regular opportunities to put our faith into action, loving others in practical ways as we show compassion in our city, country, and world.
We are a people joyfully, authentically, and regularly celebrating the Good News of Jesus in our personal lives and in community.
"Through Jesus then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His Name." - Hebrews 13:15
"Though you have not seen Jesus, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory." - 1 Peter 1:8-9
The Good News is exactly that! Awesome, life-changing, shout it out, best-news-ever kind of news! Too often Christians are known for what they are against rather than what they are for, and often they are the "wet blanket" on a good party. Jesus' life was marked with celebration, and His followers, in the face of suffering, were and are called to "rejoice!" We celebrate what Jesus has done on the cross, and His victorious and eternal reign. As we see people experience new life and freedom through Jesus Christ, we want to celebrate like crazy for who He is, what He's done, and for every person who comes to Him!
By now it is probably plain to see that the one person we are all about at West Village is Jesus Christ. He is the first and final "C".
Christ is the foundation of our faith and our church. He is the reason for, the source of, and the substance of all we do. We envision Christ Jesus lifted high in our church, our city, our country and our world; praised in the connections, challenges, and celebrations.
We are a church that fully believes that Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Saviour; we want to know and follow Him, and point others to Him. He is divisive, but He is all that matters: now and in the end. Our goal is not to simply gather together and pretend to be perfect. No, we are a church full of regular people who are imperfect and needy, but are experiencing transformation that only Jesus Christ can bring. We are a church that is about growing spiritually in relationship with God, in seeing more lives experience the new life Jesus offers, and joining His mission to see ourselves and those around us change to be more like Him. Change doesn't happen in a single day, but it does begin with a single life. Here's a powerful part of the Bible that explains Jesus (He's the "Son" described below):
"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
"He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
"You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message,careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message."
Colossians 1:15–23 (The Message).
We are a church that emphasizes the Good News of Jesus Christ in everything we do and say – not just as a message to proclaim, but a Person to know and love and to follow and experience. This means that we desire to not just know about Him or the Bible, but to have a living relationship with Him, applying the teachings of the Bible to our "everyday", being devoted to talking with Him in prayer and living life with Him and for Him through the power of His Spirit, while showing and sharing Him with those around us.
We desire to be a church that gives ridiculously and lavishly, willingly and cheerfully. This means giving of all kinds - our resources, from money and stuff, to time and gifts, to God's work and the things He is about. We desire to be a blessing to our community, our city, our world; those who are a part of our church and those who are not, and especially those who are in need or are marginalized.
We desire to be a church that gives our best for the One who gave His best. This is an act of worship to our God and an act of love for our community.
We desire to be a church that is real. This means it will be less than perfect (or the appearance of such), and at times messy. It also means we will be truly friendly and inviting to all types of people at all stages of life. We will strive to maintain a full balance of being full of grace and truth, just like Jesus.
We desire to be a growing and reproducing church. Healthy, living things grow and reproduce. This means an emphasis on introducing people to Jesus and teaching them how to follow and live for Him more fully, and pouring into the next generation, developing leaders and starting more churches that desire to do the same.
We desire to be a church that is unified in its mission and diversified in its make up. In the same way that our bodies are made up of many parts working together and each part plays its part for a greater goal, the church is most effective and healthy when the people who make it up are active and work together, using their individual God-given gifts, experience, energy, time and passions, as part of the larger mission and life Jesus calls His church to be.