Wednesday, 8 July 2009

TOAM: Main Session 5: Terry Virgo

Terry started off showing a map of the UK with where there are newfrontiers churches and then a map of the world with countries marked where there are newfrontiers Churches.

Man made in the image of a truine God can only really see fulfillment in community, because God is community in His very being. We do not grow into spiritual maturity alone, it happens in community.

Paul had major revelation of the Church, when encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus. "I am Jesus who you are persecuting". Jesus himself identifies himself with the Church to this former pharisee.

Paul shows his heart for the Church as he writes to the Church in Philippi. Chapter one, verse one: "1Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!"
  • My brothers
  • You whom I love
  • You whom I long for
  • My joy
  • My crown
  • Dear friends!
Do we love our Church? Do we really love them? Do we really yearn for them? Do we believe for them, for a Church that is glorious?

  • We need to preach it
  • We need to live it
  • We need to model it
  • We need to give ourselves it
  • Grace was one of Paul's biggest battles to contend for within the Church: still is today
  • Much of the Christian life only makes sense within the Church community
  • Much of the Christian walk can be worked out within the Church community
  • We were not designed to be in a vacuum
  • Moves away from a consumerist view of Church
  • Community values the little things: the small groups, the relationships, serving in teams, being together
  • God wants people full of Him, not full of themselves
  • We find our place of serving
  • Sanctification can happen in community: people who know you, who can highlight issues for you, who can care for you
I must say that by this point my mind started to wonder a bit. From this good foundation I could not quite connect the content with the title of the talk, and I could not really follow the content clearly.

It is not like I disagreed with the content: I am just not sure what the real focus was or who it was for. Maybe my view was slightly blighted by the lady near me who was fast asleep! Maybe I am starting to get conference fatigue syndrome?

"Who we are" for me would be better served with a talk based on the list of values that were circulated to Church leaders earlier this year.

Or maybe Mark Driscoll's definition of Church last year could have been thrashed out a bit and applied to our movement?
"1. A regenerated church membership
2. Called and gifted church leadership
3. A regular gathering of believers for the preaching of the Word and Worship
4. A church is a place where the Sacraments are rightly administered.
5. A unity and love which is the evidenced work of the Holy Spirit among His people
6. A place where people experience church discipline in order to walk uprightly
7. A place where people practice the Great Commandment to love one another and our neighbours
8. A place where people actively obey the Great Commission to make disciples"
I would have liked to see those eight made real for newfrontiers with hands on examples, explanations and resources. Chuck in a clear definition of Ephesians 4 ministry, ministry to the poor, reaching the nations and a few other bits and bobs and that would be it nailed, surely?

Anyway: back to the talk. God wants a restored Church, a biblical Church. Nehemiah started rebuilding. Ezra started rebuilding. We are rebuilding. Recovering the blueprint also requires restoring the presence of the Lord, with parrallels to when David restored the Ark.

The Church is a group of people gathering to the manifest presence of God. First they gathered with Jesus, then they gathered in the power of the Spirit.

We finished with the awesome Kate Simmonds hymn "In Him we have believed". This song really does sum up what we are building and why we are building it, so was a great place to finish.

In Him I have believed, on this my hope now rests
That Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!
The all-surpassing joy of knowing Christ my Lord
The former things, I count them all as loss
Called out of darkness into Your goodness
We are Your children, chosen in Christ!
Now in Your family, heirs of the promise
To Your purpose on the earth I give my life

A people born of God, united by Your call
One faith, one Lord, one Father of us all
Joined with bonds of love, and planted in Your house
We worship You with hearts and lives poured out
Let us go on in the power of Your Spirit
Taking Your gospel to all the world!
Declaring Your wisdom, our great commission,
That Jesus Christ has come to save the lost!

Whatever trials may come, in faith, Lord, help us stand
For righteousness and justice in our land
What fear can hold us now?
We run toward the prize
Our lives already crucified with Christ
Through every nation, Your kingdom advances
Who can extinguish this spreading flame?
Through tribulations, we’ll stand on Your promise:
‘I will build My Church and hell will not prevail!’

And on that final day, the citizens of heaven
Called out to be the new Jerusalem
In multitudes will bow before the throne of God:
One nation called from every tribe and tongue
Great celebration! The glorious union:
The Lion of Judah and the pure, spotless Bride!
All of creation waits for this moment
All your promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ!

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