This past Monday a few of us got together to talk about Circle of Hope at my friend Katie’s house. She has a cute little place in Point Breeze with matching cutlery, candles and poundcake, but more so she has the gift of hospitality and the guts to take herself seriously as a Christ follower and leader in the church. She is great and she made the meeting greater than it might have been. But the meeting is pretty great.
Circle of Hope is one of my favorite subjects, and at this meeting I get myself going to articulate that and to eat sweets (that’s why we have to have one as soon as Lent was over). Maybe the two go together well because I always leave the meeting amped up about who we are and what we’re doing.
I shared our vision and mission statement with the newly connected folks who were interested in what made Circle of Hope Circle of Hope.
The Vision: Who we want to be
We are a circle of hope in Jesus Christ
A network of cells forming congregations
A people called to reconciliation
An opportunity to explore and express God’s love
The Mission: What we want to do
We create an environment where people can connect with God and act for redemption
Responding in love to our thirsty region and fractured society
We are birthing a new generation of the church
To resist and restore with those moved by the Holy Spirit
I am convicted again and again that cells are a great way to preach the Gospel. They are not a class for content they are the content. Life in Christ is life in a real body with real bodied people. We are called to reconciliation with God and called to be ministers of reconciliation. The best place for both sorts of reconciliation to occur is in community. Reconciling with God- God’s grace and forgiveness- can easily remain abstract when not experienced in human relationship. To be forgiven and to forgive is the best way for us to know God’s love (See 1 John). Life in a cell is the proving ground for our faith and for our life in love and grace because we don’t just think about them, we use them an depend on them to knit us together and lead us on.
Likewise the mission we feel called to is the best way for us to grow in our faith. Going deep as a Christian is not about becoming an expert in theology or the Bible (though why wouldn’t you do that too) it’s about going far with God- out past our natural abilities and preferences and into difficult territory. I said in the meeting that the best way to grow as a Christian is to make a disciple and teach someone else how to be a Christian with you. That’s what we are called to do and I am encouraged that so many people continue to want to do it with us. 10 people from Circle of Hope Broad and Washington signed up as partners at the Love Feast last week (See 1 Corinthians 11). 7 people were in Katie’s living room. God is good.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;/ Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
…tastes good, like Katie’s pound cake good (ok, even better).