What is the Church meant to be? Here is the vision for Arvada Christian Church. This is what we are working towards and what we want to become.
Arvada Christian Church's Vision
The vision statement is meant to be a compass that provides direction for the Church. At Arvada Christian we believe the Bible is the sole source of authority in matters of faith and practice. For us, determining the vision of the Church isn’t as much invention as it is Bible study. Our vision for the Church should match God’s as He inspired the Apostles to begin and direct the original church as found in the pages of the New Testament. Our vision is to become like that New Testament Church though in a different cultural context.
So, we must ask what was that church’s characteristics? What was it like? If we can discover those characteristics we can work towards that vision of becoming a New Testament church.
“What is the church meant to be?”
Many have tried to answer the question, “What should the Church be?” Is it a social organization for mingling and networking? Is it a social conscience organization that exists to meet the needs of societies’ less fortunate? Is it a support group for people who need a twelve step program to fix their lives? Maybe it is a traditional group that is meant to hold onto the traditions of past generations? There are many of these different types of churches in Arvada. Perhaps you have already visited a few and can identify them.
We believe that only Christ has a right to determine what His Church is to be (Colossians 1:18). He gave his authority to the Apostles who founded the Church and gave them the power of the Holy Spirit to ensure the foundation of the Church would be sure. These same Apostles wrote enough to the Church, and about the Church, in the New Testament, that we can know what God intends the Church to be. The book of Acts is a history of the founding of that Church and history of its spread. As we look at this book and the letters that follow (which give instructions on how that Church should function) we see six main characteristics of this ancient New Testament Church. Here at Arvada Christian this is the ideal we seek to immolate.
Acts 2 tells us what that Church was like. We read in verses 42-47, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” From this picture we can learn quite a lot about the character of the New Testament Church.
They were devoted to STUDY (“the apostles’ teaching”). This is what it means to be a “disciple” of Jesus. “Disciple” literally means a student. At Arvada Christian the Bible is central. It is our textbook. Through the preaching, Sunday School classes, small groups and mentoring program we seek to learn more of what the Bible has to teach us and be students of “the Apostles teaching.”.
The second characteristic of this New Testament Church was SHARING (what is termed “fellowship”). They were sharing in each others lives. They were a family united through their faith in Jesus. They shared each others burdens (Galatians 6:2). They shared meals together (“They broke bread in their homes and ate together...”). They were faithful in meeting together (Hebrews 10:25) as it says, “Every day they continued to meet together.” They shared their lives with each other. At Arvada Christian we seek to be a family and provide opportunities for connectedness.
Thirdly, is the SUPPER that was their common bond (which is what “the breaking of bread” indicates). The Lord’s supper (also known as the “love feast”) was instituted by Jesus on the night he was betrayed (Matthew 26:17-30). This meal was central to their worship time together (this is why Paul gave instruction about this important part of their gathering in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Sunday, the first day of the week, is when the Church gathered as a whole group. We read of one service in Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.” Since we see that when the people came together they “broke bread” (e.g. the Lord’s Supper) we too partake of this supper every time we meet as a group on Sunday mornings. Our communion time is open to all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We do it, as Paul tells us, in remembrance of Jesus sacrifice for us and also to proclaim the Lord’s death (that He died for our sins) until He comes again.
We also see the characteristic of SERVING in the New Testament Church. As it says in Acts 2 they met each others needs. Our great example of this is Jesus himself who did a menial servants job on the night he was betrayed when he took a basin and some water and washed his disciples feet. Then he told his disciples, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15). The washing of feet was arbitrary. Jesus was teaching his disciples the principle of servanthood. God expects all of us to follow Jesus example and serve one another. At Arvada Christian our ministries are in place to give opportunities for us to serve others as Jesus has shown us. We are all gifted differently; we all have different abilities and talents. That is why we have a broad array of ministries through which to serve one another. Regardless of who you are or where you come from there is a place for you to serve at Arvada Christian.
Another characteristic of the New Testament Church is SACRIFICE. Acts 2 says, “They sold property and possessions...” They sacrificed individually for the whole. At Arvada Christian we know that giving of your hard earned money to the Church is not an easy thing. Sacrifice is never easy. But the heart of sacrifice goes beyond money. Paul tells us in Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” God expects us to sacrifice. Not just our money but all of us. When we do this it is a true picture of worship. At Arvada Christian we expect our family to sacrifice for the cause of the gospel of Jesus. You can do that through giving money during our offering and by giving your time and talents to serve.
The last characteristic we see is that the New Testament Church spent time together in SUPPLICATION (a big word that means “prayer” or communion with God). In Acts 2 prayer was one of the things the New Testament church was devoted to. We believe prayer makes a difference. It will make a difference in your life and in the life of this church. Prayer is more than spoken words. It is any communion we have with God. That could mean times of silence, times of singing to God and times of talking to God. Our goal is to help each person at Arvada Christian to connect with the living God.
These six characteristics: study, sharing, supper, serving, sacrifice and supplication are what made the New Testament Church the Church. It is what made them distinct and unique. It is what we strive to become at Arvada Christian. What should the Church be? It should be exactly what God has called it to be. We have the characteristics of what the Church should be in the Bible and therefore we seek to meet them. In doing so we can become the Church God intends us to be. We pray you will consider joining us in becoming all that God has called us to be.