By Pastor Ray Viola
The vision statement of Koinonia Fellowship is on the back of our monthly church magazine. Since the very inception of this church in December of 1984, this statement has been the biblical, driving motivation for why Koinonia exists as a local church. To know Christ. To grow in Christ. To proclaim Christ. To glorify Christ.
I am spending this entire month sharing this statement with you because it has been the deep conviction of my colleagues in ministry and myself that this vision statement is something that needs to be presented to you and embraced by each and every one of you who call Koinonia Fellowship your church family. We will take each one of these vision statements individually, with the goal of inspiring you to use your God-given gifts both inside and outside of these church walls for the glory of God.
I lay no claim to originality in this vision statement. I believe wholeheartedly that this vision statement is Scripture-based, God-centered, Christ-exalting, and led by The Holy Ghost. This vision statement is not meant for a select few; it is directed towards each and every one of you who call Koinonia your church home. Each one of you is important to Jesus and important to us as well. Just as you depend on every part of your body to do its job, we depend on each and every one of you to step up and step into your God-given role.
At times, these four statements may overlap, and that is because they are woven together within scripture. They are more than "biblical principles" or a set of "how to's". Every statement has a relational aspect on the vertical and horizontal levels. They are both personal and interactive. They will invade our personal "comfort and convenience zones" for the simple reason that there is no way to comfortably or conveniently die to self to live for the glory of God. Each one of these statements are verbs. They require action, discipline and devotion, first of all to Jesus Christ, and secondly, to one another. We are to be engaged in these things in season and out of season. When we feel like it, and when we do not feel like it. When the conditions are favorable or not so favorable. No retreat. No excuses. No regrets.
This isn't about building Koinonia. This is about being Christ-like disciples for the glory of God. This is about harvesting souls with the gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God. This is about being a Word-based, God-centered, Christ-exalting, gospel-preaching, disciple-making church for the glory of God. For it is only when we say, “for me to live is Christ”, that we can then say, “and to die is gain”.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Knowing Christ is the foundation of our faith. Jesus Christ is The Solid Rock of our salvation. At the final judgment, the basis of who spends eternity with Christ is by whether or not you know Him.
Salvation is a free gift from God and is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works lest any man should boast. It is through this work of God in our hearts that we are brought to the knowledge of God. Knowing God is much different than knowing about God.
Jeremiah 9:23,24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD.
By Pastor Ben Hiwale
It's not "the culture," as we often hear, that poses the most significant challenge for the church today. It's the culture of the church. We have reduced the Gospel to an abstract message of salvation that can be believed without having any necessary consequences for how we live. In contrast, the redemption announced in the Bible is clearly understood as restoring human thriving in creation.
Redemption is not just a restoration of our status before God through the life and work of Jesus Christ, but a restoration of our relationship with God as well. And our relationship with God is expressed in how we live. Salvation is about God's restoring our whole life, not just one invisible aspect of our being (our soul), but our life as lived out in the world in ways that are in keeping with how God made us. The goal of salvation is blessedness for us as human beings. In other words, we are saved so that our way of life can be fully in keeping with God's ordering of reality.
There is no question, we have been influenced too much by the broader culture. The dominant role of technology in our lives promotes the deep assumption that we can fix anything. The way we allow proliferating mechanisms of convenience erodes the virtues of patience and longsuffering. The way in which we allow the elimination of standards of public propriety and manners undermines assumptions about the legitimacy of authority and deference to the communal needs; and the way in which the high prestige accorded to entertainers creates the conviction that every valuable experience should be entertaining. This is just scratching the surface.
How can the Church be relevant to the way of life of its neighbors? True seekers are looking for something different, radically different. If people are just looking for a religious band-aid or spiritual Prozac, they are not seeking the redemption promised in the Gospel, which calls them to die to self and live (really live) to Christ. If I were drowning, the most relevant reality I could long for would be someone who was a really good swimmer. If my house were on fire, I would want a man with a hose, not a lighter. If my life were plunged into darkness, light would be the most relevant thing imaginable.Read more...