Values are important to an individual or a group – they describe what we are strongly committed to.
Values can be mysterious, undefined, and hard to get hold of, but none-the-less, they exist in any group or organisation. We often discover them when we cross the values of a community, and see the reaction of the others to our “misdemeanour”.
Values are important to an individual or a group – they describe what we are strongly committed to. It has sometimes been described as “the way we do things around here”!
These values hold us together, as we engage with God’s mission.
We have 2 groups of seven values, the first a list of things that we are committed to as a community, and the second are qualities or the “way we want to do things” as we engage in our mission:
|We are committed to:
||In everything we do, we value being:
More on Values
Journey is a much used metaphor, but none-the-less a useful one. Our relationship with God is not static, but He calls us to walk with him, to journey with Him through the ups and downs of life, through different seasons and terrains.
Our dream is to help people on this journey, whatever point they find themselves right now, Christian or not. While God does call us to have significance, a contribution to the world in which we life, we seek first people’s wholeness, to help them move towards God, and to grow in dependence on Him. People are more important to God than what they do for Him, and we seek to have that mindset with all members of our community.
At Community Church we’re learning that worship is an attitude within that flows out into everything we do. Our expressions of worship are all unique because God made us all to be unique.
We’re convinced everyone has something to contribute, they just need the space and encouragement to step out in confidence. From serving school dinners to business marketing, singing choruses to cleaning sewers, if it’s in you and you pour it out for God, it’s worship.
Our relationship with God is the most important of all. We’re learning how to help folk connect with their Father in a way that’s meaningful to them. The weekend meetings at Community Church are a safe place for people to express their love freely and creatively, in their own way. Above all, we’re learning to let God teach us how to worship Him.
Our informal style may seem very new, but in fact it is very old and middle eastern! It’s the same as the very first churches (see the New Testament), two thousand years ago. There are hundreds of thousands of similar Christian groups like ours meeting in churches, community halls and homes all over the world today. It reflects a general growing trend to get back to basics and drop everything that prevents us from connecting more meaningfully with God!
Community is at the heart of Community Church Edinburgh. We’re learning that only in relationship can we discover our true identity, and that relationships are also the means by which we can know the abundance of life the Father has promised us.
Society is increasingly breaking into different tribes, forming groups around common identity; we are seeking to be a community that expresses the reconciling love of God, where our ‘tribal’ differences are secondary to our common commitment to Christ. So we are seeking to be a community of men and women, young and old, students, working, unemployed, full time parents, different nations etc.
To facilitate this connection, we meet mid-week in small groups defined by close friendships, mutual care and an outward focus, coming together at the weekend to celebrate and share in a bigger context.
We are also in community with others beyond our own congregation, with our relationships with those outside the church and other Christian groups in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond.
We live in an “in between” world. Jesus has come and inaugurated a new era, a new world order, that the Bible calls the Kingdom of Heaven (or God). And yet, we are still to see heaven come to earth in all its fullness. We continue to pray: “let you will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
Jesus has shown us how to live in this “in between” world, the perfect human being. He is our model and inspiration, and we seek to become fully human as He is human. Sin (or our selfishness) diminishes us, making us less human. Jesus comes, by His Spirit, to restore our humanity and dignity.
We seek to co-operate with this restoring work of the Spirit, helping people through life’s’ experiences, engagement with spiritual disciplines and practices (such as prayer and using the Scriptures), Bible teaching & instruction, and participation with community life. We believe that these are all essential to promote spiritual growth.
We’re learning to be less concerned about Community Church being a place where the members work to fulfil the vision of the church than a place where the members create the vision of the church by realising their own God given vision.
The leaders (the Leadership and Staff Team) are committed to releasing the members into all that God has for them. As one member’s vision matures and sees fruit, so the vision of the whole church changes. In this way we hope to be a church that day by day moves into its full potential in Christ.
Being a Resource
We are committed to the wider church in Scotland and beyond. We recognise that city churches are often stuffed full of talented people, and while acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers, we do want to offer what we can.
We recognise that often we receive more when we give, but that is not our motivation. So we send teams and leaders to churches in Scotland and overseas, to help with worship, to teach, to share stories, and help with mission. We tend to do this where we are friends with people, so investing in other communities over a number of years.
We also, from time to time, host and run courses and training events, in our church building (The King’s Hall), seeking to serve the body of Christ.
Grace is a central concept to Jesus’ life (He was the embodiment of Grace) and the early church, notably the Apostle Paul. However, for many people, it still remains an obscure concept.
Perhaps the best simple definition of grace was penned by Christian author, Philip Yancey:
“There is nothing you can do to make God love you more.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.”
Churches haven’t often been known for their unconditional love and acceptance of people, but that is our aspiration. This doesn’t mean that sometimes there isn’t a challenge to change, but we hope that is always done in such a way that leaves choice and makes it clear that the person is loved whatever! So we try our best not to manipulate people, use guilt-trips, or be legalistic in all we do. We know that people change when they are deeply loved and valued and feel they have real choice about their actions.
God is incredibly creative … we only have to look around outside to see that: different people, animals, birds, insects, scenery, stars etc all speak of a creator and creative God. We believe that all human beings are made in His image, and are creative. That doesn’t mean we all can paint well or play the piano brilliantly, but it does mean that we can tap into a creativity in us in a variety of different ways.
We love to see people expressing their creativity in worship of God (writing, with dance and movement, music, images, or words) or engaging with the Scriptures, or being friends with people, or mission or…
God is constantly on the move and we look to find fresh creative ways of expressing old truths.
God dwells among His people by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is essential to the vibrancy and effectiveness of a church. He brings life, transformation, vision, and the heart and mind of God to us.
We are seeking to be a community of the Spirit, allowing God to speak to us and through us. This may be on a Sunday as we seek to allow the Spirit to communicate to us through images, words, music or preaching but our understanding of being prophetic is much broader than this.
In our culture of individualism and self centred-ness, we want to be a community that speaks of a different way, marching to a different drum, be that in our love and forgiveness we express to each other, in the way we speak up for those who are marginalised or as we seek to follow Jesus in a consumer mad world.
We believe that in all things, the way of Jesus is a better way and we want to speak of this way by our actions and our words. In this we are being prophetic.
People are different. When Jesus prayed that we would be one, he didn’t mean that we all be the same, think the same, agree with one another, or do the same things. We believe He was wanting his church to be together in the midst of our diversity.
We are learning to appreciate and celebrate the differences in people, in their passions, approaches, understanding of God, learning styles, maturity, perspectives and opinions. These differences keep us all learning and growing as we have our opinions and perspectives shaped and challenged by others. It isn’t the easy route, but we think it is the Jesus route, and brings a richness to our shared life together.
For example, we can all agree that we want to connect more deeply with God. Some find that soaking prayer or prayer ministry helps them to go deeper, others find worship, or silence, or retreats and contemplative prayer, others use liturgy or set prayers. All these kinds of people are part of Community Church and bring a depth and variety to the spiritual life in our community (of course, not without tensions on days!).