What it means for the Church to be present
1. Christ-Centered Partnership
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21).
Our Savior prayed for unity among those who believe in Him and between His followers and God. When people from different backgrounds and traditions follow Jesus Christ together, the world will see Truth.
God wants us to work together to nurture churches for every diaspora people group in Chicagoland.
2. Persistent Prayer
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16-18).
Praying to the Living God is an act of humility and of faith. We acknowledge our own inadequacy and failings as well as the Lord’s power, goodness and grace. When we pray for individuals and communities to be healed and changed, we invite God to do what we cannot do by ourselves.
3. Kingdom Transformation
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
When Jesus came, He brought the reign of God’s kingdom. Jesus unveiled the Scriptures and taught with authority. His wisdom challenged misguided assumptions. Jesus healed the sick, the blind, the lame, and those tormented by evil spirits. He gathered outcasts and he dined with influential leaders. He confronted hypocrisy and injustice. Jesus brought salvation so that people might be rescued from the kingdom of darkness.
When the Kingdom of heaven comes, it disarms and dismantles that which is wrong and evil. The Kingdom of Christ brings physical, emotional, spiritual and systemic changes so that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.
4. Church Planting
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:19-20).
The Lord has promised to be among us when we gather in His name. Together, through our fellowship with each other and our collective turning toward God, we display more of His glory and character.
As the presence of the Lord brings freedom, healing, joy and truth, it is our hope that Christ-followers will gather in His name in every diaspora-filled neighborhood in the Chicago metro area. As our Savior draws more people to Himself, we also hope that each diaspora people group in Chicagoland will be able to express their corporate love of God in their heart language and unique style.
5. Disciple Making
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples or all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).
In order to obey Christ, we must make disciples – people who will follow Jesus’s commands and move when the Spirit moves. It is not enough for individuals to accept the gift of salvation or for a community to have their felt needs met, as wonderful as those things are. We must help people imitate Christ.
6. Contextual Strategies
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory” (John 1:14a).
With the incarnation of Jesus, God became a human at a specific time and place in history. Jesus was born a Jew in Bethlehem, took refuge in Egypt, grew up in Nazareth, and spoke Aramaic. When He began His ministry, people understood Jesus to be a rabbi from Galilee. Jesus was not viewed as an outsider but as someone who belonged among them.
Today, the Body of Jesus is the Church. If we are to imitate Christ, we must also strive to “dwell among” people in such a way that Jesus can be understood as someone who belongs among them. In order to see church planting movements among people groups, we must identify and work through linguistic and cultural barriers to Christ in order to comprehensively address spiritual ones. Then, as more peoples turn to Jesus, we will see more of the many-faceted glory of the Word.