The most important question that we can ask about our church is the question of why we exist. It’s not merely that we need a clear and concise statement of purpose and mission to put on a website; the reason that why is so crucial to our life together is that it summarizes the very reason we’ve decided to be a part of Christ Community Church.
So I’ve spent the past two years noodling around with different answers to the question - and all of them have resonated in some very real ways with those of us already in the church and with men and women who are new to the church and trying to decide whether to be a part of what we do. The most recent answer we’ve had to the why question is that we exist to enjoy God. This is big and robust and deeply theological and I was very happy with it until I came across this paragraph in my friend Jonathan Dodson’s book Gospel-Centered Discipleship:
Fortunately, the gospel is big enough to handle my failures, and Jesus is forgiving enough for my distortions of what it means to follow him. In fact, the gospel of grace is so big and strong that it has reshaped my understanding of discipleship. As I continued to ‘disciple’ and read the Bible, I was struck by the fact that the disciples of Jesus were always attached to other disciples. They lived in authentic community. They confessed their sins and struggles alongside their successes - questioning their Savior and casting out demons. They continually came back to Jesus as their Master and eventually as their Redeemer. As the disciples grew in maturity, they did not grow beyond the need for their Redeemer. They returned to him for forgiveness. As they began to multiply, the communities that they formed did not graduate from the gospel that forgave and saved them. Instead, churches formed around their common need for Jesus.
As I read those words, our why changed. What had been a noble ideal (enjoying God) gave way - in my mind, at least - to the reality of what has brought us together. Instead of building our life on what we hope to become over time, I believe this statement is a reflection of who we actually are…and hopefully will be for a very long time:
Christ Community Church exists because we need Jesus.