FORWARD LOOKING CULTURE
From the beginning of his public ministry to his death on the cross, Jesus had about three years to go about his work of preaching the gospel of the kingdom in every village of Israel, healng the sick as he went.
There was a time early in this ministry where things had gone very well in Capernaum – a crowd had gathered, people were responding to the message, many were healed, and lots of other people were beginning to flock to that place to see Jesus for themselves. At this point, Peter made the obvious suggestion that they stay there for a while and make the most of what was happening, but Jesus had a much bigger mission in mind and he declined the opportunity, saying, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
Even at this early stage, Jesus was motivated by the next thing, and as his ministry progressed he sent out first the twelve and then the seventy-two to the various villages in order to spread his reach and get the message to more places. Following his resurrection, Jesus then gave the disciples a similar mission, but with a greatly expanded scope – they were to be his witnesses, first in Jerusalem, then in all Judea and Samaria and then to the very ends of the earth.
The book of Acts charts the progress of this mission, and we see the word spread from Jerusalem outwards throughout the Mediterranean, as new disciples are made and new churches started all around the Mediterranean. Built into the very fabric of these churches was a concern that looked beyond their own issues and needs to the advance of the kingdom and what God was doing next.
Forward Looking Culture at CCM
At CCM, we love thinking about the future and what God might want to do with us next.
This means that we tend to pray big. When we gather to pray, we want to bring our big dreams to our big God and see what he does with them. We believe that he can do way more than all that we hope and dream, and when we pray together it is an inspiring, faith-filled time (we have even seen new churches started in prayer meetings!)
It also means that we are eager to reach new people. One of the most forward looking churches in Acts was the church in Antioch, and this was the first church to start reaching out to the Greek-speakers in their community. Similarly, we want to reach out to more and more groups of people, and this is what motivates us as we start new sites, and also as we support new churches being planted in major cities across Europe.
Being forward looking means that we are entrepreneurs. Often when we start new sites, we do so out of nothing – just a couple of people in a new area that start to pray and gather a few more and go from there. We like getting new things started, and this includes new sites and churches, but also charities, new programs and initiatives, and the church includes lots of people involved in business start-ups.
We are also culture creators. CCM is a church full of artists, and we love expressing our God-given creativity through music, photography, writing, videos and through other artistic expression. Being in a city like Manchester means we have a great opportunity to participate in the artistic life of our community and help to shape the culture through our art.
To be forward looking involves embracing new technology. In the days of Acts, this meant utilising the roads of the Roman Empire, and at the time of the Reformation it was the printing press. For us, we want to stay at the forefront of how we can use digital innovation to advance the cause of Christ (for example, why not take a look at this online church planting training hub that we set up).
In addition, being forward looking means that there is always space for new leaders to emerge. We are always starting new things, and a big part of this is developing people. We don’t believe that people need years of training before they are ready to lead, and have found that people with a teachable spirit and a bit of potential tend to do great when they get the opportunity – and at Christ Church Manchester, the opportunities are plentiful!