Taking one Step Closer to Neighbours

Taking one step closer to our neighbours every day means pursuing a relationship with people inside and outside the church.

First of all, God calls us to love His Church and to love one another. He asks us to love those we can see in a way that reflects our love for the One we cannot see, and that love will cover over a multitude of sins as we journey together as a church. Like in any relationship, our relationship with the church ebbs and flows. The church is a collective of people who represent Jesus in a local community and are centered around distinctive beliefs and ways of living arising from those beliefs. At times even church neighbours may hurt us, because people hurt people, knowingly and unknowingly, as broken people in need of a Saviour. You will not find a perfect church no matter how hard you search, because the moment you or I show up, the brokenness of our own humanity contributes to our collective brokenness and our need for Jesus. But you and I can each find a church we want to commit to and grow our faith with, agreeing to get on board with the vision that the local church expresses, engaging in the community and learning to practise mutual submission.

Secondly, Jesus calls us to love those that are far from Him, maybe different from us, and ultimately are created in His image in the same way that we are. In some of the last recorded words of Jesus, He instructs His followers to go and take the Gospel into the whole world. He says, when “The Holy Spirit comes on you; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” (Acts 1:8). Jesus’ teachings that the Holy Spirit dwells in those who place their faith in Him is foundational to understanding that as Christians we are a sent people with a mission. We are a people called to engage the world around us with the love and forgiveness Christ offered; because His presence is with us (John 20:21–23). When Jesus told His disciples to go out from Jerusalem, to Judea, Samaria and then to the ends of the world; these locations were purposeful. Jerusalem was the Holy City for Jewish people, the central place where God’s presence dwelt in the temple. It was the obvious place for their influence to begin. Going to Judea was the area nearby, not a holy space, but a space where everyday life occurred. For many of the apostles and disciples it was where their friends and family lived. Therefore this meant sharing the Gospel with those they loved and cared for most. Samaria was an even harder area to go to because it was fraught with racial tensions. Offering grace and love to Samaritans wasn’t easy for the apostles and disciples. But through Jesus, Gentiles (non-Jews) were invited to become equal citizens in God’s Kingdom alongside Jewish brothers and sisters (Jn.3:16; Rom.2:17–29; 4:9–18,9:6;10:11–13; Gal.6:16; Eph.2:11–22; 1Pet.2:9–10), and that is our call as well to invite all people to be a part of the family of faith. As “king of the Jews” Jesus invited His own people to give up their claims to exclusivity and to join Him in ushering in the universal sister/brotherhood of faith; inviting every nation and tongue into faith. Finally, His people would share their faith ‘to the ends of the earth’ as He’d always desired for hem to do.

Here are the 7 characteristics we would love to see developed in your relationship with your neighbours inside and outside the church during your years at Neighbour’s Church.

Here are the 7 characteristics we would love to see developed in your relationship with Jesus as you walk the journey with Him.

Committed to the Church

1 Timothy 6:3-10; Acts 15:1-33; 2 Timothy 4:1-8; Luke 24:44-49; 1 Corinthians 1:10–17 & 3:1-23 & 12; Hebrews 10:24–27 & 13:7–21

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Increase their levels of commitment at the Church from: attender, to regular, to church family, to member
  • Mature in their understanding of what it means to participate in the ordinances of communion and water baptism, inviting others to join them at the Lord’s Table and be baptized;
  • Speak highly of both the local and broader Church recognizing the Church as Christ’s bride;
  • Encourage people to come to Neighbours Church while also celebrating the diversity of churches in our city and looking for the best church-fit for individuals;
  • Sacrificially engage in the life and ministry of Neighbours Church, regularly participating in:
    · Worship services on Sundays
    · Small Groups (Alpha, Advance Groups, Topical Small Groups, Sermon Small Groups, etc.)
    · Acts of service, including family chores within the church, along with the use of spiritual gifts
    · Partner with one of Neighbours Church’s partner organization through local or global missions
    · Increase in their understanding of the ACOP statement of faith, and what it means to be shaped theologically by the fellowship of churches we are a part of
  • Study the ACOP Statement of Faith and understand how someone would live out of these convictions. Understanding the statement of faith can be a personal discipleship tool in living out the unique convictions of our shared fellowship of churches as a witness of the gospel of Christ as we understand it collectively.

Engaged in Deep Christian Community

John 17; Exodus 16; Acts 2:42–47; Colossians 3:12–17; Ephesians 4:1–16 & 5:21–33; Matthew 18:15–20; Romans 12:9–21 & 13:1–7; Philippians 2:1–11; Colossians 3:22-25

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Participate in a Small Group or Service Team, where they can know others and be known by others; doing life together and learning more about what it means to be a disciple
  • Understand that participation in a Small Group and/or a Service Team is key to integration at Church and to a personal discipleship journey;
  • Take responsibility for the people in their group and their group-member relationships, in loving and caring ways, outside of the group’s meeting times, through phone calls, general life involvement and by providing help when needed;
  • Practise hospitality within the church and invite others into their community.
  • Be teachable, living in submission to one another and to the leadership of the church;
  • Live in accountable relationships; being vulnerable with a select few who will challenge them to go further with Christ by inviting them to know what is really going on in their life and speak into it;
  • Commit to work on relationships with others in order to set a positive Christian example and witness—at home, the workplace/school and ministry context—living in peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and love;
  • Engage with an appropriate call to leadership and/or service and recognize and encourage giftedness in others.

Embracing Equality

Revelation 7:9-10; John 17:20-23; Acts 11:19-26; Ephesians 2:12-14; 3:2-13; Luke 9:51-56; Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 16:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 14:7-14

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Live out the conviction and reality that all people are created equal in God’s image – rich or poor, male or female, all ethnicities
  • Actively educate themselves on different cultures and understands how to walk beside people as partners in the gospel
  • Grow in their understanding of issues of racial reconciliation and injustice;
  • Lay down preference for the sake of the church looking like the Kingdom of God;
  • Invite people of differing cultures to participate in every area of their lives, with a deep respect for what we can learn from each other, aware that experience is essential to a full understanding of God, His Kingdom and purposes.
  • Actively educate themselves on privilege and the oppression of others;
  • Actively work to use any privilege to elevate the position of others;
  • Actively pursue dignity and honour to those living with limited financial means.

Witnessing to who Jesus is

Mark 16:14–20; Acts 9:1–20; Romans 1:16–20 3:23, 5:8, 10:9–10; 10:14–21; 1 Peter 3:13–22

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Live in the fullness of grace and truth, boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus unapologetically, in a way that is personally vulnerable and which expresses radical grace and acceptance to others without being tolerant of sin;
  • Encourage others on their spiritual journey in word and deed and deeply care, as Jesus does, for every person to come into a loving relationship with God;
  • Actively extend God’s grace to others, having first experienced it themselves in a deeply personal way;
  • Walk in humility, by abstaining from a posture of having all the answers, but actively engaging people in the journey of discovering a relationship with God;
  • Care for themselves and others holistically: physically, financially, relationally, emotionally and spiritually, recognizing that God wants to transform entire lives:
  • Commit to mentoring/discipling someone else in the Christian faith, sharing personal knowledge and experience
  • Share the story of God in their lives and how they are being transformed by reading the Bible, applying the scripture they memorize;
  • Make spiritual conversations at least as much a part of life as talking about their kids, their hobbies or their work;

Seeing All of Life as Mission

Matthew 25:31–46; Luke 14:7–14; Acts 15; Hebrews 13:1–3; 1 Peter 4:8–11; 1 Corinthians 10:23–33; Colossians 3;22-25

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Intentionally help people to feel welcome on Sunday mornings at church, including newcomers, strangers and those who are difficult for them to relate to;
  • Helps people at church to belong, then believe and then become, rather than the other way around. They invite people into their homes for a meal, providing services or help when needed and graciously accept hospitality from others;
  • Contribute to our church’s positive presence and reputation in the community and what would make our community/neighbours miss Neighbours Church if we weren’t here
  • Understands the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives, allowing the Holy Spirit to conform them to the image of Jesus; and others can name this fruit in their life;
  • Take advantage of social events outside the church as an opportunity to connect friends from the community, with friends in the church and intentionally makes these connections.
  • See the places they live, work, and play as an opportunity to make a transformative, redemptive impact; recognizing God has placed their colleagues, fellow students and neighbours as purposeful relationships in their life

Actively Takes Risk for the Sake of the Kingdom

Numbers 13:1 through 14:38; Jeremiah 1; Daniel 3; Acts 17; Hebrews 11

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Place their trust in Jesus and actively take risks for the sake of His Kingdom, resulting in actions which may conflict with culture
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to impassion their hearts about issues in our world and respond by helping at least one person in the way they would like to help everyone;
  • Engage in social justice issues outside of the church and actively care for the marginalized in society: the refugee, the orphan, the poor, the widow, etc.
  • Walk with people who are different from them in cross-cultural experience, socio-economic or ethnic, locally and/or globally, which has helped recognize, identify and address personal prejudice
  • Respect the differences between groups of people and intentionally engage people who are not like them, working towards reconciliation in Jesus;
  • Respond by caring, praying and engaging in practical ways whenever they see someone being treated unfairly;
  • Act as a peacemaker, actively helping people and people groups to reconcile with one another, and with God, for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom.

Having a Heart for Global Missions

Matthew 5:14–16; Isaiah 42:6; Matthew 28:19–20; John 3:16–21; Acts 1:1–9; 2:1–11

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • experience personal transformation through a short-term or long-term mission trip, and/or actively support missionaries and the global Church
  • Embrace ethnic diversity, understanding Christ’s passion for all nations and ethnicities to come to Him through the Gospel, as participants in one Kingdom
  • Recognize the need for the Christian community to deal with cultural pride and racial prejudice as a barrier in global Kingdom advancement
  • Take seriously the responsibility for Christians in Canada to care for other nations, given our relative abundance of resources
  • Consistently pray for other nations and people groups around the world, understanding that all disciples of Jesus are part of a global family of Christians, beyond the walls of the local church.