Each June, Living Hope Church celebrates the anniversary of our launch date in 2007. We take time to remember and give thanks to God for all that he has done among us. This year, in the midst of COVID-19 and protests in our cities, everything is different. But God’s holiness, faithfulness, love, and provision remains the same. And so we give thanks.
And we also look ahead and seek God’s grace to fulfill our mission for the years ahead. The mission of Living Hope is to Experience God, Embrace Truth, Establish Community, and Engage the World. At our 10th anniversary, the elders presented ten areas of focus as we seek to live out this mission. Even now in 2020, this is our vision for Living Hope Church.
1- Following Jesus: We are disciples of Jesus who, first and foremost, are following him with all that we have.
Jesus is the beginning, middle, and end of all that we are. We exist because of him…we exist for him. He is our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer. Being a Christian doesn’t mean being part of a club, or showing up at a service once a week, or following a list of moral rules. Being a Christian means turning from your selfish sin, falling in faith on Jesus as your Savior, believing that through his death and resurrection you have forgiveness and new life, and walking with the Holy Spirit toward eternity.
2- Digging Deep: We are children of God digging deep into the Word, prayer, and worship – growing in maturity by the Spirit.
Following Jesus is not a superficial endeavor. We don’t just skim the surface or give him a little bit. We are in the daily pursuit of Christ, growing in maturity by the Spirit, waking in prayer and worship. In a world where preferences and opinions reign, where truth appears to change daily, the Word of God is our foundation. We dig deep in the Word because its truth changes lives.
3- Thriving Families: We are a Christian community where singles are valued and marriages thrive – where husbands and wives love, serve, and enjoy each other.
Marriage is broken in America. Singleness is just seen as an opportunity to indulge in selfish desires. Marriage is in decline as people opt to just live together in a faux-marriage. Marriage has been redefined. Divorce is rampant. People who remain married often trudge along for 30 years in lifeless, joyless, godless marriages. And so, we honor singles who are living out God’s call – either for a season or a lifetime – in selflessness, purity, purpose, and joy. We are proactive to foster healthy, thriving marriages that bring fulfillment, bless our children, shine like a light, and glorify God.
4- Prizing Young People: We are the family of God that prizes young people, pouring life into children, youth, and young adults.
We are grateful to have a lot of families, children, and youth at Living Hope. They are a gift. We will continue to involve children in our worship services and prioritize ministries for children, youth, and young adults that help them grow and flourish in their faith.
5- Maintaining Unity: We are the Body of Christ maintaining unity in the Spirit through humility, gentleness, patience, and love.
Too often, churches are known as places of disharmony, infighting, gossip, hurt, and people that just aren’t nice. But we are the Body of Christ – united together across gender, race, nationality, circumstances, and personality. Jesus said that our love for one another should be a testimony to the world, so we seek unity in the Spirit.
6- Raising up Leaders: We are a church raising up leaders, collaborating together with the gifts and passions God has given us.
What God has done here for the past 13 years, and what he’ll continue to do here, is a team effort. We are grateful for all those God has raised up to serve among us – elders, deacons, staff directors, life group facilitators, children’s ministry leaders, youth workers, and on and on. And as we grow and move forward, the need for more leaders and servants is ongoing. How is the Lord calling you to serve?
7- Pursuing the Lost: We are the rescued ones actively pursuing the lost and sharing the good news of Christ in word and deed.
Apart from Christ, we are all separated from God, stuck in the darkness of our sin, wandering without him. If you have God in your life, it’s because he rescued you. You were lost and he found you. Our vision is not for the church to grow by filling the seats with Christians from other churches. We want to reach the lost. Over the years, I have prayed, “God send us the lost.” God has responded with the call to go! Go out and seek the lost. The Gospel is the only hope to overcome the sin, hurt, and injustice in the world.
8- Investing in the Y: We are followers of Christ investing in the Y, serving to see God’s Kingdom expand in this community.
God knew what he was doing when he planted us in the YMCA 13 years ago. It may not have been our strategic plan, but it certainly was his. Our partnership with the Y has given us a platform to connect with the community, and the current building project will be an amazing new resource for the ministry. We hope to move in our new worship center at the end of the summer which will give us a better quality audio-visual system and more seating capacity.
9- Planting Churches: We are kingdom people committed to planting churches, that Christ might transform lives all over the world.
Our world is broken and lost, but God has not turned his back on his world. Christ came to redeem his people and send us out as his ambassadors. Living Hope is here because another church invested in a young pastor and a core group of brave families stepped out in faith. Through our partnership with Acts 29, we have the opportunity to sow into an entire network of church planting churches. This year we posted online our Church Planting Residency. We are praying for God to connect us with the right young pastor to invest in, train, and sent out with others from Living Hope to begin a new work in a community in need.
10- Reaching Forward: We are a fellowship of believers reaching forward to what God has next, not sitting still or coasting our way into heaven.
God has done so much over the last 13 years, but we can’t be content with the past. Contentment can be dangerous. The desire to be content can easily slip into the desire to be comfortable, which often leads to complacency. We will continue to strive, reaching forward – moving toward what God has for us next.
So, this is our vision for the future. Will you pray with us? Will you join us?