We’re a diverse group of misfit, weirdos standing at an open door smiling wider than our faces, ready to shake your hand like you’re the queen of England strolling in off the red carpet. We’re people who weren’t invited to the party, but stumbled in anyway. The ones that got left behind. We’re the ones that keep pulling up chairs to the table, making room, expanding the banquet. We don’t check for invitations at the door, we just usher you in out of the cold and plunk a bowl of steaming soup in front of you and say there’s more, there’s plenty more where that’s from. I’m committed to keeping church that way. Keeping it different. Keeping the chairs ready, adding extensions to the table.
There is a group of people that have met every other week for the last 15 months to create a church where you can belong before you believe. I’m a dutiful member of this group alongside my husband. We have all been washed up on the same shore of faith after shipwrecking from different church storms. My husband and I look around at this group of people, and as we get to know them we keep saying to each other, “Oh, you too?”
There are a lot of churches in our community, we didn’t want to create just another church. We want to create a different kind of church. A church where people are allowed to be nice to each other. Where people who don’t speak Christian jargon can come and understand the preacher. A church where once a month people are dunked in a tank of water at the front of the room and we all cheer. Where we gather around tables and drink juice from tiny cups and pass crackers around to all eat at the same time. A church where we don’t throw a few quarters in a velvet burgundy bag on a stick or a gold plate as it’s handed down a row. A church where you can come, sit, learn, and belong without believing what we believe. A church where we welcome questions and questioners. A church that doesn’t answer fact based questions with faith based answers. A church where Jesus meets us right where we are, right where we belong. We try new things, and we fail things.
We open our arms and homes and hearts and we all are learning together how to walk with God, how to walk in love and how to empower the next generation.
We have this vision; to be a catalyst for spiritual and social changemakers in Christ. Because Christians are spiritual and social changemakers just by being Christian. It’s just who we are. We are committed to leading people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus. Because Jesus is the only way. We have these values:
We believe It’s all about Jesus: In boldness and humility, everything we do and say must point to Jesus. We are nothing more than “joyful beggars showing other beggars where we found food.”
We believe in Radical Love: Everyone needs to be loved and shown love… Everyone. If we don’t love, nothing else matters.
We believe in Grace and Truth: We are to be full of both grace and truth. In the same breath that Jesus frees us from condemnation, He calls us to “leave our life of sin” and follow Him.
We believe we are called to Irrational Generosity: We will maximize our resources for Jesus. May we not leave this life knowing we could have given more, done more, risked more to reach those far from God.
We know The Church Has Left The Building: The church is not a building or an institution. It’s a movement. We don’t exist for ourselves. We exist for others.
We are Authentic Community: We were not designed to do life alone. We do life together and we work to lead everyone into transparent, life-giving, life-transforming community.
We have Incredible Joy: No one should have more joy and laughter than people who have been given new hope and new life!
These values came from who we were – no copy and paste from anywhere but our lives. Out of our hearts and the work that God has done and the work that he is doing in us. Since we began at the beginning of the year 2017, we have grown in depth, in numbers, in relationships, in Christ. Church for us is different than what you’re used to. It’s a little uncomfortable as God calls us to step out, so that others can step in. But by his grace, his kingdom is expanding, his table is longer; we are New Life Wichita – and we just keep adding more chairs to the table.