When we look around at many churches there is the common misunderstanding that people need to Behave in order to Believe and then Belong to that church.
At The Gathering we believe the opposite, people can Belong (anyone in any state!), we can help them Believe (introduce them to Jesus) and the Holy Spirit can help them Become / behave (conviction of sin and changing of behaviour is a work of the Holy Spirit and not the pastor or his wife).
We want people to feel a sense of belonging amongst us regardless of how they behave or look.
Jesus didn’t tell us what church should be like but we're convinced that the church in Acts 2 & 4 stand as models of mature churches.
Acts 2:41-47 & Acts 4:31-35
We long to see church like this and want The Gathering to become like this.
What is vision and why do we need it?
We took these statements from a management manual:
A vision statement should be a one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from an organisation or programme’s work.
This is different to a Mission statement which is a one-sentence statement describing the reason an organisation or programme exists and used to help guide decisions about priorities, actions, and responsibilities.
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish”
Put quite simply, without vision we will die. Not physically but spiritually. Church needs a vision.
We believe that any church vision has to be set within the context of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, after all, making disciples was the last thing Jesus commanded his disciples to do.
So we have the context for our vision but how do we actually cast vision?
Vision needs to be prophetically cast, it’s not just plucked out of the air and thought of as being a good idea. Vision isn’t static, it’s dynamic and alive, born out of the prophetic and ready to be changed and re-envisioned by the prophetic.
At The Gathering our vision fits with our name and is also in line with some major prophetic words spoken over us about being a bridge between communities, about moving to the outskirts of Macassar and our vision has an international quality about it.
So What is our vision?
Quite simply it is:
To be a church that builds bridges between communities to see God’s kingdom extended and his name glorified, in South Africa and beyond.
To be a place where people of all cultures and races can gather to glorify God’s name and to worship in unity in the Holy Spirit.
As pastors we hold dear to this vision and believe it is a clear word from God. As such we need to be an outward looking church that stands in line with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...”.
We hope that you will own it too.
As a church we are looking to God to help us fulfil this vision and His mission. This means that we rely on His power and love to effect lasting change.
Our hope is that people encounter Jesus and through the Holy Spirit discover their significance and purpose as God’s children, as well as receive healing from emotional and physical hurt.
When we first got involved in overseas mission in '98 we naively felt that we were called to Tanzania, so after a year we were a little dazed and confused to find ourselves in a guesthouse in Nairobi waiting for a taxi to take us to the airport to return to Blighty. Whilst at the guest house we had a divine appointment with an elderly couple who spoke clearly into our lives regarding mission. We'll never forget her no-nonsense approach in telling us "You were never called to Tanzania or that project, you were called to serve God and he will place you where he wants you". This had a radical impact on us and was one of the key motivators when we were considering joining a UK mission agency. Whichever one we joined had to work with the local church (no neo-colonialism) and we would allow them to guide us to the right placement.
Today we're utterly convinced that our Lord calls us to serve him where we are with the gifts and skills he's given us and this has shaped our ministry ever since.