Public Church has a unique vision:
Develop a public church that invites people to embrace the journey of following Jesus.
I am very passionate about vision because a compelling vision allows us to find our place in the Jesus movement and complement others instead of duplicating what is already being done. What is the point of our vision?
Let’s start with the first phrase “develop a public church”. A Public Church blurs the lines between what happens on and off our campus. In my opinion, this is a huge need in Cleveland, Tennessee where church is often a place and time on Sunday morning. Our culture has drawn lines around a time and place and assigned it the name, church, which is a misrepresentation of the Biblical idea of church.
When we study the Bible, we see that church is never a place and time; instead, church is a gathering of Jesus followers. In fact, the church is referred to as the body of Christ, the very hands and feet of Jesus on earth, so how could a building be a body? How could a certain time represent hands and feet? It simply cannot. Therefore, part of our motivation is blurring the lines to show that following Jesus cannot be limited to a place and time but should permeate every area of our lives and every situation we enter. When we let Jesus impact our every moment, then we act as Jesus would act if he were physically here. In so doing, we are his hands and feet. Rather than going to church, we should be the church, be the body of Christ on earth.
Our God-given vision allows us to take our place in the Jesus movement by serving as a constant reminder that following Jesus and being the church is an everyday, every moment lifestyle.
This brings us to the rest of the vision “invite people to embrace the journey of following Jesus.” People will see us making Jesus our pattern by how we interact with our bosses, how we serve and do tasks that no one else wants to do, how we maintain our integrity even when we think no one is watching, and how we approach our school or work with excellence. As they observe Jesus impacting our every moment, they will also witness our failures. What happens next is something they will not expect. When we fail, we will own our mistakes rather than blaming others or acting like it did not happen. They may not understand our actions, but they will be intrigued. Over time, they will realize that we are the same on Sunday at 9:30am or 11:30am or 5:30pm as we are on Monday at 1:00pm or even Friday at 10:00pm. In other words, there are no lines in our lives that keep Jesus out of certain areas or times. Hopefully, they will ask questions and want to know why we are the way we are. If they silently observe, then it’s our task to initiate the conversation by talking to them about what Jesus is teaching us, how we are learning from our failures, and why we think Jesus is the best way for life on earth and life after earth. As this unfolds, we are inviting people to embrace the journey of following Jesus with our actions and our words.
If you have ever wondering what it means to be a public church or why that is our name, this is why. I encourage you to take just a moment and dream with me. Imagine if all the current Jesus followers in your city lived out this vision. I know that seems far-fetched, but let your mind wander.
Would your city not be better? Would our factories, schools, hospitals, and all the places people work not be better? Would our homes not be better? I mean think about our marriages, relationships with our kids – would these not improve? Would the impact not bleed over into other cities and places around the world?
Most importantly, can you see the name of Jesus lifted up to its proper place as the name above all names? As people see and experience his love and hope, he would get the recognition and worship that he deserves.
I hope you see that our vision is needed and worth the sacrifices it takes to bring it to life. Whether or not you are part of the Public Church family, would you join us in making our vision a reality? I hope you will, and I look forward to seeing the world improve and Jesus lifted up as a result.