Previous | Next

October 1979 · Vol. 8 No. 4 · pp. 19–20 

Reports of Renewal: The Ideals of a New Church

Tim Geddert

“Individual churches gain their own unique character as unique church leaders transmit to them their own particular visions and ideals.” So a well-respected leader in our conference advised this young idealist, fresh out of seminary and on the way to his first church assignment.

My first year “in the ministry” has taught me that the converse is also true. “A church leader is molded as his congregation transmits its visions and ideals to him and so challenges and strengthens his.”

One year later, I am still an idealist. I hope I always am. I believe God is an idealist. As we allow God to communicate His ideal for individuals and churches to us through His Word, His Spirit, and His people, and as we allow Him to move us ever nearer to His ideal, the Kingdom of God is built.

God has seen fit to bring to birth a new Mennonite Brethren church {20} in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, during the past year. We call ourselves Community Christian Fellowship.

Community seeks to capture two aspects of our ideal for the church: 1) We do not want to be a closed ethnic group, but rather a church with doors open to the community as God calls individuals into His family and into our fellowship. 2) We want the church itself to be a community—not a program, not an organization, not a social club, certainly not a building—but a community.

Christian seeks to communicate our commitment to Jesus. We want our relationships, our life-styles, our priorities, and our allegiances to reflect those of our Leader.

Fellowship seeks to capture our ideal for life together in the Body. Fellowship includes worship and teaching. It also includes enjoying a meal together, cutting firewood together, working together on a project, sharing our joys and sorrows, burdens and victories, lawn-mowers and deep freezes, even sharing the high cost of housing.

We are unashamedly Mennonite Brethren. We affirm our spiritual heritage and the understanding of the Scriptures that our confession of faith reflects.

We share a high level of commitment to each other in the church. We meet often, not only for informal Bible Studies, not only for joyous worship experiences, not only for formal instruction in Sunday School but also for “impromptu Church meetings” as we work together and play together.

We frequently affirm each other. We sometimes challenge each other. At times it hurts, at times it helps. Sometimes we grope. Sometimes we grow. And life together goes on. We are confident that it is God who is shaping our vision and helping us to see that vision built into us.

There are challenges. There is a fine line between a “close” church and a “closed” church. Do we dare to ease up on the first if there is a danger of the second? It is hard to be “half-committed” to a church like Community Christian Fellowship. That is good. But what if it turns away those who might want to be a part, but are not yet ready?

We want to see growth. We need patience and wisdom. We need the continued dynamic of God’s Spirit as we continue to learn to be the church.

Tim Geddert, Pastor
Community Christian Fellowship
Ft. McMurray, Alberta

Previous | Next