Beginning in Oldsmar, we have a biblical vision to create celestial cities by living in contagious community. This vision, we believe, flows from the story of Scripture. The grand narrative of Scripture is that God is creating a new people to live with a new purpose as they participate in the development of a new, heavenly place to enjoy God for all eternity. We could say that there’s a King, building a kingdom, involving His Kingdom-Citizens.
We Exist to Reach Every Street with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:18-20 states “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus instructs that through the means of identification (baptism) and instruction (teaching), God’s mission would be fulfilled. Also, since we are new creations, Paul identifies us as ambassadors: a” diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign to another state as its resident representative.” We are heavenly-resident representatives where we live, work, and play. Our lives ought to represent all the riches that God has to offer His followers.
- Gather: A Priority
- Grow: An Expectation
- Go: A Lifestyle
Based upon a model (Acts 20:7) and a mandate (Hebrews 10:24-25), we maintain a priority of gathering together. Our gatherings provide opportunities to develop relationships while participating in corporate worship. The rhythm of these weekly gatherings encourages both accountability and participation. Our priority of gathering naturally leads to a to our expectation of growth. When the gospel works to produce spiritual growth, believers should naturally work together “to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Romans 1:5). Growth like this is clearly referenced in Acts. We find in Acts 6:7 that “the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” Our gathering around the gospel and our growing in the gospel should result in our going with the gospel to reach people where we live, work, and play. Our “going’ is not driven by programs but evidenced in our lifestyle as an ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Our values represent a person who is living our mission. We desire to represent to those around us the change that God is creating within.
Authenticity. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Our new creation represents the truest form of authenticity: being re-made in the likeness of God. Paul also instructs us “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24). As a result, we will we reach our truest form of authenticity. This process should not diminish the personalities and preferences that God made us with but should only refine and enhance us to bear the image of God in the way He originally intended.
Intentionality. Paul tells us that “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14). Jesus, the one died on the cross to make us His, expects us to prepare for His return. Paul calls the appearing of Jesus our “blessed hope.” In anticipation of this blessed hope, we prepare intentionally to meet Him.
Generosity. When we speak of generosity, we often exclusively refer to money. Yet, our value of generosity goes so much beyond our finances. Let’s look at the instruction where Paul reminds to follow the example of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-7. Paul tells us to “have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Jesus possessed the qualities and traits that demanded all men to worship Him. Yet, He chose to take the form of a man to serve others more “significantly” than Himself. Jesus humbled himself so we could be exalted. Jesus is generosity personified.
Tenacity.When we realize that we are on this earth for a purpose, that purpose should change our perspective. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Paul uses the tenacity of an athlete physically to demonstrate how we ought to live spiritually. We are not to run “aimlessly” but “under control” They type of personal sacrifice needed for this living requires our tenacity—an unrelenting commitment to pursuing God. We cannot forget that any tenacity we demonstrate flows from what God has already begun in us—“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6). Our tenacity flows from what God is doing in us and not from what we can do for God.
We are prayerfully dreaming that over the next 10 years, we would reach 500 streets, baptize 300 believers, and add 1000 members in the “Bay Cities.”
The “Bay Cities” are all within a 5-mile radius of our hub in Oldsmar. When you start to add up the number of streets within this 5-mile radius, the number of streets soars to over 6,000 and the population nears 160,000. Obviously and thankfully, we are not alone in this endeavor. Yet, to stay on mission, we cannot take this daunting task lightly. So, for our God-sized dream to exist as a reality, we need the following measurements:
Full Houses. “Full Houses” represents the reaching of our streets. The goal of 500 streets reached in our 10-year dream essentially means we need to reach 50 streets each year. As we understand how we “reach” (B.L.E.S.S.), then the idea of full houses seems very natural. For those people, whom we prayed for, listened to, ate with, served, and shared our story, we will most definitely have them in our homes and a part of our groups.
Big Splashes “Big Splashes” represents the baptizing of new believers. The intentional and tenacious reaching of our streets will most naturally lead to new disciples. As we previously looked at the expectation for growth, we can trust that the powerful gospel that changed us can change others.
New Shoes. “New Shoes” represents the addition of new members. New members are critical to reaching our goals since these members embrace our mission and embody our values. Ultimately, we believe to attain these goals, many of the members we added, will be sent. They would be sent to start new churches in the Bay Cities to collaboratively realize the 10-year dream.