The Kingdom of God
The kingdom of God is the over-arching storyline of the Bible and it encompasses God’s ongoing activity, climaxing in Jesus and in partnership with His covenant community, to bring about the renewal of creation as all things inevitably become subjected to His will. Through Christ’s death at the hands of sin, death, and evil and God’s triumph over those powers through Christ’s resurrection, God had accomplished the installation of a new age within His kingdom project, which the church was called to implement even as they lived within it. Within Ecclesia, we believe that the calling and formation of the church came as a means of the advancement of God’s kingdom within the world. Therefore, we believe that as the church is a catalyst for the kingdom, the network should be a catalyst for the church, so that it might be a catalyst for the kingdom.
Scripturally & Historically Rooted
Within Ecclesia we recognize that our network stands in a stream of faith that started over 3,000 years ago, and within the Universal Church of Jesus Christ itself, has existed for almost 2,000 years. To this wide community of people, God has exercised His authority throughout time in a variety of ways including creation, experience, reason, and tradition. Today, we have a tremendous vantage point from which we can stand upon a long line of men and women who have devoted their lives to following Christ. From them we earn from both their mistakes and their triumphs and we can look to the future by the comprehensive testimony of the past. In addition, we stand with Christians across the ages who have believed that God primarily exercises his authority through the scriptures and they serve as a filter through which we understand the other means by which he exercises his authority.
Primacy of the Local Church
We believe that the primary vehicle for God’s work in our world today is through the local congregation. In every context, it is this community of people that must provide a faithful witness to the reality of Christ. Though she is full of people who are far from all they shall be in the future, God works redemptively through these communities of authenticity and transformation. In our network, we believe that every local congregation should be self-governing, though the manner in which they choose to self-govern could be different. We believe that networks and associations of churches exist for the local congregations themselves and that often these roles can become easily reversed. Therefore, within Ecclesia we strive to distribute leadership to local congregations at every feasible opportunity.
Organic Church Collaboration
As a network, we believe that more can be accomplished together than in isolation and that the best means of collaboration is through the natural outpouring of genuine, authentic relationships. In this new day of ministry challenge, we believe that it is local congregations that have the best vantage point to inform other congregations about the practice of ministry, offer the best teaching and information to one another, and support one another in collaborative mission. We spend significant time within the network working towards forming these partnerships and structure ourselves according to this belief.
Congregational Health & Mission
In order for life to flourish, health is a necessity. We know too well the long-term effects of congregations that have lost focus on the mission of God and have opted into the purpose of serving themselves. Within Ecclesia, we believe that church health flows out of the natural work of congregational mission. Efforts to renew the church are often misguided because they focus on the same inward issues that enacted decline in the first place. Therefore, we seek health within our congregations by guiding them towards missional engagement that is supported by missional structures and missional theology.
Church & Movement Multiplication
The Church today needs to be made up of missionally responsive, culturally adaptive, organizationally agile movements. These should be movements that mobilize the whole people of God through multiplication. Movements that refuse to remain static. The wide movement of Jesus today needs to see that multiplication is taking place among disciples, from churches, and within movements of churches. Within Ecclesia we place a high value upon the scriptural call of church planting and multiplication and actively seek to encourage and partner churches together in this mission.