31 Oct 10 Things We Want to Be When We Grow Up
Writing Down The Dream
In 1936, an English Professor named J.R.R. Tolkien grudgingly graded a stack of student essays. Suddenly, a picture popped into his head. Before it was lost, he lunged for loose paper and wrote down what he saw: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” That germ-of-an-idea was all it took. A dream was born and would grow with time. The Lord of the Rings has become a legendary story, impacting millions of people since it was published.
Wild ideas often happen like this. What gets scribbled on a napkin begins to grow. The same is true for Storyline.
When the idea of Storyline Fellowship was born, eight simple words were sketched: relational evangelism, teamwork, intentional Bible training, authentic community. To our surprise, people in northwest Arvada began to rally around these words. What began with a few is now a small army. While seating capacity has grown, the vision has grown all the more.
In the fall of 2016, the Storyline staff team huddled together in a series of meetings to re-describe the dream, adding clarity and definition. This time, we needed a larger napkin. We wrote down who we want to be when we grow up.
Who We Want To Be When We Grow Up
- We want to be for the kingdom, not the castle.
That is, we measure success by the impact we have on our city, not the number of seats filled on Sunday. Numerical growth is encouraging but can’t be the end goal. We will refuse to see sister churches as competitors, but as partners in the same project—to share the love of Christ. We will collaborate with our Protestant and Catholic friends. Our differences may prevent us from worshipping together, but certainly won’t prevent our working together.
- We want to be theologically rich + culturally relevant.
We desire a deep church but not a detached church. We strive to teach the Scriptures in an in-depth way, while also cultivating an atmosphere of invitation. Without theology, we are a social club. Without relevance, we are like monks in the monastery.
- We are focused on multiplication, not addition
That means we get more serious about building leaders, not a volunteer base. We will design systems to help people find their spiritual gifts and to put them to good use. We don’t strive to become a massive, mega-thing; we strive to become a multiplying center that shaves off resources each year to help other church plants get started along the Front Range.
- We believe that busy church is not better church.
We strive to keep a simple calendar, so that people can spend time with those on their street. Christians tend to huddle up far too often, pulling away from those in proximity. We resist becoming a church that confuses activity with accomplishment.
- We’re for warm conversations, not cold confrontations.
Any church worth its salt will do evangelism. But it’s the flavor that matters to us. We don’t feel led to approach strangers with pamphlets, but rather, we approach people as human beings worthy of God’s love. We realize that for most far-off people, the first step in becoming a Christian is to be friends with a Christian. Through authentic friendships, we speak of Christ as the Holy Spirit opens the window.
- We see missions as across-the-street and across-the-sea.
Every member a missionary. Our people don’t have to get on a plane to do the Great Commission. Hurting people abound, their stories unread, and God has placed us strategically into their lives to love them. It’s not just on our street, however. We wholeheartedly believe in sending out mission teams and resources to cities in the U.S. and abroad, to do our part in taking the Gospel around the globe.
- We see home as a launching pad, not a landing place.
Far too many parents cling to their kids, when the Bible describes them as arrows waiting to released. Beginning in 2017, we will launch a new ministry called Milestones, which seizes key moments in a family’s life and aims to equip parents as the primary faith trainers in the home.
- Excellence is endearing; excessiveness disturbing.
We want to shave off any pretentious sheen in our worship services. We want to reward sincerity, not showmanship. As we make decisions about resources, we want to be sure that we are putting our money where our mouth is, and keeping the mission central, focusing on outreach.
- People need circles, not just rows.
Home Groups are a huge deal around here. We’re still working out the kinks and have lots of room to improve, but sitting in a service for an hour a week won’t create the intimacy our souls long for. We will keep herding people to Home Groups where they can be truly known, in face-to-face mini-communities.
- The happy people are giving people.
We teach on giving—not because the church is in dire straits—but because it’s a large part of discipleship. God loves a cheerful giver, but the opposite is true as well: the cheerful giver loves God. Giving is not a burden, but a privilege, and we want to challenge our church to war against greed and to invest our resources in what is lasting.