For the past few weeks, the Burlington City Church Pastors/Elders have been discussing, praying and celebrating the current state of Burlington City Church and where God is taking us. It is a really exciting time in the life of the church and we’re excited to be on mission together. One of the topics of conversation has been the primary term we use for our communities of people on mission together: “Home Fellowships”. We wanted to be sure that the term we use for the primary expression of our church actually communicates what we are trying to say.
We realized a few things with the term “Home Fellowship”:
- Home Fellowship describes where we meet and what we do
- The word “home” is limiting because it describes where we meet and not who we are. Although we primarily meet in homes, we don’t want to be limited to utilizing homes as meeting spaces (i.e. groups being able to meet in coffee shops, parks, etc). Nor do we want to define our groups by a space.
- Although “Fellowship” is a big part of what we do, it is not the ONLY thing we do.
- This term does not convey what we’re about or who we are
We brainstormed for a term that would clearly describe who we are and what we are about. We came to the term “Gospel Communities”. Gospel Communities describes who we are and what we are about:
- Gospel = the good news of Jesus, His mission and message
- Community = a unified body of individuals (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/community)
So Gospel Communities are a unified body of people driven by living out the mission and message of Jesus together. Whereas Home Fellowships focuses primarily on the meeting place and what we do, Gospel Communities focuses primarily on the people and our purpose. We believe this term more effectively communicates what our groups of people on mission together are really about.
We are not making a shift from anything structural or strategy wise. Our primary expression of the church will still be small groups of people on mission together. Since we are in the early stages of our church, now would be the time to make a shift in terminology.
The above post is a modified excerpt from an email by one of our pastors, Michael Ly, to the Burlington City Church family.