1. We are committed to giving broad DECISION-MAKING POWER to the members of the body.
At Windy City Community Church we are committed to unleashing God's people to do great works of service. We believe that one of the keys to commitment is involvement. People are committed to a plan to the degree they helped to shape that plan. Can you imagine the thousands of fantastic ideas sitting out in our church every Sunday? Can you picture the passions and desires of all our people, channeled into the great work of fulfilling the Great Commission? That is our goal: to decentralize planning and decision making. Power to the People! We want to give you, the body of Christ, the power and authority to reach this city for Christ. The Elder Board of our church is the governing board, and we are committed to delegating as much authority as we can to you, gifted believers in Jesus.
2. We are committed to incorporating EVANGELISM into the ingredients of every ministry.
Just as Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), so the Church is in the world for exactly the same reason. God sent us here to transmit the gospel to the world. So wherever it is possible, and wherever it makes sense, we want to intentionally build evangelism into our ministries. This means that whatever we seek to do, we should have an open attitude and an outreaching spirit. To do this, we must meet people's needs; we must accept people who aren't like us. We should never turn up our noses at people because of their past failures or weaknesses. We are a safe harbor for all in need. Our Sunday morning service is a worship service for believers. Yet many people come to Christ as they watch the church worship! (1 Cor. 14:25) Though the service is not directly evangelistic, we do incorporate evangelism into it. This is our desire for all our ministries.
3. We are committed to SMALL GROUPS as the basis of church life.
We believe that the church is people, not programs. God has a great goal in the church: He is creating a society of people committed to each other, enjoying his grace, and proclaiming his greatness around the world. That society of people is us. We are commanded to love one another, to pray for one another, and to bear one another's burdens. To accomplish this, we see ourselves as an assemblage of small groups. Whether the groups focus on ministry (like leaders of our children's clubs), prayer, Bible study, support, or fellowship, doesn't matter. We want every Christian to benefit from the dynamics of a regular face-to-face fellowship with others. You have something to give, and you have something to receive when you become part of a small group.
4. We are committed to opening our circle of involvement to NEW MEMBERS.
One of the last things we want is for the same old people to do the same old things. At Windy City we recognize that you bring a wealth of experience and ministry with you. We don't want to create a bunch of hurdles for you as you seek to get involved. If you are in leadership, one of your primary goals is to seek the involvement of men and women who have just started with us. This way we will never become ingrown and stale in our thinking.
5. We are committed to LAY-MINISTRY.
The Bible teaches that every Christian is a minister (Eph. 4:12). Therefore, the leadership and staff of Windy City take it as our primary mission to equip YOU to do the work of ministry. This means that evangelism, counseling, hospital visitation, and other traditional "pastoral" ministries will be done by lay people. Our staff and pastor are to focus on leading, training, teaching, and praying. Staff members are equippers. Church members are ministers. This also means that where vounteers do not step up to do certain ministries, those ministries will be laid to rest. If God is calling us to do a ministry, he will raise up willing, gifted workers to do it.
6. We are committed to HOME-BASED ministry.
Since the church is not a building, but people, the church can meet effectively just about anywhere. Space is an important issue for the church of today. Church buildings, though a blessing from God, are costly. Plus they often present obstacles to unbelievers. Therefore, as much as possible, we should plan our ministries around homes, parks, offices, anywhere people can meet.
7. We are committed to GROWTH and the CHANGE that comes with it.
We hope that next year we are in many ways a different church from today. We have a passion to grow -- multiply disciples and churches. Now, some peple find growth threatening. But if you are in a small group, you will not feel lost in the crowd. We should grow because that way we will reach out to more and more people in Chicago and around the world.
As this growth comes, our church will sometimes seem chaotic, like a roller-coaster ride. So let's not worry about this. Change and chaos are part of the price for growth. King Solomon observed, "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox" (Prov. 14:4) In other words, upheaval is often the price of progress. So strive to grow. Live and minister with a healthy dissatisfaction with the present. Take joy in what God is doing today, and eagerly desire that He will do more. It is our stated policy at WCCC: we would rather try something new, and have it not work than -- because of the fear of failure - not try at all.
8. We are committed to a CULTURALLY-RELEVANT style.
When a missionary goes into a foreign culture, he or she attempts to communicate Christ in the language and style of the people. We see America today as a mission field. So, we must learn to communicate Christ using a style that the people around us can appreciate. Paul had this in mind when he wrote, "I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22). We need to meet people where they're at. Too often we erect barriers between Christ and his lost sheep - and our job is to tear down those barriers! So, without getting into fads, let's be culturally relevant. Avoid cliches and unfamiliar terms. Don't scold. Be creative and bold. Strive for high quality in literature, signs, promotionals, meetings, and get-togethers. The world evaluates our message in part by the care we take in presenting it, and it part by the way we effectively communicate to today's secular mind. Along with this, we prefer to use gender-inclusive language in our literature and meetings, though we use masculine terms when referring to God.
9. We are committed to SEEKING THE HOLY SPIRIT'S LEADING AND POWER.
We place a high priority on prayer, and the Holy Spirit is central to our ministering. Nobody can make a church grow except God. He causes the growth by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to cooperate with what God is doing, to become fellow-workers with God (1 Cor. 3:6-9). If the power is God's, then really the only limitations in us are limitations we put on ourselves. Luis Palau preaches, "Dream big dreams and do great works for God." So, as we plan and develop our ministries, we must undergird everything with prayer. When we pray, we should spend time asking God for direction. Then we should spend time seeking to know exactly how God feels about the people we're trying to serve. Finally, we should ask for His Holy Spirit's power to work though us to meet real needs. When we serve God His way by His power, we will not cause burnout to families or leaders, and we will find an inner sense of joy in ministry. "'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit', says the Lord" (Zech. 4:6)
10. We are committed to working through SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
God has wired us all differently, giving us different desires, passions, and gifts. You have a spiritual gift (or gifts). You have something unique to contribute to the body of Christ. When you begin to serve God according to your spiritual gift, you will have extra motivation, extra power, and extra effectiveness. So, when we plan our ministries, and design our leadership teams, be sure to work within people's spiritual gifts. And as you get involved in ministry, pay attention to your level of motivation and effectiveness. Work within your gifts. (Rom. 12:1-8; 1 Cor. 12)
11. We are committed to putting PEOPLE FIRST.
We are excited about the magnificent potential of every person because we belong to Christ Jesus. Christ stands ready to live His life through us; as ministers and workers, our job is to help people become what God wants them to become. Our job is to help people figure out their own God-given dreams and passions, and to stimulate people to move toward their goals. To do this, we must help one another find emotional healing. We must avoid making people so busy for the church that they have no time for Jesus. Our programs must serve real needs in the lives of adults, children, and families, and if they don't - rather than sacrifice the people, we will sacrifice the program.
12. We are committed to building GOD'S KINGDOM, not our own.
As Christians, our first loyalty is not to a church, a plan, a style, a method, a program, or even to ourselves. We have no loyalty above loyalty to Christ and His kingdom. Our church is simply a tool that God is using today to help build His kingdom. We love every church that proclaims the gospel of grace and honors the authority of Scripture. There is no competition among churches, and we want to be a blessing to other churches around us. In our private lives, we are committed to displaying radical, authentic Christianity. Regardless of the price-tag on the lifestyle, we will do it because the world around us needs Christ and is watching us. Even if we need to go against the flow, we'll do it, because we are so thankful to God for what he has first done for us. Our little kingdoms come and go, but the Kingdom of God will endure forever. (Daniel 4)
13. We are committed to BLUNDERING FORWARD.
We aren't out to create a perfect church or to pretend that we are perfect Christians. We learn by trial and error. We believe in laughing at ourselves, apologizing for our wrongs, admitting our humanness, and never giving up. To blunder forward means to forgive ourselves and others and our church as we seek to move forward for God's kingdom. We need to keep blunder and forward together. Blunder allows us to make mistakes. Forward forces us to be doers, and not just planners. Together, Blunder and Forward causes us to fall forward again and again into the measureless grace of God. We pray that next year our church will have made progress in both quality and quantity as we keep on blundering forward.
14. We are committed to achieving our MISSION.
The mission of Windy City Community Church is very simple. This is our agenda for you, and for every person who enters our church: OUR MISSION IS TO BUILD UP A COMMUNITY OF BELIEVERS MARKED BY A PASSION FOR JESUS CHRIST, INSPIRED BY THE GRACE OF GOD, AND GUIDED BY A KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WORD.