What does it mean to be part of Immanuel Community?

I am not self-sufficient.

Becoming a parent has, for me, brought this into sharper focus.  When faced with a discipline issue with one of my children at the end of a long, busy day, it is easy to slip into thinking independently as a parent. Both Mandy and I have been known to attempt to fix the problem single-handedly, but this very rarely works!  We have had to learn to rely on one another to help bring back calm and perhaps a more realistic perspective.  Mandy and I have become better parents as we have recognised our need of each other. However, Mandy and I, even when we’re working as a ‘tag-team’, are still not self-sufficient; we have learned to rely on others for wisdom as well.  This is where community comes in.

Paul's talk on Identity

Paul’s talk on Sunday about our change of name from Immanuel Ministries to Immanuel Community helped to put into words what many of us have felt for a while, namely that our identity is not linked primarily to what we do, but who we are.

Prophetic Community

We recognise that God has called us to be a prophetic community, demonstrating, often in radical ways, how we are the body that Paul talks about in his first letter to the Corinthians.  We recognise each other’s value as essential parts of the body and we defer to one another’s strengths.  The apostle Paul explains how the body ‘is made up of many parts’, (1 Cor 12:12); he goes on to ask ‘if they were all one part, where would the body be?’ (v.19).  In a world which promotes independence, we are called to depend on one another, (v.21).  In a world where people protect their own rights and property, often to the detriment of others, we are called to share in one another’s joy and pain, (v.26).

Mandy and I have chosen to commit relationally to a group of people – those who make up Immanuel Community.  Relationship with these people is important to us.  We need them.  They need us.  It’s not always easy to allow other people room to speak into our lives, but it’s a commitment we have made.

Acts 2 church

I find myself drawn to the kind of church we read about in Acts 2:42-47, whereby the believers ‘were together and had everything in common’, ‘gave to anyone as he had need’ and ‘broke bread together in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts’.  Alongside this, God was moving in power: the apostles were moving in signs and wonders and many people were discovering the kindness of the Father through the saving work of Jesus.  This, surely, is the kind of community we want.

As a house church leader, I have had to work against the issue of pride.  When the house churches were first formed in 2004, it was stressed that the leaders were to be given full autonomy.  This was key: the house church leaders were handed the reins and the former leadership team of Immanuel Church passed on spiritual authority to these new leaders.  However, I have come to recognise that the autonomy of my house church should not be at the expense of its accountability.  I can lead with confidence because I know that I am a member of a wider community who will call me to account if there is need.

I believe the new name – Immanuel Community – is key, because who we are shapes what we do.  

Comments

Love your spirit here Simon.

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Monday 4th July 2016

Immanuel School is on Facebook!

Immanuel School 2015 GCSE Results

Wednesday 9th September 2015

A brilliant set of results for our students this year, with 100% achieving at least 5 A*-C grades, including English, Maths and Science.

Beaney's Updates (January)

Thursday 22nd January 2015

We have been learning a lot about perseverance this year!!  In all that is going on around us, to keep focused on Jesus and allow Him to be our strength and our peace.  It has been a journey that has been very humbling and leaning more into God and trusting Him.

Beaney's Updates (November)

Monday 10th November 2014

It was a sad day.... Mark was welding on the roof of a YWAM bus and a spark caught alight the interior and the bus went up in flames in seconds!

Taking Every Thought Captive

Monday 13th October 2014

Recently I've been having waves of fear and anxiety attacks that have been lasting for days on end.

I find myself thinking "I don't want to feel like this but I can't seem to shake these thoughts and feelings."
I mean seriously who wants to live a life full of crippling fear and anxiety? Not me!

You can listen to Matthew's testimony here too...

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