A few weeks ago we had Vision Sunday at City Church and it was a privilege to share our vision of ‘helping Bristol believe’. Over the past two years we’ve taken time as a team to pray into the prophetic promises that God has given to our church. God has consistently spoken to us about being a church for the whole city of Bristol. A significant moment for us was bringing the two churches together in September 2017, uniting as one church with multiple sites. The new year is a good time to look ahead and consider what God is asking us to do as a church specifically placed in Bristol. It’s an exciting time, as we launch our 9am service at Cotham, the Alpha course, and social action ministries such as Street Life and the Bristol Churches Winter Night Shelter Project.
Everything we do at City Church is to help people believe in Jesus. Jesus offered a wide invitation for people to come to know him, saying, ‘let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink’ (John 7:37). We want to make believing in Jesus seem like a reasonable thing to do, through all that we do. There are three aspects to how we will work out our vision to help Bristol believe: reaching, restoring and resourcing.
REACHING THE WHOLE OF BRISTOL WITH THE GOSPEL
The gospel is good news for the whole of Bristol, not just one particular area or people group. We want to reflect the diversity of Bristol by embracing the different communities and cultures throughout the city. We believe God is calling us to grow to have many sites across the city – sites which are linked by our church family but are individually and uniquely shaped by their local communities.
Our Sunday services need to be both filled with and led by the presence of God, whilst being accessible to visitors. We want to be clear with the gospel and provide regular opportunities for people to respond to Jesus.
RESTORING BROKEN LIVES AND SERVING THE CITY
The gospel is good news to the poor, and it should look like it! We’ve longed for City Church to play a greater part in the social and spiritual restoration of Bristol. Jesus promotes faith-inspired action, and as a church we want to help meet people’s needs across the city, serving the disadvantaged as we show them the love of Jesus.
We need competent compassion as we get involved with different organisations such as Street Life and the Winter Night Shelter Project. It will require change and cost to the church and to us individually, but we should be excited about what God’s doing amongst us, and get involved in any way that we can.
RESOURCING SITES AND CITIES BY MAKING DISCIPLES AND TRAINING LEADERS
Finally, we want to invest in people in our church, through making disciples of Jesus and raising leaders to send out and serve God’s Kingdom. We feel called to develop and resource leaders for sites in Bristol and, God-willing, church plants in other cities. We are creating opportunities for men and women to step up into new positions of leadership, who will influence many different areas of life, both in the church and in society. Cheryl and I are currently running a leadership development Connect Group to help equip people with leadership skills. As God blesses us, we want to share that blessing with others – be that financially, with training resources or sending out some of our very best leaders to serve elsewhere.
HELPING BRISTOL BELIEVE
Through these three key areas, our vision is to help Bristol believe. We are trusting in the prophetic promises that God has spoken over City Church Bristol, and are pressing into them practically as we move forward. We are praying that God will guide and unite us as a church as we all play our part in serving God and reaching the city of Bristol.