WHO WE ARE
A greenhouse is a place where soil is broken yet cared for, where seeds die yet produce new life and where plants absorb nutrients yet also produce incredible life-giving fruit. That’s what we want to be: a place where God’s love both breaks and heals us, and where we experience both deliverance and new Life. But it doesn't end with us. We want to engage in both discipleship and service in ways that tangibly bring healing and Life to our community and this world as well.
We want to get our hands messy by being disciples and by growing disciples who are exposed to a loving God and learn to love Him in return, who experience loving each other in real-life ways, and who are engaged in serving the world starting with our own neighborhood.
This is why we are here in Utah. We simply want to be a part of what God is doing in the incredible area of Saratoga Springs/Eagle Mountain/Lehi and the broader Northern Utah County area!
CHRISTOLOGY > MISSIOLOGY > ECCLESIOLOGY
(Who is Christ?) > (What is our Mission?) > (How does this shape the Church?)
Allan Hirsch (author, speaker) talks about how our understanding of who Jesus is and what He does is central to and shapes all of life. “Church” then naturally flows out of that Jesus-shaped mission. It's tempting to get this backwards and to begin with imagining our "ideal church" then build a strategy to make it happen. Rather, we want to see where God is working, building deep and meaningful relationships and to be students of the area and discover areas of need and opportunity where we can pour ourselves into. We want to gather and scatter just as Jesus did and does. We want to start with Jesus, develop our mission, then watch the church take shape.
We believe that God is a missionary God and that He is alive and active in this world. Scriptures tell us about how, out of His sacrificial love, God incarnated Himself into His creation through the person of Jesus, who poured Himself out for the salvation of the world. (CHRISTOLOGY) As a response, believers gather together as the Church to proclaim and join Jesus in His work in serving and redeeming the world. (MISSIOLOGY) Following the example of Jesus, we believe the Church is called to pour itself out for the areas of brokenness and darkness in the world, starting with its own neighborhood. (ECCLESIOLOGY)
GATHERING & SCATTERING
We want to immerse ourselves in our neighborhood and community to discover the organic rhythms of what it means to both gather and scatter for the people around us. We gather in communities where we “do life” together in ways that are natural and “make sense”. We do this in many avenues: Worship Services, Missional Communities, at work, at home, and in every avenue of life.
People have used all sorts of complex equations, programs and approaches to describe “discipleship”. But we like things to be simple! Time after time we read in the Bible how people:
Then Shared Jesus
Women who had been cast out of society because of things they’d done or others had done to them. Sick, lame and diseased people who were the butt of their society’s jokes. Scandalous and corrupt government officials who stole people’s money. People (men, women, boys and girls!) who delved deep into spiritual darkness and had lost control of themselves. People who made their living in less than desirable occupations. Religious leaders who gave their lives to obeying a Law at the expense of others. And many more!
All these people encountered Jesus in some meaningful way. As a result, they were affected and changed in a profound ways. They experienced the healing, wholeness, transformation and ultimately love of Jesus. They surrendered their lives to Jesus. And the only natural thing to do after that is to tell everyone about it!
Discipleship is both an intentional and a natural way of life. It’s realizing that life is lived best when it’s lived with and for Jesus.
One of the best images of discipleship comes from John 15:1-17 (Vine & Branches). Discipleship means we “ABIDE” in Jesus (connection/relationship). When we encounter Jesus, we find life, meaning, purpose, direction, value, identity in Him. Then comes the “PRUNING” (cleaning/surrender). This isn’t always a favorite part. Let’s be honest: a lot of times we view God coming at us with hedge trimmers and a menacing look on His face! But God is a caring Gardener who acts out of love. He doesn’t want to destroy us! With the Life of Jesus coursing through our veins and having things that leach the Life out of us, we begin to “BEAR” fruit. People notice a difference. This does NOT mean we become “squeaky clean” people who live for appearances! Rather, it means that Jesus can still be seen in and through our lives no matter what we find ourselves in the middle of.
We are what courses through our veins! While discipleship can take on many different forms, it all begins with connecting to the “vine” of Jesus.
SHIFTS IN OUR THINKING
We’ll be honest and admit that we do not have a guaranteed master plan or a fool-proof formula. But along the way we have had some significant shifts in our understanding, vision and passion about what the Church is and does and what it means to be a leader in a Church context. Rather than a blueprint, these shifts will serve as a framework or guidelines for how we’ll move forward:
-From the CENTER to the MARGINS. Too often we find that some people are ignored and forgotten, yet we continually find Jesus gravitating towards and calling others to the edges of society and culture.
-From CONTROL to EMPOWERMENT & WITNESS. We believe that the Church exists for the community and not the other way around. So rather than viewing our friends and neighbors as resources for the Church to consume, we want to free them up and enable them to live out Jesus in where we live, work and play.
-From MAINTENANCE to DISRUPTION & MISSION. The Life lived with Jesus can get really messy, awkward and hard. He doesn't call us to the status-quo. It's been said that "prolonged equilibrium is the precursor of death". In other words, if our lives aren't disrupted every now and then, we're not really living!
-From ISOLATION to ENGAGEMENT & PARTICIPATION. We don't want to create a product for consumption. Rather, we want everyone to get into the game! After all, isn't that what community and family is all about?
-From COMPLEX to SIMPLE. We believe that the more simple things are, the more people are freed up to go out and live.
-From INTERNAL to EXTERNAL. If Jesus wanted to hang out where everything was perfect, He would have stayed in Heaven. Rather, He poured Himself out for the world. Time after time Jesus talked to His followers about re-orienting their lives in a way that was about "those people" "out there". We want to keep people in their social circles and spheres of influence.
-From PROGRAM to PEOPLE. If God is all about relationship, then so should we. We want to spend time developing people, not just programs.
-From INSTITUTION to ORGANIC COMMUNITY & MOVEMENT. The Cross is a great example of this. Jesus initiated and is the center of a community and a movement - not just a club.
-From AGGRESSIVE to AUTHENTIC. Again, this boils down to relationship.
-From MASTER PLAN to RELAXED INTENTIONALITY. We want to be students of our context and ourselves, and continually be exploring to see how things can develop.
-From STATS to STORIES. Too often the main things groups measure are "butts" (attendance) and "bucks" (money). We want to listen to and tell stories of how lives and communities are being transformed by Jesus.