Foundational to everything we hope to do in our city is to make the truth known that God entered the world in Jesus Christ to accomplish a salvation mission for all in order to do what we each could not achieve for ourselves. In so doing, Jesus lived the life we should be living (but do not live), and he paid with His life the penalty for the life we are living (so we do not have to ultimately pay for it ourselves) in order that whosoever can experience the transforming presence of God in this life and eternally in the next. In other words, we want everyone in our City of Brockton to discover and receive the transforming grace of God as offered in Jesus Christ. This choice to trust in Christ’s work not only reconciles them to their Creator but opens the door to a new quality of life.
Though this transformation experience is launched from the realm of God’s kingdom it comes with a call to servant-hood (Mark 10:45) in ours. This means that Jesus is not ultimately saving individual souls to just remove us from our world, but rather He is bringing His life and power down into our material world through individuals. Someday Christ will return to re-create this world, but until then we are commissioned in the present world to serve as conduits of His transforming grace. These are expressed through efforts of personal and community renewal and restoration. Thus, as Christians in Brockton, we seek not only the conversion and transformation of individuals but also to serve the city in a way that seeks to bring peace and prosperity to our city (Jeremiah 29:1–7). From out of this understanding of the Gospel comes at least five ways we seek to minister to our city.
First, we are a church that seeks to be highly effective in compassion evangelism to a society of skeptical people. We understand that most people in New England are critical of supposed “un-provable” truths. But, individuals compelled by the truth and experience of Christ, unlike those operating only from the business of religion, produces people who do not ignore those with whom we disagree. Rather than simply confronting those who don’t believe, we are prompted by our call to the Gospel to sympathetically find ways to address common community needs and aspirations. In the context of our servant-hood and compassion we hope that the Gospel message will be given the chance to be heard.
Secondly, our worship events are similarly evangelistic but this time it is conveyed in the commitment of teaching the revelation of biblical truth. We are primarily a teaching church because too many today live unaware of spiritual principles that bring consequence into their lives and family’s lives every day. This created world comes with governing laws given to us by a Heavenly governor. So, we ask Christians to grow in the practical and relevant application of His truth as found in the canon in such a way that it will bring a healthy response to different points of need in their life, home, neighborhood and city. This we believe will manifest in such a way on the whole to bring blessing to the city. Our hope is that in our times of corporate worship we model to all how to articulate the Gospel relevantly in a pluralistic, secular culture.
Third, we are a church that seeks to provide intentional spiritual formation (or discipleship) opportunities primarily through training opportunities. Many individuals had sad family experiences that failed to equip them to handle life in a mature manner. In traditional churches these individuals learn to gather in a church building but rarely learn how to live life in a mature and abundant way. This lack of maturity overflows into the non-believing world ultimately to be observed as hypocrisy. The world is tired of hypocrisy. Therefore, we challenge all those who come to TBC to participate in smaller communities (groups) where through continual biblical reflection, a sharing of burdens, loving admonition, and modeling within this smaller family-like community, they can become better equipped to learn how to put into practice a believable Christian lifestyle. Growth in grace, wisdom and character does not happen so much in “sermon settings” as it does in deeper family-type relationships where loving relationships with loving accountability exists. If Christians cannot learn to live in a way that contradicts the self-centeredness of the world we should not be exporting our views to our city. Since the pool of our society is dominated with a strong individualistic, self-serving kind of living, we want to supply our city with a fresh kind of “water” that can bring inspiration to all. Jesus called this being salt and light in the world.
Fourth, TBC seeks to work for justice and peace in our neighborhoods and city through acts of charity and education, but just as important through ministries of advocacy, Christian community development and empowerment. Indifference to the poor, immigrant and the disadvantaged demonstrates a lack of understanding of grace and God’s free salvation. A church that grasps the Gospel will be faithful to serve in collaboration with others to go beyond the proclamation of truth and to participate in the community in ways that expose false thinking and holistically address systemic sin issues. This often means encouraging leaders to consider better ways to accomplish their responsibilities. We also serve our city by seeking to serve leaders.
At TBC therefore we are committed to supporting individuals to become engaged with market-place endeavors that will encourage right living and we seek to help such individuals to work in the city with Christian excellence, distinctiveness, integrity and moral accountability in their passions and professions. Developing compassionate yet creative and excellent business environments in our city out of an understanding of the Gospel is a necessary part of the work of city transformation. Encouraging Christian joy, hope, and truth to the arts and sciences is also part of this effort.
Fifth, our church seeks to be the catalyst for Church and Christian leader collaboration. As part of our mission to be a church for the city, we understand that a sense of unity in the community is directly proportional to the ability of its leaders to live in a united way. Christian leaders and churches must bring hope to their community by maintaining the unity given to us in Jesus Christ (John 17:21; Eph. 4:3; Phil. 1:27). Our spirit of unity becomes an example and cheerleader for true community. With the help of other churches in our city TBC seeks to model to the people of our city that God is a God of unity, not division and disunity. There is so much that can be accomplished in a city that knows how to live as one. We believe that God will bless a city where leaders are willing to humble themselves before Him and one another.