On January 28, 2018 West Hills held it’s annual State of the Church service, gathering together for a time of worship in song and vision casting for the coming year. One of the topics shared during that meeting focused on the type church West Hills is. We also talked together about the foundations our congregation stands upon. Our leadership felt it important to take some time to share about this because from time to time we are asked questions like what type church West Hills is, what makes us unique as a church and what the foundations of our congregation are. With this in mind, I plan on publishing a series of posts which have as their focus the Foundations of West Hills. These posts, of which this is the first, are designed to take our discussion from January 28 a bit deeper. My hope in doing this is that those who were unable to attend the meeting in January will deepen their understanding about our congregation and it’s unique nature, while those who did attend the meeting will be reminded of our churches uniqueness and foundations.
As a precursor to sharing the five foundational principles our church is founded upon, we communicated a simple description of West Hills Community Church. If asked to describe our congregation and what we are becoming, we would say, “West Hills Community Church is a dynamic, non-denominational community of Christ’s followers, founded on five foundational principles. From these five foundational principles, we serve God, honor Christ and serve and love each other.” Let’s take a moment and take a closer look at this description?
First, as we follow Jesus the Christ, we are a dynamic community of Christ’s followers. This simply means that we are more than a gathering of people, like any number of other gatherings of people across our city at any given time. As a church, there is a life that pulsates through our congregation – life that stems from the Holy Spirit, who dwells with us as an expression of Christ’s people. It is the Holy Spirit’s presence that animates us as a Christian congregation. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers our worship and the Word preached and taught. Further, it is the Holy Spirit, working in the lives of His people, who gifts us to serve one another and who imparts gifts to each member of Christ’s body, enabling them to serve one another in love. West Hills is a dynamic community due to the Spirit’s presence and work in our midst.
Next, West Hills is a dynamic, non-denominational community of Christ’s followers. Non-denominational means West Hills is not affiliated with any of the numerous denominational churches present in our world today. Rather, we seek to be structured after the New Testament model for churches. One positive result of this is that West Hills attracts many people who in their past, had bad experiences of ‘church’ in denominational churches. Another positive result of being non-denominational is that many with no church background, who are put off by the many and various denominations, find a home with us at West Hills precisely because we have no denominational affiliation. Yet another positive result of being non-denominational is that our church is free to follow our Lord Jesus Christ according to the scriptures without being hindered by ‘church executives’ and ruling boards who have a vision for ‘church’ which has departed from scriptural foundations, in an attempt to accommodate the spirit of the age.
Finally, West Hills is a dynamic, non-denominational community of Christ’s followers. This means we are not followers of any one man. We aren’t followers of a superstar pastor, or a particular dynamic human leader or even a particular theologian or church hero from the past. Rather, Jesus Christ is the name above all names which we honor and bless; and it is He who we follow and purpose to exalt. It is this Jesus Christ came down from heaven for us and for our salvation. It is this Jesus Christ who was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and became man. It is this Jesus Christ who was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, who suffered and was buried. It is this Jesus Christ who rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and it is this Jesus Christ who ascended into the heavens, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and who will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; and when He comes, He will establish a kingdom which will have no end.
What then, does it mean to follow Christ as a church? What makes a Christ following church unique? I will answer these questions in much more detail in a future blog post about the Foundations of West Hills Church.
Grace and Peace,