A Vision for Planting

This past Lord’s Day was the soft launch worship service for Ethos Communion Church. We met in my backyard, and there were 22 adults, 3 teenagers, and 6 children present. The service was interrupted briefly by a heavy drizzle which just so happened to start in the middle of my sermon. I took it as God’s sense of humor and his way of saying: “Get to the point son!” After concluding the sermon, which was on the mercies of God (Romans 12:1), we moved under the patio and partook of our first communion together as a church. It was a blessed day which was fittingly concluded with grilled steak for lunch. This was just the soft launch though, and we are still working to make things more solid. More specifically, we still do not know what location we will end up at, but that is exactly the spirit in which we are planting this church: we’re simply going. Going to make disciples wherever the Lord leads.

On another note, I officially began the on-boarding process with a church planting organization. As part of the initial onboarding, I had to submit a vision for church planting. The following is what I wrote:

We live in a time where people’s souls are disconnected and they don’t even realize it, nor understand it. Ethos Communion Church is a place where their souls can be reconnected. Where their minds, their bodies, their community, and their spirits can be re-connected as they connect with the One who unites all things together.

In classical Greek rhetoric, there are three elements of effective communication: 1) Logos (content), 2) Pathos (emotion), 3) Ethos (character). It is widely agreed upon that while all three are important, ethos is the most important. As a church, we strive to not only preach the content of the gospel, but we want to be a living embodiment of the transformation it produces. While Ethos Communion Church will certainly focus on the content of the gospel, it is looking more holistically to the fruit of transformation the gospel produces as its members abide in the Vine. Of course, the transformation belongs to God alone, however we can create the kind of conditions by which God tends to bring transformation. This means the sermons for Ethos will not be intellectually heavy, though they will be intellectual. The aim of the sermons is to holistically engage both their minds, and also their wills so that they are encouraged to offer their bodies as living sacrifices to the merciful God.

However, we want the entire worship service, not just the sermon, to provide the conditions for transformation. We do not want the worship service to feel like three songs and a sermon. Instead, the order and flow of the worship service will intentionally follow a Gospel rhythm; walking through the movements of the gospel. In this way, the worship service will almost feel like a prayer meeting that allows each person to be still and know He is God. To provide space to engage, to listen, to commune with the living God. And the aim is that this rhythm will continue through the week so that the members of Ethos can live according to the heartbeat of Christ while breathing the air of heaven.

The Lord, himself, has provided another holistic means of communing with him through the visible sign of the Lord’s Table. This sacrament brings together the mind, the will, and the body in an act that demonstrates the spiritual union we have with Christ by faith. Members of Ethos will partake from the table on a weekly basis. There is simply nothing like the Lord’s Table that can bring so much spiritual depth for mind, body, community as this blessed sacrament which is fittingly also called Communion.

The word ethos, can also be translated as the “spirit” or “vibe” in which something is done. So Ethos Communion Church will not simply do church. Instead, we strive to be a church. That is, a people called out by God to live in communion with Christ in such a way that leads to a communion with one another. Ethos is a place for the weary, the outcasts, the spiritually sick. It is a place where they can be introduced the the Great Physician of Souls, and find rest for their restlessness. So Ethos will strive to provide conditions in which its members may commune with one another in Christ. When a visitor joins Ethos, they should feel the “vibe” of Christ.

To provide such conditions, Ethos Communion Church will be a simple church. This means that the people will not be laden with all kinds of ministry burdens. The Lord’s Day Worship service will not feel like an event production. Rather, the Lord’s Day will be a Sabbath day. A day to cease from our labors, so that we can rest in the labor of the one who came to serve us in his work of atonement. A day where we can enjoy the hope of the final Sabbath rest that will be ours in eternity.

By God’s grace, may we become this kind of church. Soli Deo Gloria.

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