If you think the last thing Columbia needs is another church because churches are good to have around, we agree. We aren’t inclined to color in the lines. Rather, we aim to stretch the lines as far as God allows to allow people on the boundaries, in the margins, and outside the doors, but not forgotten by God to belong even before they believe.
This isn’t easy, but easy often means boring. So we’ve decided to try a different approach and meet people exactly where they are. But even while we stretch, we’re careful not to dismiss the ancient and timeless practices of faith that are still around for a reason.
DOWNTOWN CHURCH is an experience that’s not easy to put into words. Instead of offering you a laundry list of stuff we do and don’t believe, we’d rather you come and see it for yourself. But still, there are a few things that guide the way we worship, the way we work, and the way people become a part of the church.
1. We welcome all people from all places, wherever they are on their life journey.
2. We are a work in progress, committed to following Jesus.
3. We ask honest questions and find God as we seek answers.
4. We follow Christ by serving and interacting with our neighbors in downtown Columbia.
5. We strive to shape culture as it shapes us.
We dream about tomorrow.
God promises us a new kingdom one day – a new kingdom right here on Earth. A place ruled by peace, love, and joy where heartache, grief, pain, tears, and war cease to exist. We don’t know when that new kingdom will come in full, but until then, we’re determined to make our corner of downtown Columbia look a bit more like it. What happens when fighting among family and co-workers is replaced with love? What happens when we are free to love without expecting anything in return? What happens when we respond in peace and kindness to difficult people and circumstances? Each time we chose the way of Jesus we begin to resemble the coming Kingdom of God.
We go slow.
If we’re not careful, church can become just another place of busyness. And aren’t you busy enough already? Slowing down, spending time with family, lingering over a meal together, these are all things that we value and are committed to live out. That means we try hard not to have church meetings at night, we work in groups with narrow focuses instead of committees, and anytime we do meet we always eat…slowly. Being busy at church shouldn’t be confused with faithfulness. Right?
We are downtown.
Not because demographic and marketing studies told us there was room for one more church. And not because somebody gave us a good deal on some downtown real estate. We chose downtown because we love Columbia and we want to use our gifts and talents and relationships to compel meaningful change in this city. That means we must embrace the challenges and the opportunities present on our front steps. It also means we must confront injustice especially when our powerful downtown neighbors in business, government, and education are responsible.
We want people to leave.
We are a pit-stop for spiritual sojourners – people on a journey. And we will celebrate and support the ones that come as much as the ones that leave our company for a season or forever to follow Jesus. Church isn’t the destination of faith, rather it’s one place we live it out.
We read the Bible.
We believe that the Bible is the living word of God and still has the power to transform lives today. It is timeless while still promising a radically different future (see above) that’s yet to come. A future that God is inviting us to help shape.
We know you are smart.
There is good possibility this all just sounds like nice, dreamy words on page but can’t possibly be real? So, it’s ok and even expected if you’re a little cynical. You should want to know HOW we express the principles that guide us. So take a look around the website and make your way to a worship service or a mid-week event and see if we stay true to what you just read.