Like individual believers, each church God establishes has its own unique personality. We have listed below, in random order, some of the personality traits of Christ Fellowship of Kansas City. We recognize there are true churches that differ from us on some or perhaps many of these issues, though certain aspects ought to be part of any church. We are hopeful of receiving into our church those who will help us reflect these characteristics.
Joy in Christ
Joy is the birthright of every believer. We hope our joy is contagious. We sincerely love being Christians and being in this church, where we receive so much encouragement to live out what we believe. Our joy comes from our belief in the goodness of God toward His own children.
Christian intimacy and affection
Our purpose statement says this clearly. One of the reasons for our use of homes for our meeting place is tied to this idea that smaller groups make for better intimacy. Love is the highest mark of Christian maturity, so we place a huge emphasis on hospitality, good deeds, open relationships, listening, and sharing life together.
The centrality of Bible teaching
The Bible is at the heart of all we do. We are always talking about its truths. Not only do the elders lead their congregations through consecutive Bible passages weekly, but almost every meeting of the church is characterized by seriousness about the Word of God.
The value of life in the church
We all think of our church life as integral to life itself. In other words, our lives center around God, our families, and our church. Following Christ is all about the Body of Christ and is not to be done individualistically. Our meetings are not just tacked on to our lives, but explain who we are. Being together is worth any sacrifice.
The use of homes for church life
We do not believe that we are commanded by God to meet in homes, but we do believe that it has huge benefits for our individualistic, isolated culture. We also see benefits in reproducing the early church way of meeting because the Bible’s “one another’s” are more easily practiced in such a context.
It is important to us to know that our church is regenerate and that each member is walking in obedience and faith toward God. Church discipline is essential for biblical purity to be maintained. We also sign our Membership Agreement in front of the home congregation in order to demonstrate our desire to help the church remain as pure as possible.
Leadership by men
The men are aware of their unique position among the body as leaders, both in the home and in the church. We are complementarian (i.e., men and women are equal before God, but have differing, complementary roles) in our view of the relationship of men and women, not egalitarian (i.e. men and women have no differences in roles either in the home or church). Therefore the men are mentored by elders in a special way for this leadership role.
In many ways, the women of Christ Fellowship are like the circulatory system in our church, bringing life to every part. They hope to demonstrate biblical womanhood by their faith and good deeds. Our girls look up to the women of our church as models of godliness and tender care. Though no woman carries out her responsibilities perfectly, and each woman is in need of God’s daily help, the church is abundantly strengthened by them.
Active attendance by every member
To us, there is no such thing as a non-active member. Each person who signs our membership agreement commits to active involvement in the life of the church. When we meet, everyone is present. If a person or family cannot be there because of extenuating circumstances, they keep the rest informed. We are a true body.
Multiplication of home congregations
The church is growing and hopefully will continue to grow through the multiplication of home congregations throughout our city and its outskirts. Growth through home congregations is exponential and somewhat unpredictable. The demand for new leadership is one of our major concerns as the congregations grow and divide.
The Lord’s Supper as a Weekly Meal
Every week each congregation eats a meal called the Lord’s Supper. This celebratory event is a full meal with the special symbols highlighted (the bread and the cup). Members and guests who are believers are welcome not only to eat the meal but also to share in the special bread and cup, memorializing Christ’s death. We believe the early church took the Lord’s supper weekly as a precedent, although weekly observance is not commanded.
Our meetings are for the purpose of both edifying others and being edified. Worship is also a purpose of our meeting. The church members are encouraged to attend with a participatory mindset. The meetings are successful largely due to the gifts and love shared among us while gathered together. Even the exposition of Scripture is designed to be somewhat dialogical in order to encourage participation.
Church Life that is organic rather than programmatic
So many churches busy themselves with many programs. Our view is different. We work hard not to be programmatic. This does not mean that we do not plan or that we never have organized meetings. When programs reign, however, the emphasis soon is on methods and people are sometimes forgotten; when we “de-institutionalize,” we are more concerned for relationships, God-given authority structure, and the dynamic leadership of Christ, the Head of His church.
A Permanence view of marriage
The church has settled on what we call “the permanence view” of marriage. Although not every person joining our church must agree fully with our position, he or she must realize that this is the view of the church and that any divorce or remarriage following membership will be dealt with according to this understanding. We are interested in helping those associated with us to view marriage and divorce from God’s viewpoint. The elders have written a book on this subject after two years of study.
Our church pursues multi-culturality in our membership. We hope to enjoy fellowship among the believers from a variety of cultural backgrounds, which, to us, is more glorious and heaven-like. We are not yet where we want to be, but we have the goal in mind and are making significant progress.
An appreciation for God’s sovereignty
The members of Christ Fellowship value God’s sovereignty over all things. Our doctrinal statement reflects our beliefs. We believe that God has revealed much about His Divine supervision of the world, but there is also much that remains a mystery. We intend to teach “the whole counsel of God” by addressing issues of His sovereignty in a balanced way whenever it is found in our preaching and teaching texts.
We believe that membership means something in terms of mutual commitment. It opens a door to certain ministry possibilities, to the weekly Lord’s Supper observance, to corporate decision-making, to loving accountability, and to a new level of Christian fellowship. Therefore, we encourage guests not to go longer than three to four months trying out our congregations before joining unless more time is worked out with an elder. We don’t believe it is healthy for a true Christian to wait longer than this.
Growing kids with Bible truths
We work hard at training our children to understand the gospel and to live as believers. This takes place mainly at home. We also teach children basic Bible truths and help them memorize Scripture in our congregational meetings. Children are an integral part of the church meetings, even though they sometimes are distracting.
Mentoring through relationships
In our view, training men and women and youth is best done through loving, mentoring relationships. We have other methods, such as weekly Bible studies, conferences, and personal studies, but the heart of all of our training is small group mentoring relationships.
When you love someone, you will do anything to help them. Our evangelism is based on love for God and love for others. Our church is vigorously involved in evangelism that is primarily relationship-based. In our congregational meetings we often share about our evangelistic encounters, which provides ongoing stimulus to evangelize.
Equality among elders
Our elders are equal in authority. We realize that experience, gifting, and years of service may play a part in how the elders work within the team, but this does not affect the equality of the team. There is no senior pastor of Christ Fellowship. Each of our leadership team may be called an “elder” or “pastor” or “overseer” since these are used interchangeably in the Scriptures for the same person.
A Cautious Approach to Childhood Baptism
In order to maintain a regenerate membership and to avoid giving premature assurance of salvation to children who profess faith in Christ, our elders work together with the child and his/her parents until the child’s conversion can be confidently affirmed by the whole congregation. We encourage the child to live out his faith in obvious ways over time so that this might be known. We have not established a specific age for baptism and membership, but in most cases conversion does not become clearly discernable until a child approaches the teenage years and faces the inevitable choices between worldly interests and Christ. Once conversion is evident, baptism will not be delayed.
These are several of our distinctives. There are more that may be added. We hope this list of personality traits of our church will help you know us better. For more details, you may wish to search further on this site for more articles, or call an elder at your convenience.