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OUR VALUES

Church MKE traces its start to early in the pandemic when a small group of Christians started meeting together in their backyards. Each person in those early meetings certainly wrestled with a variety of disillusionments with the US church experience, but greater than that was a desire to follow Christ together well. Over the period of about a year, there was a feeling that it was time to be more open to others. In doing so, we have sought to identify who “we are” to help others know what our gatherings are about. We hope this brief summary is helpful to you if you are interested in being together with us.

We have committed to a number of things with respect to our gatherings, because we believe them to be consistent with the earliest expressions of Christian community and “being the Church.” Primarily, we wish to see the following in our gatherings and sharing of life together:

 
  1. Devotion to Jesus’ teaching, the teaching of the Apostles, and the Scriptures.
  2. Sharing meals together.
  3. Regularly taking communion together.
  4. Devotion to prayer.
  5. Devotion to each other, but always having an open seat.
  6. Confidence that each member of the community has gifts to share.
  7. Embracing sacrificial living.

While the above is primarily our discernment of the characteristics of the earliest Christian communities, there are also aspects of our gathering that are contextualized to the present day. While we expect to wrestle further with these and other subjects, we believe the following are relevant to living the Christian experience in the 21st century as opposed to the 1st century:

 
  • We believe that we can more effectively grow in our faith together and individually by focusing on the teachings Jesus and the Apostles laid out 2,000 years ago than by focusing on the teachings of later theologians and personalities. To do so well, we also need to be aware of and overcome the limitations we have in taking in such teachings as the original audience in the First Century would have heard them.
  • We believe that many distortions within today’s church could be attributed to so-called majority or dominant culture. While we would not describe diversity and reconciliation among those of diverse backgrounds in our midst as a primary goal, we also believe that its presence is a strong indicator of our reconciliation in Christ.
  • We believe too much of what is viewed as the Christian experience is tied to having a set of rules and norms that may or may not be right or may or may not be “enforced” with love and compassion. While pursuing holy living is part of the Christian experience, we will trust that pursuit to seeking Christ with honesty and integrity more than to our own flawed, human set of rules or expectations. Accordingly, our gatherings should be safe and inclusive spaces for all who wish to consider Christ and following Him with us.
  • We believe that many present-day church expressions in the US have focused on a few members sharing their gifts of teaching or gifts in music. That has led to many not contributing their gifts to the betterment of the community. In response, we will be intentional in not concentrating who is in charge of spiritual activities. A small representation of this will be our intention to meet in circles rather than directing our attention “up front” and broader participation within our community than might typically be seen in other church contexts.

We know there is a need (and perhaps a benefit) for many to de-construct what the “church” has become in the US. We’ve done some of that, and may need to do more. However, know that the goal of our gatherings is to pursue Christ well more than work through bitterness or disillusionment with today’s church experience. In fact, we believe part of how we will pursue Christ well is to find a way to be rightly connected to and supportive of other Jesus followers in the traditional churches in our communities. We do not have a full sense of what that looks like, but intentionally and continually acknowledge that we are part of the larger, universal Church.

We have no doubt that we have gotten some things wrong, and will continue to get some things wrong. Some of that will be attributable to the mystery and incomprehensible nature of God, and some of that will be attributed to our human frailty. And while we wish to have “good doctrine” as Paul in particular encouraged the early Church, we believe the best thing we can do in our current context is simply to seek Jesus above all else.

So, if you’d like to stumble along with us, we always have an open seat.