Why We Build Churches that Transform Lives
"We build churches that transform lives by experiencing Grace and the Holy Spirit"
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 The Message (MSG)
Have you ever experienced a form of religion that seems to fall short of encouraging a personal relationship with Jesus, or a teaching that doesn’t seem to inspire faith, but instead diminishes it? There are forms of religion the world offers that look nothing like Jesus’ ministry, nor do they reflect his teachings. There are plenty of religious experiences that are more focused on obeying tradition rather than obeying God’s word. At Northlands, we believe in building churches that transform lives rather than conform them. There are three essential building blocks that create the atmosphere for a church to not only thrive but walk in the fullness Christ intended.
An easy test to know if a church is truly obeying God’s word is whether or not lives are being transformed. If a church is more focused on obeying moral codes rather than seeing lives healed and dramatically changed for his glory, then tradition is the goal, not life transformation. Jesus was very focused on healing people and vigorously opposed to any religion or tradition that stood in his way. He was always the harshest with the Pharisees and religious teachers. Northlands senior pastor Greg Haswell affirms that “What you get saved into is more important than what you get saved out of.” We believe that a good way to measure a church’s vitality and progress is not monthly attendance or donations but rather how many people are launched into their God-given calling (Mark 7:1-13).
A Focus on Grace
Jesus was much more grace-focused than he was sin-focused. When the church subscribes to becoming disciples of religious traditions over Jesus’ teachings, a shift from God’s kindness to condemnation becomes apparent. We believe sharing a message armed with grace has the power to radically change lives. Sharing good news really should mean good news! Grace is the engine, the catalyst, and the agency by which one can experience the goodness of God in a powerful way (Romans 1:16-17).
Through the Holy Spirit
At Northlands, we affirm that every believer has access to the Holy Spirit. He is alive and well and moving in each of our lives (John 14:16). Through him, we have the ability to experience heaven on earth and can obtain full access to our inheritance through Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit leads and guides us in all things, and works through the church to transform us. We believe that experiencing the Holy Spirit is an integral part of experiencing God and participating in all he intended for us (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28). The good news is that you don’t have to be in full-time ministry to be a part of building the church. Whether you are called to the arena of government, education, media, the arts, ministry, family, or business, you can see lives transformed by grace and through the Holy Spirit right where you are.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Listen to Pastor Greg’s sermon here, as a part our summer series, called WHY?
Father, thank you that you did not leave me alone to figure out how to be in a relationship with you and fellow believers. Thank you that you have called me to be part of a community that experiences true transformation by your grace and through your Holy Spirit. Your love is alive and powerful, and I am so thankful to be a recipient of it. Amen.