Jesus was a man that walked the earth for only 33 short years and yet, has been the center of art, religion & human history ever since. His life was far more then teachings on how to live a good life but served as a human connection point to God. He came to reconcile us to Himself and to his ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). In the human form of Jesus, dwelt the fullness of God (Colossians 2:9) and He existed as the word of God, bringing into reality the creative desires of God, long before those 33 human years (John 1:1-18). After his brief time on earth, He is now the exalted as the King of Kings but not like a King that we can fathom (Revelation 1:12-18). He is above all things, in all things, lovingly working life together to turn it all back to it’s purpose (Colossians 1:15-20). The church was not man’s idea but was initiated & empowered by Jesus (Matthew 16:13-18). His church is to be a loving community of people learning what it means together to follow Jesus and to be about his mission in the places and times we live. As one expression of His church, we do not seek to draw glory to ourselves but rather, glory to God alone. He is the hero, not us. He alone is the source of all hope, life, and purpose.
Reading City Church recognizes that we are growing an expression of church from the diverse practice and prayers of a 2000 year old community. Since the birth of the church, she has been at her best when she has taken the position of servanthood above power, when she has been willing to suffer and give everything for the One they loved and His mission. We acknowledge the church has historically had both destructive and life-giving roots. We choose to be honest, humble and transparent about her (including our own) shortcomings while recognizing many of the great servants, movements & traditions that we continue to grow from today.
The church is presently in the midsts of a major transtion. In the states, she has been in a steady decline in numbers and is predicted to be in the single percentile digits by the year 2020. This decline has been happening while the church has been spending more money in marketing than at any other time in history. While leaders have tried hard to be exciting & relevant, a whole church culture has been unwittingly created that seems unrelatable to much of the growing unchurched population. The growth of the church can no longer depend on the clever ideas of man but must instead, rest upon an honest communual effort to rediscover her Biblical purpose & function. The modern church is, in a word; broken. This is a great place to be if she has the courage to admit it for God has always been attracted to broken people and systems from the time of our creation. Our brokenness gives opportunity for His life to grow and His glory alone to be known.
Through our brokeness, the life of Christ grows. This is true in the church, this is true in our individual lives which make up the church, and we believe this is true as well, for the city of Reading. Jesus said that life comes from knowing the one true God and from knowing Him (John 17:3). He said that He came to give life to the world (John 6:33). The gospel writer, John, wrote that in Jesus was life and that this life was the light of all mankind (John 1:4). As the church learns to align herself under the leadership and rule of Jesus, His life brings healing, light, meaning and beauty out of our brokenness and the brokenness of others around us. This is a life that is unshakable. It cannot be quelched by trials and continues to grow through sufferings, even breaking free of death itself.