Leading Christian Communities
crucifixion. It was a divine extension of grace to the community.
The body of Christ embodied in communities of faith demonstrates Jesus’ continuing presence on earth. Matthew is the only Gospel to describe the gathered community of faith, or church, as ekklesia (Matthew 16:17-18). More than merely an assembly, the church—the community of faith—is at its fullest a place of oneness with the risen Christ, in communion with the Triune God as well as all the saints. It is God’s grace made visible in the world.
Communities of grace are grounded in Christian doctrine—an understanding of God and God’s grace—in a way that is vital and not archaic. Such communities participate in God’s reign through receiving and sharing grace in relationship to the Triune God and one another. Baptism indicates acceptance of the forgiveness of sins, justification by grace, and initiation into the body of Christ.
When they are open to the Spirit’s presence and pursuing faithful practices, evangelistic communities of grace participate in God’s reign, share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and invite creation to receive God’s grace and redemption. This kind of leadership is needed for the renewal of the church. The leadership of the communities of grace will invite individuals to faith in the Triune God, form them in discipleship, and send them not only as individuals but also as communities with specific tasks of witnessing to and participating in God’s unfolding reign.