Our identity is wrapped up in Jesus Christ, what He taught and did, and what He is doing in the world today. Three descriptions help to explain:
Disciples of Jesus Christ
We tend to shy away from the word “Christian” because it can mean almost anything these days. But, a “disciple” is a follower, a student, an apprentice — someone who is completely devoted to his leader. We believe there is only one leader amongst all the leaders of history who deserves our complete devotion: Jesus Christ.
Jesus identified Himself as the only source of spiritual nourishment, the only source of spiritual light, the only access to God, the only way to escape the destruction of death, the only way to get to Heaven, the only truth that reconciles us with God, the only giver of eternal life — and His life and miracles confirm these claims.
So, we believe the only way to keep from wasting our lives is to follow Him. He defines what we should believe! He defines how we should live!
By definition, a disciple of Jesus Christ is actively engaged in becoming like Him — studying His life and teaching and methods (Luke 6:40), has a high level of commitment to living the life He modeled and commanded (Luke 14:27; cf., 33; Eph 4:1), and is committed to making more disciples for Him.
Family of Families
Jesus has given us — and all who believe in Him — a mission. The mission is to love what Jesus loves: the church. The church is the mission.
And because our mission is the church — it’s strength and expansion — it is crucial that we faithfully plant and nurture churches to become what Jesus intended them to be: a family of families.
Disciples are called to join themselves and their families with other families into an authentic community — one that looks more like a family than a corporation (1 Timothy 5:1-2), one where the older strengthen the younger (Titus 2) and one that is led by men and women who first manage their own families well (1 Timothy 3:5; Titus 2).
In other words, the church should be an extension of individual families. And this doesn’t exclude single people or the spouses of non-Christians. Those who don’t have a strong support system at home especially need the encouragement and leadership of a healthy church—a family of families.
Church of Churches
Being a family of families in no way implies we are trying to isolate ourselves — our mission is not only to strengthen the church, but also to expand. So, a key aspect of our identity is to be an ever-growing network of churches — a church of churches.
In the New Testament we don’t see isolated churches. We see simple churches meeting primarily in homes, all part of a network of churches (e.g., Romans 16; 1 Corinthians 16; Colossians 4).
In one sense, we are not unique in that we hold to the historic Christian faith that has flourished throughout the world over the past 2,000 years. We consider all who seek to faithfully proclaim the truth contained in the 66 books of the Bible to be our brothers and sisters in Christ.
But we are somewhat unique in that we are seeking to lay aside the traditions and forms of the modern church and return to the simplicity and purity of the earliest church — as described in the New Testament. In order to serve Christ faithfully, every generation must evaluate our forms and methods in order to realign ourselves with the patterns and traditions found in the New Testament. (For more, see “What We Believe,” “What We’re Trying to Accomplish” and “What We’re Asking You to Do”.)
We call ourselves CityChurch Lawrence because we exist to serve our Lord in our city. Most of us have lived in Lawrence for many years, and we are prayerfully asking Jesus Christ to transform our city through His Church.