We are called to be a place to CONNECT (a place of REFUGE), for the purpose to GROW (be TRANSFORMATION) and to GO (to PARTNER with God and share Christ with others).
Connections Community Church is built upon the desire to be people of God’s unconditional love, where lives are transformed and changed to partner with God in order to accomplish His will in lives in our community, country and world. The word church, or ecclesia in the original text, means those who are “called out”. The church is not a place; it is a people who have been called by God for a certain task of speaking hope, love and truth into lives of those around us.
"And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives."
The Biblical metaphor for a church of refuge is found in the story told in I Samuel 22:1-2. David was hiding from King Saul in the Cave of Adullam. Saul had heard that David had been anointed by God to be the next king, so feeling threatened; he was pursuing David in order to kill him. As David hid from Saul, 400 men came to join him. The men who joined him were family members, friends and former soldiers of Saul’s.
Adullam is located in the Valley of Elah
The Bible says that these men were in distress, in debt and discontented. They were running from something and trying to find purpose, hope and a reason to live. David welcomed them, loved them and trained them. These same men, who joined David, later became known as David’s Mighty Men, the greatest fighting force Israel has ever known. This story can also be seen as a metaphor for what the church of Jesus Christ is called to look like in our day. The church can be a place where the broken, hurting and hopeless can find a reason to live.
When you read this story, you’ll notice that first, David provided a REFUGE... a place to CONNECT. At Connections, we call it a safe place to CONNECT. He welcomed all of these men. This reminds us of Jesus who rather than spending time with just the religious people of his day, he spent time with tax collectors, prostitutes and those who were not always welcomed by the church. A church of refuge needs to be a place where God’s unconditional love is taught and modeled by all who attend, where everyone feels comfortable connecting and reconnecting to God and other followers of Jesus Christ. Everyone is welcomed at Connections, no matter where they are in life..
Second, David inspired them to be TRANSFORMED, to GROW in their faith. Psalm 57 is the only scripture, that we know of, that was written by David during his time in the cave of Adullam. In this passage we can see that David inspired GROWTH in his men by reminding them that God loved them unconditionally, His purposes included them, His kingdom (God’s reign) will come on earth, that worship is essential and that there will be a time to leave (GO) the cave in order to share the love of God with others.
Connections Community Church is a place of Refuge… a place to CONNECT, where transformation and GROWTH is expected and a place where everyone is welcomed. Connections Community Church believes in the inspired and infallible Word of God… the Bible. We are here to encourage and be an advocate with others in their walk with God, helping them stay spiritually accountable. Sin (which means to miss the mark) separates man from God. Any spiritual journey that does not address sin’s destructive power will not result in spiritual growth and transformation. If we are real followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to leave the “Cave” the same way we came in. We come into the presence of His unconditional love not simply to bask, but to be changed. Those men didn’t spend time decorating the cave… it was only a place where their lives were to be changed. Our buildings and places of gathering are simply the “Caves” where we come together to be changed and equipped for God’s glory.
Third, David inspired these men to boldly proclaim a new kingdom. The church of today needs to demonstrate that there is a new King in town! His name is Jesus. With this in mind, we strive to GO into PARTNERSHIP with God. By following Jesus, by acting like him and by allowing our lives to be shaped by His Holy Spirit who lives within us, we can partner with God to accomplish His will in the world. When God does what He does, He does it through people. The people that He uses to help establish His reign are those who have found Him to be loving and trustworthy and whose lives His Spirit has transformed.
The model that we use to remind us of these three elements of Refuge Theology… CONNECT, GROW and GO… is to keep us on track and constantly aware of why we exist.
The church may meet in a cathedral, theater, a storefront or in our case... a bar, but wherever it meets, it is simply a Cave where broken lives are to be transformed in order to partner with God.