We believe that God desires to grow and expand his kingdom through the work of the church. This is rooted in our understanding of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), where Jesus commands his followers to “go and make disciples.” Additionally, the book of Acts describes both the mission of God and the role of the church as it participates in His mission; beginning in Jerusalem, the good news of Jesus is spread east and west, north and south, to the very ends of the earth. What would it look like if our Tapestry family took a similar aim with the good news and we endeavoured to spread it east and west, north and south; spread it from Tuscany to Bowness, to Cochrane, to Marda Loop and beyond?
Over the past two years the elders team and leadership teams have dared to dream and have longed in prayer concerning where God would take us as a church family. We believed two years ago that our first step was to clearly describe who we are as a church and what we are about. Through this process and much prayer we crafted this statement:
A Gospel Family. Being Transformed by Jesus. For the Blessing or Our City.
From this statement everything at Tapestry flows. There is nothing we do that does not fit within this statement; and to further break down this statement, we have come up with three primary values at Tapestry: Family, Discipleship, and Mission.
In addition to our identity statement, the elders team has outlined what it looks like to be transformed by Jesus. Along with our identity statement you may also hear the phrase “making disciples who make disciples” uttered during our worship gatherings, missional communities, and on our website and social media. Admittedly this statement is somewhat redundant, because to be a disciple, by its proper definition, also means you are a disciple maker. However redundant this statement may be, the statement emphasizes our desire as a church to make disciples. After identifying this priority for our church, the elders worked to put together a system that helps identify where people are in terms of discipleship.
With the hope of clarity and simplicity, the elders have identified four areas in which any disciple moves from the category of a seeker (not-yet believer) to a believer, from a believer to a disciple, and from a disciple to a disciple maker. These areas are: Gospel Fluency, Gospel Community, Gospel Nourishment, and Gospel Power. For more information on this process check out our upcoming series on our discipleship blog: makingdisciples.ca.
After crafting a statement that defines who Tapestry is and after outlining a process by which people connected with Tapestry grow spiritually in discipleship, the next step was to create space and opportunity for that process to happen. This is where Missional Communities come into play.
Missional Communities will serve as the primary vehicle for discipleship at Tapestry Church. If we are to take the great commission seriously, and if we are to live up to our desire to be about making disciples who make disciples, then we need a system in place for everyone connected to Tapestry to be discipled. We believe that the best place for that to happen is within a Missional Community (MC). A MC is built upon our three values at Tapestry: Family, Discipleship, and Mission.
Each MC will live out our identity as a gospel family by regularly meeting together for a meal, sharing life’s triumphs and trials, praying together (and for one another), and simply ‘doing life together’ beyond the time slots of MCs and worship gatherings.
Discipleship happens best within the context of relationship. Therefore, as we come together as a gospel family, we provide for ourselves a space for authentic discipleship to take place. It is in this intimate space that we are enabled to share with each other and with ourselves our true walks with God, encouraging one another towards a life centered on the gospel where we live a life of repentance and genuine belief.
While we believe that MCs will more naturally gravitate towards Family and Discipleship, the emphasis on Mission serves as a constant reminder that the gospel not only has the power to save, but also has the purpose of redeeming the world and creating a new humanity. Each MC, through prayer and discussion, will choose a specific geographical region, relational network, or something similar as a point of missional emphasis (ie. Tuscany, Jumping Pound Ridge, gamers, young families, etc.). For more information on how to select a missions emphasis in your MC, read Brad Watson’s article on the subject: Three Types of Common Misson
The missional aspect of our MCs, when coupled with the togetherness of being a gospel family and the spiritual progression towards true discipleship, will serve as the catalyst for future growth at Tapestry, which brings us back to where we are now.
Our desire to be ‘A Gospel Family, Being Transformed by Jesus, for the Blessing of Our City’ and our commitment to “make disciples who make disciples” will prepare us for the path God is laying before our church. During our last FOCUS Sunday, I shared that it felt like God was asking us to ready ourselves to say “Yes” whenever He called on our church to move in a particular direction. Over the past six-eight months we have continued to refine our discipleship processes with our Kid’s Sunday School, Youth Group, and now our launch of Missional Communities this month. Additionally, our elders and leadership teams have been praying for God to not only reveal our future direction, but more importantly to ready ourselves to follow faithfully wherever it is God leads.
As an elders team it is our heartfelt conviction that God has pointed in a direction and is asking us to follow in obedience. I am reminded of the people of Israel stopping on the edge of the promised land, sending spies to search out the promised land and bring back a report. If you remember this story of Joshua and Caleb from Numbers 13-14, then you know that the Israelites were frightened by the spies report of giants and strong men in the land. In fact, through their fear, the people of Israel turned on Moses and Aaron and grumbled to themselves even arguing to go back to their slave-masters in Egypt. They were afraid to go where God was leading them. So, our question today is: Where is God leading Tapestry? And will we say “Yes” to God.
Simply put, God is asking us to make disciples who make disciples; this hasn’t changed. Yet, specifically, we believe that God is asking Tapestry Church to multiply ourselves. You may ask, “How is this possible?” or “How will we go about it?” Well, we believe that God is asking our church to multiply ourselves in four key areas: Multiply Disciples, Multiply Leaders, Multiply Communities, and Multiply Gatherings.
These four areas work progressively towards the ultimate goal of multiplying churches. We believe that as we make and multiply disciples into leaders, we will be preparing our Missional Communities to multiply into new homes in existing communities (and even into new communities throughout NW Calgary). Furthermore, it is our belief that as disciples, leaders, and MCs multiply, we will have the opportunity in the not-so-distant future to multiply Worship Gatherings and plant new churches.
Does this sound lofty? Yes. It is lofty. Is it more than we can handle? Absolutely. Is it where God is leading us? We strongly believe so. Despite popular belief, God is in the business of giving us more than we can handle.
So where do we start? Well, the truth is that we have already started. Our Missional Communities will serve, not only as the primary vehicle for discipleship at Tapestry, but they will also serve as the catalyst for growth and multiplication. Our hope and prayer is that in every MC the gospel will implant a missions-minded DNA, which propels the group not only towards supporting and walking with one another, but additionally towards creating an environment that is open to newcomers and not-yet believers, while portraying genuine Christian love in the midst of community as we sojourn as followers of Christ.
I have tried to put myself in the shoes of the Israelites as they stand on the edge of the promised land in Numbers 13-14, and as I do I wonder to myself if they missed the point all together. God wasn’t calling them to defeat the giants and conquer the cities because that was His job. Rather, God was calling Israel to simply cross the Jordan River and take a step into the promised land. That step would inevitably lead to another, and to another beyond that, but with the benefit of thousands of years of hindsight it is clear to me that God was just asking them to say, “Yes.”
How Can You Say “Yes” today?
- Join and actively engage in a Missional Community
- Ask your MC leader how you can specifically serve your community
- Encourage others, within and beyond Tapestry, to be a part of taking these next steps as a church family.