The Advent exists to proclaim the freeing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples wherever God has placed us.
What is the gospel?
The gospel is the power of God for salvation, the word of promise proclaimed by God to sinners. It is the word that brings us to God every day of our lives, the word that fastens us to him. It brings life itself to all who hear the word and believe, transforming us into a vibrant community of changed people. (Romans 1:16)
What is the power of the gospel, and from what are we freed?
The power of the gospel is the power of God’s spoken word: as God speaks, the thing that he speaks comes into existence. When God promises such a thing as “I am the Lord your God,” that which is spoken and promised is brought into reality. This word frees the one who hears from the bondages of sin, the world, the flesh, and death itself. (Exodus 20:1)
What is a disciple, and who makes them?
A disciple of Christ is one who hears the gospel, and is changed by its power. A disciple is a hearer, and the gospel and its freeing power makes disciples. Disciples then go to the places where God has placed them. Through disciples, God makes other disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Where has God placed us?
God has placed us in the places where we are. We are placed in Birmingham, in our places of work, and in our homes. We are placed there as spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, citizens, employers and employees. We are placed in social circles and community groups, amidst friends, acquaintances, enemies and strangers. Our hearts are stirred to be joined to our brothers and sisters across our street, our nation and the world.
What is a visioning process, and why is the Advent doing it?
We have begun a “visioning process,” to discern prayerfully God’s vision for the Advent. Being aware of all that we have received from generations of Adventers who have given generously of their time, talent and treasure, as well as a strong succession of leadership with faithful preaching and teaching: we want to respond to these gifts and remain good stewards of them. The visioning process gives the opportunity to collect the prayerful wisdom of many, as we move forward in the years to come. At a foundational level, we want to make sure our resources (our time, talent and treasure) align with our identity and purpose.
“I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5