Identity is the subject of much conversation today. People are continually trying to assert their identity on the basis of race, nationality, sexuality, gender or religion and debates carry on raging over areas such as “identity politics” and “gender identity”. It seems that our society is always asking the question, “who am I?” as people grow increasingly insecure about both their individual and corporate identity. Everyone is searching for something concrete, both for themselves as individuals and also longing for belonging within a group, a tribe or a community.
As followers of Jesus and members of His church we have discovered and are certain that our true identity is “in Christ”. We can be completely secure and confident in who we are and where we belong. We know that our identity – our “spiritual DNA” – comes not from within ourselves, from others or popular rhetoric but rather from God and His amazing love for us.
When we started The Point fifteen years ago, we were asking the same questions about the identity of the church – asking Him to show us what kind of church He wanted us to be – and perhaps more importantly, what kind of people He wanted us to be. We were asking things like,
“What is our spiritual DNA? What is our unique identity as children of God, called to be His church, in this place and at this time?”
We were a small group of eight adults and five children, setting out on an adventure together. We had a blank sheet of paper and permission to experiment. All we knew was that God had called us to be “real people, real church”, with Jesus at the centre, completely dependent on the Holy Spirit, longing to be a transforming presence throughout Mid Sussex.
We felt God give us the language to articulate our identity in those early days, which was to be: Mission-Shaped, Worship-Centred, Word-Inspired, Holy Spirit-Empowered and Life-Changing. These words helped us to shape the following values i.e. the kind of people we wanted to be: Welcoming, Prayerful, Whole-Hearted, Servant-Hearted, Generous, Relational and Adventurous!
So, as we approach our fifteen-year anniversary celebrations in October, it will be wonderful to re-visit the subject of our true identity – our spiritual DNA. We will be exploring some of the key biblical identities that Scripture teaches us about who we are as followers of Jesus. First and foremost, our ultimate identity, described in Romans 8, is that through Jesus we have been “adopted” by the Father and we have become children of God. The Bible also describes us as sheep who know the Good Shepherd’s (God the Father’s) voice, as the temple of the Holy Spirit (His dwelling place), and as members of the Body of Christ (the Church).
Also, we will be hosting a special Live Music and Arts Café on Sunday 29 September on the theme “Where did our DNA come from?” with guest speaker Dr Orson Wedgewood.
It is a really exciting season in the life of the church when we will be reminded of who we are in Christ as we dig deep into some “identity theology” together, through our preaching series at the 10:30 gatherings. Please join us and be part of the journey.