Friday, 13 May 2016

LifeStream Europe: Vision and Core Values & Theology

New Wine in Europe enters a new season under a new name: LifeStream Europe - internationals living out God's Kingdom

During 2015-2016 I was part of the interim-leadership team that guided this transition. Together with Francis Noordanus, I wrote a new Vision statement, and I added a few paragraphs on our Core Values & Theology: How does LifeStream Europe understand the Kingdom of God?

Our Vision

We want to join in God’s mission by ministering among internationals in Europe

The growing number of internationals from around the world arriving in Europe creates new opportunities for mission, and we believe God is at work in these migrations. Among those coming to this post-Christian continent are Christian migrants who bring a richness of faith and gifting, sometimes with boldness and confident spirituality. Many others are non-Christians, but often are  open to Christ.
We want to join in what we believe to be a movement of the Holy Spirit on this continent, and feel called to minister to and through English-speaking international Christians in Europe.

We want to see internationals living out the Kingdom of God

Our vision is to see international Christians living out the Kingdom of God, proclaiming and demonstrating the wholeness of God’s coming reign in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We desire to see multi-cultural communities drawn deeply into the love of God and engaging in God’s mission within their international contexts, bearing witness in word and deed to God’s promise of healing for the nations and wholeness for all creation.

Our Mission

Therefore, our mission is to encourage, empower and equip international Christians and their churches
·         to live as multi-cultural communities that express God’s Kingdom of all tribes and nations, and
·         to engage in God’s mission in their international contexts, proclaiming the already present and yet coming Kingdom of God in the power of the Spirit.

We do this by:
·         being a wider community of support, building relational links among international Christians, churches and organizations sharing a focus on Kingdom-shaped mission in the power of the Spirit
·         sharing testimonies of what God is doing in Europe and discerning how international Christians and churches may engage in this;
·         providing training and inspiration for Christians, who are bridging cultures, to stand in their faith as witnesses to Jesus Christ and the coming of the Kingdom of God;
·         seeking and receiving the promised empowerment of the Spirit;
·         helping international churches to strengthen Spirit-filled fellowship, ministry, and worship in a multi-cultural setting.

Our Core Values & Beliefs

Kingdom & Cross

LifeStream Europe is committed to both the theology and the practice of the Kingdom of God, and the gospel of grace in Christ.

God’s plan of salvation moves from creation to new creation, and his reign brings wholeness of life for all creation. As God’s Kingdom people, the worldwide church is commissioned and empowered by the Spirit to proclaim and demonstrate the coming of this kingdom.
We want to see the church actively involved in this mission, bringing ‘the presence of God’s future’ to our (host) nations, our cities, our neighbourhoods, and our hearts. We believe that the wholeness of God’s Kingdom translates to ministries of reconciliation, social and ecological justice, healing (physical, emotional, and social) and deliverance, and to cultural and political engagement.

However there is no Kingdom without the cross, no Kingdom people without the forgiveness of sin by grace. Proclaiming the Kingdom is all about leading people to the King, Jesus Christ– a king who died on the cross for our sin, and was raised to life again - to receive forgiveness of sin, and a new life in Christ. It is through grace alone that we are adopted as sons and daughters of the Father – in the Son and through the Spirit of sonship.

Now & Not Yet of the Kingdom of God (inaugurated eschatology)

We believe that the Kingdom of God has come in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, but still awaits its consummation at his return. Then heaven will descend on earth, and God will dwell in his creation.
Therefore, the Kingdom of God is both present and future, and the church lives in an ‘interim time’:
- we live from ‘the powers of the future age’ (Hebrews 6:5)
- while the powers of ‘this present evil age’ continue around us: suffering, injustice and evil has not come to an end.

In practical terms, this means for instance that when we pray for the sick, some will be healed and others will not.

Some Christians respond to this tension by saying that we must not expect to see the miracles of the Kingdom happening in the present time (a delayed eschatology). Others triumphantly declare that the wholeness of the Kingdom should always be experienced demonstrably in the here and now (a realized eschatology). In LifeStream Europe we embrace the tension of the now and the not yet of the Kingdom (inaugurated eschatology), anticipating to see God’s future breaking into our present time, but knowing that we are still awaiting the future inheritance of the Kingdom of God.

Word & Spirit

We are committed to the authority of the Bible as the written word of God, while also seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and learning to hear and obey the voice of God in our lives. Therefore, we are committed to
- both studying the Bible, valuing theological scholarship and education
and seeking the release of the gifts and workings of the indwelling Spirit, as an experienced reality in our lives.
Prophetic words and teachings are always subjected to the authority of the written word of God, and the spiritual leadership in our midst.

Mission & communion

We are committed to the church’s mission to proclaim and demonstrate the Kingdom of God, but living out the Kingdom begins with, and revolves around, our intimate communion with the Father, as his beloved sons and daughters.
- Creation is meant to share in the love of our triune God, to glorify and be glorified, and find its deepest fulfilment in its Creator.
- Mission, therefore, is all about restoring mankind and all creation in the loving embrace of God, through Christ.
We seek the presence of God, and our deep communion with Him. To have communion with God simultaneously means to have communion with his new Kingdom people, our brothers and sisters in the family of Christ. The church is where the gospel is incarnated, and where we are nurtured as disciples and witnesses, living out the Kingdom of God.

Unity & Diversity

As God’s Kingdom people, drawn from many tribes and nations, we celebrate both our unity and our diversity.
- We are baptized in one Spirit and made into one family – the Spirit transcends boundaries of race, gender, and culture, and transforms us into a spiritual house to be a royal priesthood for God.
- We are a colourful family, diverse in our cultural background, and we celebrate this diversity as an enrichment and as a gift of our Creator, that glorifies Him. Together with all the saints – from all nations and tribes – we grow in the knowledge of the love of Christ and the fullness of God. Each culture enriches and contributes, yet at the same time each culture is flawed and subjected to the values of the Kingdom of God. Walking and learning together, we grow in our understanding of the culture of God’s Kingdom.

As a network of international Christians in Europe, we are also diverse in our denominational backgrounds and therefore in leadership styles, worship styles, and church characteristics. This, too, we embrace - welcoming all who share our commitment to the theology and practice of the inaugurated Kingdom of God, and seeking to grow and learn together.

Check the website of LifeStream Europe.

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