This section is aimed at giving you some information that will help you to know what kind of church we are:
In this we are searching to be rooted in a definitive belief in the Good News of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, whilst remaining Open to explore the ideas and theologies of others in peaceful dialogue.
We believe that the church is to be rooted in an ancient story and that this is to be outworked in a contemporary context.
We aim to build a church community that celebrates the differences between women and men whilst releasing them to be all that God has called them to be.
In this environment there are no ministries or tasks in which women are limited. We will continue to teach that such equality should exist in the home.
The Bible has often been misused in this important area and we hope to offer a clear sense of what the whole of Scripture brings to our attention. Taken correctly we see that the gospel was revolutionary good news for both men and women.
Everyone is Valuable to God
Throughout history the church has often failed to express the inclusion that exists in the gospel message.
We understand that life can be messy and that many issues are more complicated than our media often portrays.
In light of this we aim to minister to, and include, all without considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, religion, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, or social standing.
We understand that Scripture offers a challenge to us all in this regard and we trust that having open hearts will draw more people to its challenge.
How we see the Bible
Being inspired by the Holy Spirit the Bible is a living book and we count it as an essential guide in both personal and church life.
We aim to read the Bible in a consistent and informed way giving consideration to its context, its original meaning, its writing style, and the historic teaching of the church.
There is a temptation in some circles to approach the text as a flat book thereby seeing merely the words on the page.
In light of this, whilst accepting the the Bible as the word of God, we look to study it in a meaningful and nuanced way.
We do not see theological study as at odds with other academic disciplines.
In this we welcome the findings of historians and scientists in helping us to understand the world that God has made.
How we see Giving
We hope to become a community that sees the whole of life as something that God wants to redeem through the gospel.
This includes finance. Unfortunately the Church has often taught this in an incomplete way. In light of this we are committed to:
1. Not taking regular offerings as part of our worship. We prefer to allow people to follow the scriptural lead of deciding what they should give in their own hearts.
2. Teach that tithing was an Old Testament cultural practice that is not mandatory for today’s church.
We encourage people to practice regular, prayerful giving as part of their own pilgrimage. We encourage people to see giving as being wider than just giving to the church.
We encourage people to see that generosity is a good thing.
A box is provided at the back of the church to assist people in giving. Forms are available for those that wish to giftaid their support.
We will occasionally take offerings for particular needs, usually those outside of the church.
Aire Valley Community Church are looking to build a team of leaders who look after every area of church life. At present this team consists of Joanne, Simon, Beverley, & Alan.
We are also looking to continue to release people to take responsibility of different areas of church life.
Given that everything is spiritual we look to see God involved in all parts of our lives.
We are keen to see a full expression of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. We see this as including, but not limited to, what are commonly known as the gifts of the Spirit.
We see these outworked in a way that respects the individual and at work in a wider context of our spiritual journey. We believe that church history shows a wide range of expressions that we aim to explore.
These might include such things as silence & fasting.
We are looking to create appropriate spaces for such expressions.
This may not include the Sunday morning meeting, which we see as a family time open to the wider community.
Whilst we are not a member of a denomination we do foster links with other churches and are keen to make connections with groups who are on a similar journey.
We are part of the local ecumenical group.
We see mission as being more than simply telling people the gospel.
Drawing from the Lord’s Prayer we would want to be part of God’s kingdom coming to the earth.
In light of this we take the call of Christ to live outside of ourselves as important.
Our mission is to express in everyway the message and the implications of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We see this done in many ways but to include:
Social Action – Meeting the direct needs of people.
Ecology – Looking to be responsible inhabitants of God’s world.
Proclamation – We would see this as taking genuine opportunities to share the Jesus story through relationship.
A Voice for the Oppressed – We look to be part of the wider conversation in speaking for those who are marginalised.
It is very difficult to find the correct words to fully express these thoughts but we hope that this section has been helpful.
We are aiming to follow an incarnational model of church. The main themes of the incarnation were seen in Jesus becoming like the humanity he came to redeem.
We need to be a church that puts more energy into ‘becoming’ than we do into merely ‘talking’.
This may be best summed up by the quote from Harper Lee’s book To Kill A Mockingbird:
‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it’
If you want to know more we can recommend the following books:
· Rob Bell ‘Love Wins’
· Tom Wright ‘For Everyone’ series
· Brian McLaren ‘New Kind of Christian
· Rob Bell ‘Velvet Elvis
· Tom Wright ‘The Challenge of Jesus’
· Brian McLaren ‘Finding Our Way Again’
· Lesslie Newbigin ‘The Gospel in a Pluralist Society’
· Walter Brueggemann ‘The Prophetic Imagination’
· Shane Claibourne ‘The Irresistible Revolution’
· Tony Jones ‘The Sacred Way’
· John Goldingay ‘Old Testament for Everyone’
· Scott Mcknight ‘How to pray with the church’
· Peter Enns ‘Inspiration and Incarnation
Who we are influenced by
NT Wright Lesslie Newbigin
Rob Bell Shane Claiborne
Graham Cray Walter Brueggemann
Brian McLaren David Harvey
There are lots of words used to describe this type of church including emergent, emerging, or missional. All of these terms carry a variety of meanings not all of which truly express what we are trying to achieve. In light of this we are choosing to call ourselves a Rooted-Open Church based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, England.