Harris Creek’s Discipleship Philosophy

In American culture today, there are a lot of opinions about what the function and role of the Church is in society. A big question every church must answer is, “Why does the Church exist?” We believe there are four primary functions the Church is called to serve within the context of the city in which it is placed. These four functions are community, worship, equipping, and mission. Every church must be a place where biblical community exists, God-honoring worship happens, equipping is provided, and mission is embodied. While each role is essential, the question, “Why does the Church exist?” still begs for a more concrete answer.

The way Harris Creek answers this question is by saying that we exist to seek the welfare of the city. This is our mission statement and what we believe our divine purpose is as the Body of Christ. When we say we exist to embody this mission, we are not saying that mission should take priority over community, equipping, or worship. Again, each function is vital and necessary for a church to be the Church. Each purpose is deeply connected and inspired by the others. What we mean when we say we exist to seek the welfare of the city is that we believe this mission serves as the driving force for how we interact as a community, how we participate in worship, and how we approach equipping.

Perhaps the best example of how these functions relate to one another is found in the image of a tree. An apple farmer would say that an apple tree exists to produce apples. That is why it is planted and that is its primary function. But an apple tree cannot fulfill this mission of producing fruit without roots, a trunk, branches, and forces of nature (i.e., water, sunlight, etc.). Like the apple tree, we believe the church exists to fulfill God’s mission of redemption in the world. However, we cannot live on mission and produce fruit (the apple) without the deep relationships of community (the roots), the solid teaching of equipping (the trunk), and the outstretched arms of worship (the branches). You will see that our discipleship philosophy seeks to fulfill these four vital functions of the Church; however, the measuring stick by which we will know whether or not we are accomplishing what God has for us will be the way we go about fulfilling the mission of God. After all, Jesus said in John 15:16, “I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit.”

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