A culture is essentially a set of beliefs and behaviours embraced by a group of people. At Immanuel we seek to reflect the heart of the Father as reflected by the person of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. The culture which is at the heart of Immanuel is one which seeks to re-present Jesus to a world which seems to have got Him all wrong. His way of doing and being is what we call the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom. Here is a diagram which we hope will explain the culture we endeavour to create at Immanuel, followed by a brief explanation of each part:
The Glory of His Presence
We believe that God is omnipresent (He is everywhere) and that we as Christians carry His presence. This is a glorious privilege. We also believe in the manifest presence of God where God chooses to make His presence known in diverse ways. This can be through the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-10), through visible signs and wonders (Exodus 19:18), through His voice (Exodus 19:20-22), or indeed in many different ways in which He chooses to reveal Himself – whether inwardly or outwardly.
Supernatural Workings of God, Transforming Lives
We believe that God is active and powerful and thus works in ways which may seem different from that of the world. We believe that through God’s power, people’s lives are transformed in ways that may often be inexplicable in natural or scientific terms.
Atmosphere of Faith
We are a community of people defined primarily by the fact that we are believers. This means we value and cultivate faith-filled expectation that God’s powerful interventions will be seen in situations of need, trouble and crisis.
We are a people forgiven by the blood of Jesus and reconciled to the Father on the basis of Jesus’ substitutionary death in our place. Because we have freely received this gift of the Father we act with grace towards others.
Love & Honour
We believe that all people are created in the image of God and are equally loved by the Father. This means that we don’t just treat people according to what they have or haven’t done, but we treat them primarily according to who they are. We call this honour – loving people unconditionally and calling them to be powerful, responsible people.
Atmosphere of Restoration
We believe that Immanuel is a place of rest and restoration for the tired, for those who are burnt out, and those who are hurt. This has been the testimony of our house, and it is a testimony we want to see repeated, because there is no sin too deep for God to restore.
Lifestyle of Mission
We believe that we are a people sent by God into this world, aware of the fact that God wants us to partner with Him to release His Kingdom (essentially the points outlined here) in everyday situations. Every believer is capable to be a representative of Jesus and we believe in the baptism of the Spirit to empower each of us for ministry beyond the four walls of a church building.
Sons & Daughters of Royalty
As Christians we are included in the family of God who is the King above all other kings, and therefore, as sons and daughters of royalty, we have all the privileges and responsibilities of being God’s children.
Risk is to be Celebrated as Much as Success
Hebrews 11 lists the heros of the faith, some of whom received what they were believing for, but many did not. Many believed but never received. Yet we see them celebrated alongside those which we might call the “success stories”. We therefore value risks taken by people in faith, as much as we value stories of success.
We believe that it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). We believe that we serve a generous God who has given to us in the most generous and diverse ways, foremost among which is the giving of His Son in love (John 3:16). We also believe that everything we have is a gift from Him. In light of this we can be generous stewards of His resources on earth without fear of lack.
We believe that Jesus Christ liberates us from the strongholds of sin and religion (man’s attempts to make themselves right with God) to live as people created in the image and purposes of God, forgiven, adopted, and put in right standing with Him.
Thankfulness is the response of hearts that have understood the great measure of His love for us – demonstrated most clearly of all through the Cross (Romans 5:8). Thankfulness is therefore of great importance to us as a community and we believe that we are called to “[give] thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20 ESV).
Hope & the Goodness of God
We believe that God is wholly good at all times. In every one of His interactions with us, it is always marked with goodness (Psalm 25:10). This is perhaps one of the most difficult truths to hold to when hard times come our way. Nevertheless, the Scriptures are clear, declaring on numerous occasions that He is good (Psalm 118:1, Matthew 5:44-45).
Family & Community
God is Trinity (tri-unity or 3 persons in 1). This means that by very definition, God is a community. We therefore place a high value on relationships with each other and believe that our highest callings are lived out in teams and community with love as the “glue” which holds us together. This means we may not agree at all times on all things, but because we love each other we can remain together and function together.