Acts 2:42 – 47
42. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
We believe God desires to show this world that His body still knows how to “Do Life Together,”.
We are adamant about the body of Christ being built up into a spiritual house, and deeply desire to see people become strong disciples and to be released into their God-given destiny. This process is led completely by a partnership with the Holy Spirit.
How do we accomplish the mission God has placed before us?
Four key words: Live, Devote, Celebrate, and Meet. We desire to express the love and community of Jesus through:
• When We Gather we Live honest and transparent lives that are honorable and pleasing to God. We desire to show our testimonies and not just tell people about them. There are people who don’t need to know where you are. They need to know how you got there. Not just your successes, but your failures.
• When We Gather we Devote ourselves to teach, fellowship, eat and pray together. When We Gather loves being together. We also love to invite people to come and be a part of what God is doing amongst us. When we gather together we will come to hear the Word of the Lord. Not just through one man, but the collective priesthood. Bring your bibles and be prepared with a spiritual song, to offer your spiritual gifts, and to exhort the body. Bring some food because you all know we like to break bread together; come with an open heart prepared to engage God in a conversation.
• When We Gather we Celebrate and proclaim the Kingdom of God to our community. When We Gather loves to party. Let’s be honest. Can we not get together, have some fun, and really engage with our creator. Let us celebrate with testimonies of God’s goodness in our everyday lives. How has God been good at work, at your home, and in the line at Walmart? Let us begin to open our mouths, hands, and hearts to what God has done, is doing, and will do. This community needs to hear not what we stand against, but what we stand for. We stand for the fact that God will break chains, open eyes, mend broken hearts, and set the captive free. We believe the favor of God will be on our side, today and always.
• When We Gather we Meet the needs of those within our areas of influence. When We Gather will meet the needs of not only those within our relational circle but also within our community. We pledge financially, emotionally, spiritually, and corporately to meet the community’s needs, whatever they may be. With wisdom and grace, we desire to touch the lives of those in our community, not just to build our church. We are so excited about getting out into the streets. We regularly host Prayer and Worship Gatherings. During our gatherings, we will move as the body of Christ to meet needs at various hospitals, nursing homes, parks and other areas of our community to share Christ’s love.
We desire to simply love people. Some people can’t be loved without meeting their need. We have to be willing to open ourselves up to this world. This is living. This is life. This is the life Jesus came to give us-not more rules to try to live up to, but more life to share.
As we sat down with the few core accountability at the beginning we began to notice several ideas were continuously being brought to the table. These ideas continued to structure our conversations, hopes and dreams about When We Gather. We have laid down the core values that will lead us:
A Culture of Worship – We know God is desiring a place where people can be free to worship and grow into the likeness of Jesus. Worship is not just music. Worship can be someone dancing, painting, sitting in the back writing a song or poem, or giving a spoken word. Worship can look a million different ways based on what God is doing in the person’s life. Our jobs are to steward His Presence well so He may minister to them.
Multi-Ethnic Leadership – In East Texas, if a pastor is black then his staff is predominantly black. If a pastor is white, then his staff is predominantly white. We believe the natural desire of being close to those who look like us is the birthplace of disunity and separation. We understand this will fly in the face of many people in our community. We so desire to see heaven on earth. Don’t you know all races, creeds, tongues, and social economic status will be magnifying the name of Jesus in Heaven? We desire to see that truth here on Earth in Longview.
Honor through Hospitality – Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt, described hospitality in the Encyclopédie as the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity. Here are When We Gather we desire every person, no matter their status in life is shown honor and respect through our spirit of hospitality. Honor says no matter who the person is they deserve to be respected because each person has a certain essence of God in them. The Word says we are all not just Christians, but we’re made in the image of God. Honor is our heart’s desire being fulfilled through hospitality.
The Words of God – When God speaks, He doesn’t speak symbolically as we do. He speaks in reality. When He says “house,” out pops a house. When he says “car,” a car comes rolling from His mouth. When God says “grace,” guess what? The embodiment of grace flows from His glory into our lives. The written and spoken Words of God are the sustaining power and grace to walk out His call in our lives. When we position our hearts and lives to receive from Him, He deposits all that is needed. We may not know it is in there, but trust me, it is. So here, at When We Gather, we place extremely high values on listening, reading, and meditating on the Word of God. Only God can put within us what we need every day. Only God’s Word can give His church, His movement, to the very life that is needed every day. So begin to hear and read the Words of the Lord every day. Not out of some religious duty, but because in the relationship with God you may find life and life more abundantly.
Intercession – At When We Gather, we believe in addressing the principalities that try to come against us as we use God’s authority given to us over the areas of our lives. So we pray that you will speak against the principalities covering the financial, mental, physical, emotional, family, and career gates in your lives. We pray you will immediately feel a release in your spirit. Will you join us today in fighting this good fight? Address these spirits and let’s go to war! They have no authority to do anything (unless given over to them) but to try to hinder, confuse, steal, kill, and destroy. Thank God for opening my eyes to see how these things were hindering our prayers. Daniel’s prayers were hindered for 21 days because of the prince over Persia. Can you imagine what we are facing now and what is hindering our prayers?
Full Expression of Ministry – The bible has very little to say about only fulfilling our personal missions. It has more to say about the one thing God wants to happen on earth. What is that one thing you may ask? The Spreading of His Kingdom. His Kingdom will move forward when we get into our minds the one thing that God honors is placing ourselves into positions to serve. Well, what does this have to do with ministry? What happens when spreading God’s Kingdom causes you to have to do something outside your specific gifting? What happens if your specific gifting is cleaning a toilet, or helping unload chairs, or moving tables? What happens when the spreading of God’s Kingdom does not make room for eighty preachers? I am a hard and true believer that everyone in the Kingdom of God is to be a servant first. Jesus says himself everything in the Kingdom of God is earthily backward. If you want to be first, make yourself the last. If you want to climb the ladder to importance, push other people up the ladder before you.
Identity in Christ – We believe we can see from Scriptures God has given the man a certain amount of authority over certain things. I believe the greatest authorities we are given are over our families and things that our influence covers. If you are a man or a single mom this would be your family. A church leader then over the church. A community leader than the community, and so on. 2 Corinthians 13:10 (ESV) – For this reason, I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. I have noticed as your influence continues to grow so does the power in which one may operate in. In scripture and personally men and women who have such great influence that it transcends into a form of power. Now I believe, in Christ, we all have a power inherited from the Father. James 5:16 (ESV) – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
We are absolutely sure God has and will release more core values in the coming future. As of today, these are the ones God has released from His spirit into our spirits.