Hampton Roads Fellowship believes that every community needs three elements in order to experience healthy personal spiritual growth. These three elements are the gospel, safety, and time.
The Church is a family (Eph 2:19-22). Family is key to understanding why the culture of a Church should be rife with love and patience built on a foundation of truth. The Church isn’t an academic institution, though it serves the mind to the glory of God. The Church isn’t a disciplinary institution, though it serves the purity of the body to the glory of God. The Church isn’t a fault finding factory, though it serves the soul by helping us see our sin as we look to Jesus.
There must be an all encompassing framework that’s sturdy enough to hold these together in a way that relate to the glory of God and the good of the people. Christ is the Person who holds these together. He is the sturdy cornerstone that brings these things together, and what He’s like should be the dominant flavor of our Church. Jesus was all about Gospel + Safety + Time.
Good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit. Multiple exposures. Constant immersion. Wave upon wave of grace and truth, according to the Bible.
A non-accusing environment. No finger-pointing. No embarrassing anyone. No manipulation. No oppression. No condescension. But respect and sympathy and understanding, where sinners can confess and unburden their souls.
No pressure. Not even self-imposed pressure. No deadlines on growth. Urgency, but not hurry, because no one changes quickly. A lot of space for complicated people to rethink their lives at a deep level. God is patient.
This is what our churches must be: gentle environments of gospel + safety + time. It’s where we’re finally free to grow. It’s what everyone needs. Everyone.