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|CoR| Staff

|CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke

|CoR| Vision Statement
« on: February 13, 2012, 08:34:59 PM »
|CoR| Vision Statement

The vision of |CoR| is the same as the fourfold ministry of each and every believer:

•   To evangelize the lost
•   To edify the believers
•   To encourage one another
•   To enjoy the community

These are further discussed and defined below -

Relationships in the information age

Christians today are faced with dramatic changes in the culture around us. We are faced with a world which is daily changing the way it interacts. More and more the younger generations are connecting with each other, not on their front porch as many of us may have in the past, but through virtualized contact online. Traditional interpersonal relationships are fast being replaced by what may best be characterized as deep acquaintances facilitated by online communications. In addition to these changing relational paradigms a great many are raised today without any knowledge or with confused knowledge of Christ and God.

In this environment we are faced with the following challenge: Traditional churches are not poised to minister to people who interact via non-traditional means. As such, large segments of our society interact daily with little or no relevant contact with Christians.

How then does a Christian fulfill his personal responsibilities to share the message of the gospel and to challenge his fellow believers to change daily to be more like Christ? How does a Christian fulfill his responsibilities to edify and spiritually support his brothers and sisters in Christ?

Is the local church obsolete in the information age?

I do not believe the local church to be obsolete in the information age. The local church was ordained by Christ to perform the ministry of making disciples (both evangelism and the maturing of the saints). As a part of that ministry, the Church was charged with the performance of two ordinances Communion and Baptism, as these ordinances can only be effectively performed by local bodies of like minded believers, there must be an active local church no matter how a culture is changed by advances in communication technology.

Additionally, there are parts of the Christian’s life which are best facilitated by strong interpersonal relationships grown within the local church. Vital aspects of the Christian life, such as accountability and fellowship between believers, depend on strong, honest, and forthright interaction.

It is, however, shortsighted to ignore the relationships which people are forming. And it is wrong to deem these changing relationships invalid for ministry because of their inherent limitations. Our culture is changing around us. To ignore a ministry opportunity because of its limited nature is to consign a large segment of our world to {Please choose a better word}ation because we were not comfortable, familiar, or satisfied with the mechanisms by which we could reach them.

Evangelism and discipleship in the information age: an evolving opportunity

Attempts at online outreach are faced with challenges similar to those faced by online pioneers in retail and news content. And while attempts to ‘market’ the gospel with catchy watered down messages should be resisted, efforts at online evangelism and discipleship are largely experimental at this time.

However, as technology evolves, one can expect ‘virtual’ relationships to increasingly become more and more personal. Advances in telepresence will allow people connecting over vast distances to interact in ways once only possible to those interacting personally. As these technology advances occur it is the pioneers of online ministry, those who have cultivated an ability to minister to an ever changing environment, who will be poised to most effectively minister in the society which emerges.

While the local church will not pass from the scene as God’s principle method of ministry to the world, until He raptures His children, it is also apparent that the internet cannot be ignored as a valid avenue of ministry.

A world of ministry opportunities

The internet offers a varied and largely unharvested ministry opportunity to the Body of Christ. It has a unique ability to connect geographically disparate groups through their personal interests in such things as history, literature, art, gaming, politics, and other areas. The resultant large virtual communities are built not around traditional commonalities such as regional location, race, or even language, but around common interest, and offer extremely unique ministry opportunities to those willing to experiment with non-traditional outreach methods designed to target or take advantage of the unique opportunities each individual community represents.

With the internet the church is faced with challenges unparalleled in its history. The challenge to one’s purity represented by pornography, once relegated to limited shelf space on the periodicals rack of the local liquor store, is now made an all to available temptation to those who spend time on the internet. Access to pornography is not only easy, but the predatory nature of pornographers makes avoiding it entirely unrealistic. As a result the church itself is faced with a rapidly rising problem rate among its members, and non-church members faced an even higher rate of addiction. This represents not only a very real challenge to the Church, but also a very real and very needy ministry opportunity as many seek help from their addiction to pornography.

Additionally, the Church is also confronted with the nature of uncontrolled information flow on the internet. As a result the most common understanding of Christianity is often misconception as to the fundamentals of the faith and the impact Christianity should have on one’s life.

City of Refuge: Mission

City of Refuge (CoR) will seek to win souls to and grow disciples for Christ in the online community. CoR will, furthermore, maintain an environment which supports the daily walk of its brothers and sisters in Christ. CoR will, finally, maintain an uncompromisingly Christian testimony which honors God, exemplifies Christ, and professes the resounding truth of the gospel:

•   That man is in need of reconciliation to his Creator
•   That the Creator God of the universe came to earth in the man Jesus Christ to die for a rebellious creation.
•   That as a result of Jesus' substitutionary death we can have a personal relationship with Him

City of Refuge: Ministry

The ministry of CoR is the threefold ministry of each and every believer:

•   To evangelize the lost
•   To edify the believers
•   To encourage one another
•   To enjoy the community

CoR will initially focus its outreach efforts within the online gaming community. The internet has transformed entertainment and gaming by allowing gamers to interact in ways never before imagined. As a result, there are now large communities of gamers coming together around the games they play. This community offers significant ministry opportunities. The members of this community are largely unchurched and in represent amongst themselves a group which is actively pushing the technology of online interaction. As such, the online gaming community represents the most rapidly changing social environment seen within the information age.

CoR’s ministry will consist, initially of hosting God-honoring gaming servers on which guests can come to know CoR and its members. It is through this relevant contact that CoR hopes to be able to challenge the unsaved with their need of the Savior. Through the relevant contact gained via CoR’s gaming servers, visitors can be directed to CoR’s website and discussion forums. It is in these venues that visitors can be confronted with static presentations of the Gospel. Additionally, the CoR discussion forums offer an increased level of interaction between the members of the CoR community and visitors.

CoR will take advantage of evolving technologies to develop ministries facilitating a high level of personal interaction with those whom it invites into its community and its guests. This interaction will grow from a highly static presentation of truth to a highly dynamic, interactive challenge to those who are without Christ to accept Him.

CoR will profess the truth of the gospel through static content hosted in online venues such as web sites and discussion forums. Additionally, CoR will make use of internet live chat, voice over IP (VoIP), and instant messaging to interact virtually with those who are seeking to know more about Christ. CoR looks forward to advances in technology which will transform the online ‘virtual’ interactions facilitating more personal relationships.

CoR will, however, strive to move beyond the static documentation and publication of truth on its website as a primary means of evangelism, targeting interactive relationship based sharing of the gospel between its members and those who do not know Christ is their personal savior. All activities, current and future, are targeted with creating relationships with individuals which would allow the gospel to be compassionately shared.

CoR will also strive to seek out methods which do not depend on an unsaved person actively seeking for information in order to be confronted with the gospel. Dependence on the unsaved actively seeking information about Christ is a principle handicap to online ministry.

CoR will seek to bring people to the place where they are confronted with a decision to repent of their sin and turn to pursue Christ. The work is God’s and He alone can illumine the unsaved soul, however, CoR will attempt through its evangelistic efforts not simply to present truth, but to make the unsaved aware that a decision must be made either to pursue Christ or to pursue self.

Furthermore, CoR will take the lessons learned through its ministry to the online gaming community and will expand its ministry to broader online communities. CoR will become a portal for those who spend a great deal of their time online to Christian resources including solid, fundamental teaching and preaching, practical groundbreaking instruction in the faith, and participation in a vibrant Christian community which is itself seeking out new ways to connect in a technological society.

CoR will not however seek to replace or supplant the local church. CoR will, however, supplement and enable the ministry of the local church in the online world. CoR will actively encourage its members and its guests to seek out a local body of believers within which they can be discipled and can grow together in unity to be more like Christ.

City of Refuge: Evangelize

It is the goal of City of Refuge to actively profess the truth of the gospel:

•   That man is in need of reconciliation to his Creator
•   That the Creator God of the universe came to earth in the man Jesus Christ to die for a rebellious creation.
•   That as a result of Jesus' substitutionary death we can have a personal relationship with Him

CoR will through the use of its resources attempt to actively confront the unsaved with their need of Christ. This evangelistic effort will flow through several avenues:

1)   Corporate Proclamation – CoR will endeavor to incorporate in all of its organized activities (clan and team practices, LAN events, etc) the proclamation of scriptural truth, namely the gospel
2)   Personal Proclamation – Members of CoR will be encouraged to develop relationships with our guests and fellow members in order to share personally the gospel with those who do not know Christ
3)   Directed Discussion – CoR will maintain an open discussion forum where all may ask questions and discuss spiritual topics. These discussion forums will be moderated in such a manner as to drive discussion toward an answer founded not only on Biblical truth, but also as ALL spiritual manners are rooted in man’s need for a savior, all spiritual discussions will be targeted at showing this need.
4)   Christ-like relevant contact – CoR members have a significant level of contact through their activities on CoR gaming servers, forums, and IM with members, friends, and guests of CoR. In all interactions CoR members will exemplify Christ in behavior and compassion and will strive through this contact to develop opportunities to share the ministry of CoR and the gospel with the members, friends, and guests of CoR.

City of Refuge: Edify

It is the goal of City of Refuge to actively edify fellow believers in Christ.

It is a part of the personal ministry of every Christian to seek to edify and disciple their brothers and sisters in Christ. The goal of such a ministry is that each and every Christian be actively seeking to become more like Christ as well as actively challenging their fellow Christians to pursue Christ, submit to His holy revelation the Bible as authoritative, and actively and willfully change their lives to conform to the pattern established within the Scriptures. CoR’s energies at discipleship will focus on the following avenues:

1)   Institutional Discipleship – CoR’s structure, and progression through that structure will facilitate the discipleship of its membership. Progression/promotion through CoR’s structure will be based not merely on the activity or ability of an individual member but primarily on that member’s character. In this manner it is hoped that the membership of CoR may be encouraged to submit themselves to the authority of the Bible in their manner of living.
2)   Organizational Discipleship – Individual responsibilities within CoR’s structure will include the mentorship, edification, and watch-care of those within an individual member’s sphere of authority.
3)   Personal Discipleship – CoR will endeavor to establish a personal discipleship program by which members exhibiting personal maturity within their personal Christian walks will be paired with less mature members and will through the use of a provided curriculum and/or through personal interaction disciple that member in their personal walk with Christ.
4)   Authoritative Discipleship – The leaders of CoR recognize that the goal of leadership within a Christian organization is twofold. First, it is the goal of CoR’s leadership to grow members from within CoR who can actively step into roles of leadership. For this reason CoR will actively challenge its members to show themselves faithful in their duties so that they can be trusted with more significant responsibilities and will endeavor to enable and teach those in areas of responsibility the skills necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. Second, in the event that discipline is required within CoR, the goal of such discipline will be the personal growth of the member being disciplined, not punitive revenge.

City of Refuge: Encourage

It is the goal of City of Refuge to actively encourage & uphold Christians in their personal relationship with Christ.

It is the responsibility of every Christian to uphold their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This ministry includes personal support in effort, emotion, and spirit as well as the constant bearing of one another’s burdens and approaching the throne of God on one another’s behalf. CoR will seek to uphold Christian brothers and sisters in the following manner:

1)   Private Prayer – CoR will use its resources to facilitate an active, honest prayer ministry private to the members of CoR. This prayer ministry has as its goal the support of the members of CoR by allowing members to approach the throne of God on behalf of one another.
2)   Public Prayer – CoR will use its resources to facilitate an active, honest prayer ministry which is public to the friends and guests of CoR. This prayer ministry will allow CoR to minister to Christians and non-Christians and will actively exhibit the power of God in the lives of Christians.
3)   Compassion – Christians are instructed to bear one another’s burdens. Members of CoR will actively seek ways in which they can minister to each other.

City of Refuge: Measuring Success

City of Refuge recognizes that it is the work of God which moves one to accept Him. Furthermore, we recognize that we as man can do nothing on our own to make the message of God more effective or acceptable to the unregenerate. As such the Christian’s primary responsibility in evangelism is to actively, consistently, clearly, and without compromise proclaim the truth of the gospel.

However, we also recognize that with the limited resources available to us it is important that we evaluate the targets and mechanisms of our ministry on a regular basis. For this reason the follow questions will regularly be asked of each aspect of CoR’s ministry.

•   Is an area of the ministry regularly resulting in the unsaved hearing the gospel?
•   Are those who hear the gospel confronted with their need and the need to make a decision?
•   Is an area of ministry regularly resulting in Christians being challenged to change their lives in accordance with Scripture?
•   Are discipleship activities confronting Christians with the need to change or are activities put forward in a manner which is easily ignored?
•   Is the area of ministry active?
•   Is there growing interest in the area of ministry?
•   Are the members of a ministry actively involved or are they largely complacent or absent?
•   Is the area of ministry having evident effect?

It is hoped that through the evaluation of an area of ministry through the questions above, CoR will be able to effectively focus its limited resources effectively to the ministry for which it has set itself.
Grace & Peace,

Pastor Dade Ronan
|CoR| Pres-Cool_Hand_Luke
Acts 2:38