Sherwood Community Friends Church exists to share the hope and healing of Christ to help people become devoted followers of Christ so that they can live life to the full. We welcome people into a dynamic Christian community where they can connect with God, with one another, and with opportunities to make a difference in our world.
Explained in Detail
We realize that God uses different kinds of churches to reach and serve different kinds of people, and so we focus our energies to fulfill this mission to which we feel God has called us. Each phrase in our mission statement bears some further consideration.
“…share hope and healing of Christ…”
One of the unfortunate realities of the world we live in is most people have deep wounds that have a despairing effect on many people. One of the most encouraging statements of Christ: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). For the weary, these words are a soothing balm. We at Sherwood Community Friends Church endeavor to live our lives in a way of authentic love for God which conveys a peace that passes all understanding and encourages others to reach for such peace, hope, and healing. We never want to convey a naive attitude that doesn’t recognize the reality of the world in which we live. Yet, our hope is set on the truth, which is believed by faith (Hebrews 11:1).
“…help people become devoted followers of Christ…”
The Great Commission is exactly that—a commission to all followers of Christ to share their story of faith in one fashion or another. Of course, there are some within the church that have special abilities, or gifts, to share the Gospel in a way that people respond in dramatic and resounding fashion. Still, all of us are co-missioned with one another to be available and ready to express our confidence in our decision to become a follower of Christ. The easiest and best way to do this is simply tell your story. Engage other people in a kind dialogue about life’s meaning and purpose. Through your involvement with your church, others can come alongside and engage in the conversation to help your friend, family, or coworker to become a follower of Christ.
“…live life to the full…”
This phrase comes from the teaching of Jesus in one of his own mission statements. He said, “I have come that they might have life, life to the full” (John 10:10). Jesus also said, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21), so we believe that our mission as a Christian church should be an extension of Jesus’ — helping people learn to live in the fullness God intends, a fullness too many of us miss too often. And when we say helping people, we mean all people, especially people who don’t yet have a relationship with God. Just as Jesus focused his attention on the irreligious, we feel a special calling to reach out to people who aren’t already involved actively in a local church — and to welcome them in with love and acceptance, wherever they are on their spiritual journey. This high value that we place on welcoming in people who aren’t yet committed Christians influences our gathering in ways such as carefully translating “religious jargon” into language anyone can understand as well as creating the kind of nonjudgmental atmosphere where people feel accepted.
“…welcome people into a dynamic Christian community…”
Community is essential to our mission. In fact, you’ll often hear us speak of “doing life together.” Our ability to fulfill our mission directly corresponds to our sense of community. Our desire is to truly welcome all interested people in — wherever they are in their journey toward spiritual commitment. That’s important because one of the ways Jesus said that people would understand who he is and what his message means to them is for people to see how his followers live — how they love one another, serve one another, work out their differences with one another, and work together with one another. By welcoming people into our community, we let them see our faith in action in our daily lives — the good and the not-so-good, the successes and failures. We believe that if people see authentic faith lived out by real people in genuine community, the good news of Jesus Christ will shine through.
“…where they can connect with God…”
There are many ways Christians describe what it means to really connect with God — being converted or “saved” or “born again,” coming to Christ, accepting Christ, receiving Christ, becoming a committed Christian, becoming a believer, etc. Behind these descriptions is a real-life experience of moving into a vital relationship with God in which one is seeking God and seeking to live in a way that pleases God. For some people, the experience is sudden and dramatic; for others it comes gradually and subtly. Either way, this relationship isn’t something we have to earn; the fact is we can’t earn it because God offers it to us as a free gift of grace and love. Jesus came to tell us that God loves and accepts us and to invite us to respond to God in love and commitment and, as a result, experience “life to the full.” Not only that, by sacrificing his life and dying on the cross, Jesus, in some mysterious way, paid for all of our wrongs, faults, and failures, opening the door wide for all of us to come to God and experience a new beginning, whatever we’ve done in the past.
“…where they can connect with others…”
There is no question about it: the Christian life that Jesus exemplified and taught about is not a solo journey. It’s all about connecting with other people. On one level, that means connecting deeply with some friends, people you enjoy and trust, people with whom you can take off your mask and really be yourself. On a deeper level, it means going beyond enjoying and accepting one another as we are to challenging one another to become all we can be. And on an even deeper level, the kind of connection taught in the Gospel invites us to connect with people very different from us — people we might not normally choose to associate with. Jesus demonstrated this kind of radical connection by befriending tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, and other people that were considered outsiders. The early church demonstrated it by living out the radical belief that we all — male or female, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, extraverted or introverted — are made one in Christ. We want you to experience this kind of connection (the Biblical word for it is “fellowship”) at the deepest levels possible.
“…where they can connect with opportunities to make a difference…”
To follow Christ always means to be called beyond ourselves, our needs, and our interests to the needs and interests of others. Again and again you’ll hear us remind ourselves that to be a Christian is to be a minister (which simply means a servant — someone who lives for others, not just his or herself). The New Testament teaches us that we each are given special spiritual gifts, which we use to make a difference in a way unique to us individually. One may teach, another comfort and counsel, another lead, another administrate, another help in practical, behind-the-scenes ways, etc. It’s our goal for each person at Sherwood Community Friends Church to discover his or her unique calling and gifts, so each of us can make a difference in our special way. We seek to provide opportunities — from teaching children to working with teens to caring for the elderly, from cutting grass to making coffee to leading Bible studies, from working in inner-city Portland to taking short-term mission trips overseas — and it’s up to each of us to prayerfully choose which opportunities to take advantage of.
“…in our world.”
We also believe that the work of the church is not just “church work.” Church work — the many tasks necessary for a community like Sherwood Community Friends Church to thrive and grow — is important, but the goal of having a vibrant, dynamic church goes beyond us to our impact in our world. We hope that from being with us on Sunday, you’ll be more motivated and equipped to serve God from Monday through Saturday on your job, in your neighborhood, etc. The word “changing” in our mission statement is important, too, because we believe that we live in exciting, dynamic times. That’s why you’ll find us excited about the opportunities presented us in the current transition from the modern to the postmodern world, not frightened or wishing for any “good old days.” For us, these times are the most exciting times possible, and we are eager to live for Christ as we lean into the future.