Expressions

Expressions Statement of Faith - Any Thoughts?

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This is a first draft to Expressions Statement of Faith. I would love to hear any constructive feed back from my tribe and readers! Purpose/Mission

The Purpose and Mission for all of our members is Seeking Expressions of Jesus as Lord in Life and Community (Matt. 16:13-20). This mission is accomplished as we take the gospel message of Jesus into the relevant and daily life experiences we encounter both individually and as a community (Matt. 28:16-20).

Beliefs and Statement of Faith

  • We believe in one God in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Eph. 4:4-6; John 4:24; John 10:30)
  • We believe God is the creator of all that there is seen and not seen, understood and mysterious, questioned and answered. (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 42:5; John 1:3; Acts 17:24;26)
  • We believe in one Lordship over all things, places, contexts, and people through Jesus Christ as the son of God. (Matt. 16:16; John 1:14; 10:30; 14:6-7; Col. 1:18)
  • We believe Jesus suffered and died for our sins as he was crucified on the cross, that three days afterwards he was resurrected in body, that he ascended into heaven, and that he lives eternally at God’s right side. (Mark 16:19; John 20:17; Acts 1:9; Rom. 4:24b-25)
  • We believe that all people can find redemption, forgiveness, and righteousness through holistically enacted faith in Jesus Christ. (John 3:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 10:9-10; James 2:18)
  • We believe that the Bible is the whole and complete Word of God meant to equip, teach, and inspire all followers of its reading. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  • We believe in the unity of one church under Christ Jesus through Biblical Christian practices. (John 17:20-21)
  • We believe that all followers of Jesus are blessed and gifted according to the good works Christ calls them too through his Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:4; Gal. 5:22-24)
  • We believe in the full immersion baptism of all who hold these beliefs to be true as a physical commitment and representation of God’s grace before all his followers. (Acts 2:38; 41; 16: 31-33; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21)

Values

We each acknowledge ourselves being within our own unique contexts, experiences, history, and relationships but are united by Expressions Mission and Five Interlocking Values. As such we seek community by balancing a holistic practice of all said values within our faith and in everything we do.

Passionate SpiritualitySpiritual Reading (Scripture); Spiritual Speaking; Spiritual Breathing; and Spiritual Acting

Radical DiscipleshipInvitational Living; Incarnational Living; Infusional Living; Inspirational Living (Please See (i)Living Covenant)

Authentic CommunityHospitality; Unconditional Acceptance; Intentionality; Relevant

Transformational MissionRecognize a Need; Collaborate; Acknowledge a Kingdom Relevance; Take Action

Holistic StewardshipPeople; Wealth/Materials; the Environment

Re:Genesis With Dr. Jeff Koep - Finding Health in the Midst of the Greatest Challenges

Last November we had the honor of my friend and chiropractor Dr. Jeff Koep coming and sharing his faith with our Re:Genesis group. He had quite the testimony and spirit for encouraging holistic faith and health while we spoke for about 1 1/2 hours! Jeff offered five practices of holistic health which when applied with our faith can give a real representation of what it means to find health in the midst of the greatest challenges. Here is a letter which he offered at his practice of South Trail Chiropractic Family Wellness Center in the following weeks. To see a write up on our January Re:Genesis gathering Click Here.

Believe it or not, my goal in last week’s newsletter was not to depress you! In fact, it was meant to a) honor an incredible woman and b) to get you thinking about who in your life might be taken from you prematurely if they keep living the way they are living. You see, that man who died in the gym could have been anyone; even someone you know right now. It could happen to someone you know tomorrow or 20 years from now if they don’t change. I also wanted you to think about what YOU need to change so that you can live life fully right now and for many years to come; so that you can fully enjoy your family, your work, your passions, and your purpose. It is our mission to help you and your families achieve that.

The “part two” of this is that there absolutely IS a better way to live that will ensure a long healthy life. But most people do not live that way. We here at South Trail Chiropractic are dedicated to teaching you this way of living, which we call Maximized Living. There are Five Essentials to Maximized Living and all are extremely important if you are planning on living a full and healthy life and raise the healthiest children on the planet! The 5 Essentials are:

1) Maximized Mind – includes time/stress management, sleep, spirituality, and positive relationships. 2) Maximized Nerve Supply – the power to heal and be healthy is in the spinal cord. When the nerves are interfered with (subluxation), the body cannot function or heal properly. 3) Maximized Quality Nutrition - food provides the fuel and building blocks that your body needs to continue to power and heal itself on a daily basis; you are what you eat! 4) Maximized Oxygen and Lean Muscle - Exercise allows your body to take in higher levels of oxygen and creates lean muscle that keeps both your body and mind healthy. 5) Minimize Toxins - toxins affect our bodies in a negative way and inhibit us from functioning at optimal levels eventually leading to illness and disease.

The 5 Essentials are the core foundation of Maximized Living. Without any of these Essentials, you are unable to live the long, healthy and fulfilled life that you are meant to live. Each of these Essentials work together to keep your cells in optimal shape and your body functioning at its highest levels. If you only focus on one of these essentials, such as exercise, you are leaving out other core elements that keep your body healthy. Of course, your adjustments and spinal correction exercises are taking care of Essential #2, which makes sure that the brain-body connection is fully functional, but what about the other four? Again, we are dedicated to teaching you about them! Starting in January, we will be holding bi-monthly advanced health workshops teaching you the Five Essentials of Maximized Living. As well, we will be holding a one day Maximized Living Makeover to teach you how to regain your health in 40 days.

The exciting part of this is that you CAN regain your health; and you CAN save a life by sharing this information with your friends and family. The North American lifestyle is literally killing people and many don’t see it happening until it’s too late. We will be asking you to bring guests to our events to make sure that we are all reaching out to those who need us. Again, I ask you, what if you gave a dying person the information they need to LIVE? You CAN save a life.

Maximized Blessings, Dr. Jeff

Renewed Meanings and Practices in Places of "Ecclesia"

In some sense of the meaning I think as a people we are still exploring this idea of “What is the church?” Maybe not so much as to the collective interpretations of its Biblical roots in the Koine Greek context of “ecclesia” (“gathering of people”) but perhaps in the ways context, culture, and community dynamics shape and express its significance and purpose as they encounter the living gospel. In some ways I think this becomes a transcendent question which we must always ask just as we must always be willing to listen to the transcendent question of Jesus who asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-20) . The church becomes a physical expression of both individual and communal belonging to the Lordship of Jesus, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and embedded into the DNA of Communal projection and incarnation! Some of you might recognize this statement as it is one of my favorite quotes however; even within the early forth century the church and Gregory of Nyssa recognized that, “Concepts create idols. Only wonder grasps anything.” (1 Cor. 13:9-12) It is these thoughts, these passions which tend to trigger my imagination in the wonderment of the ways the early Christians of the first and second century found church in the catacombs and market places; church in the synagogues and temples; church in the “living rooms” and “kitchens” of peoples homes! (Just some passages to ponder when reflecting on the “gathering of ecclesia” – Matt.13:2; 18:20; Mark 1:29-34; 2:2; John 10:22-24; Acts 10:23-27; 12:12)

Yes, ecclesia is a gathering of believers but it is also far more richer and deeper then that. It is an intermingling of believers engaging with non-believers with the intent of incarnationally being “little” Jesus’ in their community; and it is diverse in giftings, talents, spiritual and physical expressionisms. Ecclesia is the wonderment and amazement of seeing the story of God’s people living out his presence among us through our discipleship and relational following of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. To be a church in the midst of our community is to commit to the acknowledgement that, “They will know we are Christians by our ____________.” (Gal. 5:16-25) And not by our buildings, size, numbers, programs, and/or organizational/denominational/governmental status!

In answering the call to be a disciple of Jesus, I personally find the greatest meaning, purpose, and significance to “ecclesia” through the ways in which we enact as a community of believers the central core values which we find within our relationship’s to the “missio dei” (“character and essence of God”). Within MTC it is our five G’s and respectively in Bonnie’s and my heart as individual disciples; it is the five concentric values of Expressions.

As a church we become fully committed disciples to Jesus and our community through the embodiment of the 5 G’s. Yes, Expressions model has taken those values into a new context (a coffee shop) but in many ways I wanted you to see the relationship Expressions values has with MTC’s. As such I illustrated the 5 G’s below with the intent of crossing over there meanings and significance with that of the Expressions model.

Grace -------> Authentic Community Generosity ---> Radical Stewardship Groups ------> Transformational Mission Growth ------> Holistic Living/Discipleship Gifts --------> Passionate Spirituality

When we met Tuesday, May 6th I briefly shared with you three identified areas to which Michael Frost describes the practices of “ecclesia” taking place. In brief they were the Home Place, the Work or Corporate Place, and the Third Place. All are valid and all find equal standing as quantifiable church gathering communities. In a diagram Frost articulates these areas using a pie chart which is divided into thirds. Hold on to this vision for a moment.

To also describe in brief, Alan Hirsch articulates the patterns of church being shaped through three distinctly different ideological perceptions. They are Bonded Set, Fuzzy Set, and Center Set Church dynamics. Most favorably he refers to the Centered Set church as one which remains missionally centered on its core values (i.e. – the 5 G’s and there relationship to mission) while extending outwards in all directions to reach all people within the community (both considered “in” the church and “outside” relationally). In appearance it seems chaotic however; with an anchored core God’s mission becomes gravitationally centripetal and is then always drawing people back to the central core value as an enactment of Lordship (i.e. – mission – to be disciples of Jesus). Illustratively he uses the picture of herding cats! You can’t tell them where to go but you can show them where the food is!

Personally, I noticed a distinct connection between both Frost’s and Hirsch’s ideas if you overlapped the two models. Frost’s Three Place settings became the chaotic landscape to which Hirsch’s Centered Set dynamics could be enacted and relationally connected. We can and should find/develop ecclesia in all three settings as it is defined through gathering and the core values and intention of being disciples of Jesus (i.e. – mission and the 5 G’s).

I realize this is a lot of “deep thinking” and I would love the opportunity to unpack it further with you personally if you would like. What I do want to try and address is the similarities Expressions model has with MTC as a church and perhaps, the different ways in which Bonnie and I dream of expressing them (pardon the pun). Is the Expressions model just a business? How can a Coffee shop be a church?

In the practical sense Expressions is hoped to be a non-profit organization shaped by a church board and centered on enacting its core values for the practices of ecclesia through Worship, Discipleship, and Mission. My hope is to find accountability and authority through starting its roots within our home here at MTC and sharing this vision with our friends and church family while we grow together.

With regards to its “charity” status; I have spoken at length with a number of government representatives about these ideas who have assured me that this is entirely possible provided the accounting and books are in accordance with such non-profit structures. Admittingly this is not my strong suite. As a side note I will refer you to the previously mentioned “non-profit” coffee shops I have already spoke about which are 'FRWY' (pronounced Free Way) in Hamilton, Ontario and ‘The Talkin’ Donkey’ in Vernon, B.C. In some sense, I implore you to check out FRWY’s website. If you really want to see how a coffee shop can be a church, I think they are an incredible example!

As for worship; the answer is yes! This is something which can be shaped by Expressions board as it grows however using FRWY’s example; they close the shop every Saturday and Sunday as they either hold functions, rent out to groups (non-profit or otherwise), and hold Worship services Sunday evenings! Creatively thinking I imagine we would do much the same things we do and can do in MTC such as Bible Study’s, Weddings, Baptism’s, missional out reach to the surrounding community through groups, and special events/holiday activities. Limitations to this creative thought patterns in expressions of discipleship both in MTC and Expressions becomes endless considering the nature of each individual’s personal encounter with the gospel and their relational bridges to those in the community. The challenge is in trying to stimulate those independent creative natures and develop their passions around them.

Differentially it becomes more difficult to answer. Yes, we will be supporting our ministry and facilitating our community through an environment which “sells” specialized coffee and possibly food throughout the week. We may be spatially smaller but when looking at FRWY that does not mean we must be especially small. FRWY used an old CIBC building and can facilitate probably up to 60-80 people. I’m not so sure this is necessarily different as I believe MTC can do this too however, it is hoped Expressions can reach out to the artistic crowds and as such be a host environment for those communities whether musical, poetic, or otherwise.

Can Expressions be a church? In short, my hope, my dream is YES IT CAN!!!

Identifying Marketing Strategies of Competition and the Incarnational Approaches of Expressions

As you may already know Expressions has been a long time dream for me and I have been spending a good deal of time focusing my energies on writing a business plan to implement hopefully within the next year. In truth, I am nervous as to my adequacy in carrying out this dream as much of my character is describable as "highly relational" and business is not necessarily something I have been schooled in or have a lot of experience in. With this in mind I would like to share a portion of Expressions Marketing Strategy with you in the hopes you will offer comments and critique it's positive and negative projections. I have offered links within it as to ideas and principles which I have borrowed from others as well as incorporated from my own philosophies and beliefs. Please keep in mind that this is in my eyes not just a business but a ministry also in the hopes of bringing a relevant and living gospel to the southeast communities of Calgary.

MARKETING STRATEGY - DESCRIPTION OF KEY COMPETITORS

The major coffee shop providers for the south east quadrant of Calgary are predominantly the franchised or corporate movements of Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, or Second Cup. Their locations are usually targeted to high traffic shopping locations found both on 130th Avenue and the Douglas Glen shopping mall. Auburn Bay is a developing community and with the hospital and surrounding industrial complex, Expressions does anticipate one or more of them to be a competing factor.

These competitors predominantly focus their marketing through three streams. They are Visual Presence, Convenience, and Fast Service. Visual presence targets customers through the simplicity of publicizing the marketed logo in accessible visual avenues located within close proximity to the store itself. Convenience offers the customer quick access to a product which is dependably similar to the other locations considered associates of the franchise or corporation. Finally, fast service provides the customer with the product in a quick fashion ideally through either the provided store front or a drive through window at a cheep price.

With the projection of most reports in customer growth, Tim Horton’s is expected to continue to grow in demand with the major focus being on convenience. Although offering a number of products their main drawing point and focus is on the sale of coffee. Other products include baked goods, snack products, and home style lunches. Due to franchise partnerships and the demands created by them their products have diversified greatly and in appearance it seems they will continue to develop into more of a restaurant then a coffee house focused on community development.

MARKETING STRATEGY - ANALYSIS OF COMPETITIVE POSITION

Expressions intends to use an (i)ncarnational model of marketing both in product services and community development. By this Expressions means to focus on four avenues to connecting with customers and the local community. They are Presence, Proximity, Powerlessness, and Proclamation.

The practice of Presence is in some ways similar to that of the competition in that it uses the marketing logo image in strategic avenues of visual accessibility to draw the customers in. However, Expressions presence can also be visualized through community involvements such as participating with other social gatherings which are externally located from its central location. Through the sale of coffee mugs the marketed presence can also be brought into the home. Other avenues of presence can come through the visual invitation of mail outs, posters, and local news letter postings, giving advertising to Expressions community events along with product offerings.

Proximity becomes Expressions desire to enter the lives of the local people where they currently are involved and create a gravitational connection to those movements and that of Expressions. By that we mean to shape our involvements around the needs and cultural placements of local practices. Coffee Products and small baked goods/snacks will be offered according to the tastes of the customers. Likewise, Expressions community involvements both internal and external will be highly influenced by the customers social needs, dreams, passions, and social involvements. In many ways the practice of proximity is unique to Expressions compared with its competition as the intent is to serve the customer holistically rather then the products.

The element of powerlessness is intended to again focus on the needs and service to the customer through relational contact. We would like Expressions, its environmental spaces, and community groups to be open and usable by all regardless to the buying of products, beliefs, or social positions. Expressions does not wish to put parameters on anyone who is entering the store front and instead intends to build relational fronts first while then exposing them to the benefits of products and community involvements. In essence, Expressions is placing the power into the hands of the customer while remaining powerless in its self propagating agendas holding faith to the customer bringing sustainability to its developments.

Finally proclamation brings voice to the growth and developments of the Expressions movement. Following the establishment of a physical presence, creating a gravitational proximity to the local community and customers, and remaining open and inviting through states of powerlessness; Expressions can pursue marketing through the practice of proclamation. By nature as customers encounter the benefits and find good value in Expressions products and social involvements they will then tell others about its services and community. This can happen not only through invitation but also through the witnessing of local social activist groups which are involved with Expressions.