The Wycliffe Global Alliance in Community
These principles were developed from the reflections and discussions at the Wycliffe Global Alliance Missiological Consultation on Community, held in Accra, Ghana, 18-19 August 2012.
The consultation included 12 participants from nine nations.
The Wycliffe Global Alliance in Community has as its foundation the core statements of the Alliance (the Wycliffe Global Alliance Purpose, Mission, Vision and Values).
Community is the basis for the existence of the Alliance. We are not a community only because of our common goals, though Alliance Organizations do share many common goals. Our participation in God’s mission flows out of our communion with the Triune God and our fellowship within the Body of Christ. We are community because we joyfully share a common life in Christ.
We appreciate and encourage the interdependent and interconnected nature of all Alliance Organizations as we seek to glorify God and serve together in Bible translation movements.
Serving together in community, we love, respect and honor one another. It is our collective responsibility to seek wisdom and discernment from the Lord and to encourage, mentor, assist and advise each other. We seek to understand contexts and cultures. We create space to listen to one another and to speak truth in love. Our interdependence and interconnectedness creates an environment where all Alliance Organizations generously give and graciously receive. We recognize we are not owners, but only stewards of the gifts God has given us. We affirm each other for who we are and not for what we contribute or for the quantity of the contribution. Our primary goal is to glorify God together.
Principles of Community
- We are created for community and called to community (creation and calling).
- We are God’s people, called to consistently and lovingly relate and behave according to the instruction of His Word and the example of Christ (identity—who we are together).
- Living and serving in community glorifies God and provides a tangible example of the Gospel in action. We reflect the image of God through intentionally modelling authentic community (how we live together).
- A community that glorifies God attracts people to God and His mission (what we do together).
Key Principles for Alliance Organizations in Community
1. Designed for Community
Principle: We are essentially created for community and explicitly called to community.
Community is integral to the nature of God. The Triune God lives in perfect unity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has created us and called us to be in communion with Him and in community with others.
True biblical community embraces both unity and diversity as demonstrated by the Triune God. It recognizes the individual without being individualistic. It recognizes and seeks holism and shalom in which all members of the community bless and are blessed by one another.
- Nature of God: The Trinity exists in unity and community. Father, Son and Holy Spirit live and serve together joyfully with diverse roles, yet are still One and have a united purpose.
- Designed for Belonging: We were created in God’s image to participate in and for community. We were designed to belong to Him and to belong to each other. Our diverse and individual gifts and skills were designed to be shared and to serve in integral community.
- Not a Choice: Community, for God’s people, is our reality. It is our state of being. It is not a choice. We exist in community. We are either being community well, or poorly. But either way, we are community.
2. Identified in Community
Principle: We are God’s people, called to consistently and lovingly relate and behave according to the instruction of His Word and the example of Christ.
The Alliance must embrace and reveal a community life that springs from our life within the Body of Christ. Submitting to God in all that we are, and therefore in all that we do, requires obedience in thought, attitude and action.
- Identified as God’s People: Together with followers of Christ worldwide, we have been redeemed to be God’s community, His Church. The Holy Spirit is poured out on the community of believers so that we might glorify God and be a blessing to the nations. We are identified as God’s people.
- Essential to Kingdom Living: Our identity is not found in ourselves but in who we are in God and who we are with each other. Community is essential to Kingdom living.
- The Quality of Community: Participating in community is about being, not just doing. Being permeates all the doing.
3. Community in Action
Principle: Living and serving in community glorifies God and provides a tangible example of the Gospel in action.
Our desire is to be a visible example of the Gospel community. God’s love should be exemplified in all we do. As part of the Church and the Body of Christ we are intended to reflect the image of God, to reflect His glory.
The experience of participating in the community should be one of mutual support and encouragement. We will respect and honor the diverse voices and gifts of each organization within the Alliance community. Together we seek to discern God’s will.
- We reflect the image of God through intentionally modeling authentic community: Our desire is for community that demonstrates love, mutual commitment, interdependency, respect, and deep and trusting relationships that glorify God.
- Intentionality: Purposeful, intentional living and serving in true community enables us to better understand God and each other, and to be a witness to the world.
- Authenticity: Following the example of the Trinity, we desire to be open, honest, truthful and true.
- Prayer and God’s Word are Essential to Relationship and to Maturing in Community: We can only learn, grow and know more of God and His desire for our community life if we have an ongoing commitment to our relationship with Him and to studying His Word. In knowing Him, our love for Him and others will grow and deepen.
- Relationship is a joy and privilege, not just a responsibility: Relationships are not a means to an end, but are the expressions of our valuing God and each other.
4. The Attraction of Community
Principle:A community that glorifies God attracts people to God and His mission.
As an Alliance we serve in community with one another and the total Body of Christ. We embrace and reveal a community life that springs from our oneness within the Body of Christ. Being an Alliance is more than an organizational model for functioning collectively as distinct organizations. We seek to be a model of Kingdom living that demonstrates the harmonious unity and diversity of the Body of Christ so that others are drawn to participate in the community.
- Respect and Inclusion are an attracting force.
- Value: We see and respect the value of individuals and community.
- Openness, Transparency and Vulnerability are key to being a community that attracts.
- Invitation: As we participate in God’s mission, we attract and invite others into that community.
The following are expressions of Kingdom living, of being in Christ in community:
- Abiding in Christ – John 15:4; Col 3:4
- Love – 1 Cor 13; Eph 4:16
- Communion with and Dependence on God – John 15:5; 1 Pet 4:11; Psalm 25:5; Psalm 27:4
- Respect – Rom 12:10; I Pet 3:15
- Justice – Deut 16:19, 20; Psalm 11:7; Isa 1:17; Amos 5:24; Mt 23:23
- Mercy – Neh 9:31; Isa 63:9; Zech 7:9; Mt. 5:7; Rom 12:8; James 3:17
- Generosity: all that we have is not ours, but His – Rom 12:6, 1 Pet 4:10, 1 Cor 12:1, 2 Cor. 8:1, 13-14, 9:11-14, Heb 13:16
- Unity and Fellowship – John 17, Heb 10:24, 25, 1 John 1:3
- Commitment – 1 Cor 4:2; 2 Cor 8:2
- Compassion – Ex 34:6; Psalm 111:4; Psalm 112:4; Zech 7:9; 2 Cor 1:3; Col 3:12; 1 Pet 3:8
- Grace – Zech 12:10; John 1:14-17; Acts 20:32; Rom 12:6; 2 Cor 1:12; 2 Cor 12:9; Eph 4:7
- Faith – I Sam 12:24; Psalm 30:4; Prov 2:8; Mt 21:21; Acts 16:5; Rom 1:5-17
- Trust – 2 Sam 7:28; Psalm 9:10; Psalm 125:1; Nahum 1:7; Rom 15:13
- Equality: no one and no form of service valued higher than another – 2 Cor 8:13-14
- Interdependence: neither dependence nor independence – 1 Cor 12:7; I Pet 4:10, 11
- Humility – Luke 10:12; John 15:5; Rom 12:3; Eph 3:7-8
- Authenticity – Zech 8:16; John 4:23; Eph 4:24; Phil 4:8
The following are expressions of the doing of Kingdom living that flow out of the being:
- Bible translation – a tangible example of serving in community
- Becoming “reflective practitioners”
- Discipleship: a part of Body life, continual training in living in community with God and each other – 2 Tim 3:16
- Partnership – Phil 1:5; Philemon 17
- Sacrifice: bearing one another’s burdens – Heb 13:16; 2 Cor 8:2; Gal 6:2
- Listening (and inquiring, not just informing) – Acts 2:42
- Encouragement – Heb 3:13, 10:24, 25
- Prayer – Phil 1:3-5; Mt 18:20; James 5:16
- Holding things loosely: we are not in control – Acts 4:32,
- Inclusion – Rom 12:5; Rom 12:10
- Effectiveness: the Whole Community – 1 Cor 12:25; Eph. 4:16
- Transformation – ongoing. Community is an essential element for transformation
- Restoration – past, present and future
- Mutual accountability – Col 3:16; Eph 5:21
- Growth: lifelong discovery and learning – Rom 15:14
- Multiple centres of influence – holding loosely, releasing “control”
- Multi and intercultural – Rom 12:5
- Stewardship – caring for what God has given us and what He is doing with and through us
(Verses provided are not “proof texts” but are resources for further reflection and study.)
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