The Wycliffe Global Alliance in Community

Background

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.

Foundations

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).

Guiding Principles

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

  1. We are created for community and called to community (creation and calling).
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

AP­PEN­DIX

Be­ing and Do­ing: We are re­deemed, re­stored and em­pow­ered in love through the Fa­ther, Son and Holy Spirit. This means our thoughts, at­ti­tudes and ac­tions should mir­ror the love and the unity and di­ver­sity we see in the Trin­ity. This means our be­ing and do­ing are in­ter­twined to pre­sent an invit­ing (though still im­per­fect) por­trait of God’s King­dom come and com­ing. The Al­liance seeks to be a com­mu­nity that pro­vides such a model in re­flec­tion and practice.

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”
  • Multilingual
  • 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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