The VOX podcast was launched in October 2015, beginning a conversation about how Christians might better represent Jesus of Nazareth to the world and speak faithfully and relevantly into the cultural issues of our day.
The response was so overwhelming that we began to wonder, “If a church can have a podcast, why can’t a podcast have a church?” We dreamt of what a local expression of VOX might look like, and VOX Christian Community began to take shape.
3 convictions shape our community:
- the church exists to serve and love the world
- the church should be the safest place to talk about and wrestle through anything
- the church must capture the hearts and minds of the next generation
These convictions form the core of what VOX represents.
The church exists to serve and love the world
In the Biblical story, God is always looking for cooperative participants to join him in his work in the world. God connects those who open their hearts to him together into a community that is shaped by his character and mission.
Jesus of Nazareth is the full and final picture of what God is like and what God seeks to do in the world. So we are committed to be a Jesus-shaped community that represents Jesus well in culture.
This means that we see the church as not a refuge from the world, or a hospital for saints, but rather as an expression of God’s commitment to show outrageous love and lavish grace to those who feel far away from him. The orientation of the church is outward towards the world, not inward, towards itself. We refuse to stuff our calendars full of church activity, so that we may continue to be good neighbors, co-workers, and friends.
The church should be the safest place to talk about and wrestle through anything
One of the most controversial aspects of Jesus’ ministry was his willingness to share meals with outcasts, sinners, and the marginalized. Sharing a meal with someone in Jesus’ day was considered a form of acceptance and social approval. This was called table fellowship, and used by Jesus to manifest the open and expansive nature of his movement.
The practice of table fellowship is, for us, the most important picture of how we relate to the world around us: practicing radical hospitality, committed to countercultural friendship, and embodying extravagant grace.
It was in this context that the people who encountered Jesus were transformed.
We believe that transformation still takes place today.
So we come to the table to meet with Jesus. Some call it the ‘Lord’s Supper’. Others call it the ‘Eucharist’ or ‘Communion.’ Whatever it’s called, it is the most compelling invitation ever offered: God is ‘reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.’
So you’re invited. With your questions, and your doubts. With your hang-ups and your screw-ups. With your addictions and your brokenness. The table is for you.
The bread and the cup. They’re for you.
The church must capture the hearts and minds of the next generation
“Boring” and “irrelevant” were words never used by those who walked with Jesus to describe life with him. And yet, so many of our experiences with the Christian community are safe, predictable, and comfortable. So it is no surprise that many who grow up in the church decide to leave it when they graduate high school.
We will create a church that students love. We will not separate them out, away from the rest of the community. They will be included everywhere.
We’ll also be a bit adventurous. We’ll try new things. Take some risks. Probably fail a whole bunch. Jesus invites us out of our comfort and safety to follow him. So we are not going to try to emulate what other churches are doing. There is no need to reproduce the programs and ministries that other churches are doing better than we could ever hope to. There are many great churches in North OC, and VOX will not be for everybody.
These 3 convictions lead us to orient ourselves around the marginalized, the outcasts and the misfits of our world. We are not for people who come from highly churched backgrounds with long lists of things a church “must have” if they are to come back. There are plenty of churches for those people. We want to be a community for the rest of us – those of us in process who are desperately trying to make sense of the world and our place in it. Those who are suspicious of organized religion, but find something compelling about Jesus. Those who are open to the possibility that what Jesus offers is much better than what the church often sells.
And for those of you reading this who are skeptical, antagonistic, or hurt deeply by the church, we make the following commitments so that you may feel safe to belong:
We choose the way of peace – we love our neighbors and our enemies.
We choose the way of love – we embody radical hospitality and countercultural friendship.
We choose the way of justice – we seek to right wrongs for those on the margins.
We choose the way of hope – we live the promise of resurrection.
We choose the way of faith – we live into the narrative of God.
We choose the way of mercy – we extend compassion and generosity into the world.
We choose the way of grace – we invite all to come to the party.
We choose the way of repentance – we say no to ourselves so that we may say yes to Jesus.