8.  Encourage everyone to practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, scripture reading, rest and reflection, and good works since God works through these to change people to be like Jesus.
9.  Respect the whole history of Christianity because God has always been at work in all times and in many ways and there is much to be learned from all the centuries of Christianity.
10. Respect other Christian churches and their traditions because often valuable insights can be learned from others who are seeking God.
11. Promote spiritual leaders and mentors that are loving, committed, transparent, and whose only responsibility is to shepherd the flock.
        No church is strong and pleasing to God because of the number of people who attend its services, the size of the building where it meets, the type of songs that are used, the style of worship, or any number of other items which could be suggested. These are not critical to the task of helping people grow into maturity in Christ. Changing those aspects of a church will not make it more faithful or vibrant. This group of Christians, while wanting to be relevant to the lives of people, knows the purpose of a church is not to entertain or please people, but to instruct them how to grow in a relationship with Christ and to encourage one another in that spiritual journey.
        We respect Scripture as the inspired Word of God, the leading of autonomous churches mentored by a plurality of elders, the regular practice of communion, and the foundational teachings of repentance, faith, and baptism as the way one begins a walk with Jesus. We do not wish to be known for our stance on any particular doctrinal issue so much as to be known as a place of healing where God changes lives imparting His righteousness to lost and dying people.  If it is God's will, we will be known for our love and community. 

Our Mission:
        The world is full of people who view church as simply another institution within a landscape littered with institutional corruption.  To these people, "church" is just another civic organization where "good" people go to socialize.   It's the Sunday morning evangelist seeking another $100 support check.  It's the right-wing politics of the Moral Majority.  It's a distraction from the drive and ambition to be a self-made man.  It's the crutch their parents used to teach them morals.  It's judgmental.  It's hypocritical.  It's irrelevant.  Those of this mindset would rarely be willing to give conventional churches the benefit of the doubt, as a place to find authentic relationship with God.
        We also believe that there are many people who have been inadvertently left out or, worse yet, driven out of their conventional churches.  Sometimes, these are people who simply have trouble making friends with others.  They quietly drift in and out, never knowing and never being known by the community of believers.  Sometimes, these are people who have made major mistakes in life - substance abuse, failed marriages, financial disasters, etc.   These people feel marginalized, and for whatever reason, conclude that church just isn't for people like them.  We want to prove them wrong. It is our desire to reach these people in a less traditional, unconventional church setting where their needs can be expressed and met in the context of faith and community.
        Finally, we seek to disciple one another in what it means to follow Christ.   We seek to create a place where everyone is engaged in allowing God to shape who they are.  We seek to nurture the image of Christ among us.  In so doing, we invite God into every avenue of life and share our struggle of dying to ourselves a little more each day. We welcome  any and all who have a heart to seek this kind of ministry to be a part.
Disciples' Fellowship
3064 Lorna Road   •   Hoover, AL 35216   •   (205) 823-0288  

Disciples' Fellowship   
Beginnings

The following thoughts were written in the midst of beginning in 2003 and reveal the thinking with which DF was begun.
Our Vision of Christian Community:
            The purpose of the Christian life is to be changed, or transformed. The mind and its thoughts, the will and its decisions, the body and its actions, and the heart and its desires must all be made Christ-like. Only Jesus can give this life, and, by grace, change people so they can have it. This type of change never stops and must continue if a person wants to draw nearer to God.
        A church is a group of Christians which makes its common goal the work of helping each individual be spiritually reshaped into the image of Christ. These Christians know that each of us is on a journey which God is directing. Together we want to encourage, strengthen, and help each other to press on in this business of walking with God.  Everything we do is about making this happen. We recognize that absolutely everyone, without exception, both within and without the church, needs to be discipled to follow Jesus. We also know that only God, by his grace working through his Holy Spirit, is able to truly change people. Therefore, we seek to depend only on God and live this life of seeking God together in faith. A church knows not to depend on human ideas, but to submit and follow God's way in order to actually begin to grow up into Christ's maturity.
        A church is made up of people who have a common faith in Jesus as our crucified and risen Savior, and who want to share together in discovering the way God wants us to live. The fact that we choose to do this together through bonds of friendship means that we have relationships in which to grow spiritually and practice ministry - the very things Jesus teaches. Christians need to be together with others in order to live the life that Jesus lived.
        We are a group of people who desire to meet together to pursue this goal of growing up to be like Christ, and to help others to do the same. We want to be a community of Christians, a church, that makes this aim the center of who we are.   With this purpose of wanting to see everyone grow up to be like Jesus, this church intends to:
1.  Put Christ and his cross at the center of everything so that who we are is the people of Christ and the cross.
2.  Declare ourselves to be first and foremost disciples of Christ - to be Christians only.
3.  Understand that people are children of God only by God's grace through a living faith in Jesus.   Moreover, God's grace is the only source for continuing spiritual growth because we cannot save ourselves nor grow ourselves into the likeness of Christ. Christians are solely dependent on God's mercy.
4.  View worship as the way God's people give themselves to God in everything every day. It is not just about being together at certain times.
5.  Make our times of coming together to worship occasions to celebrate Jesus as Savior and refocus on him as the center of life, while urging, teaching, and proclaiming to everyone how God transforms us into Christ's image.
6.  Devote ourselves to creating a community where children are nurtured and dedicated to Christ's care knowing that in such little ones the kingdom of heaven is found. 
7.  Study, teach, and preach from the Bible with the knowledge that God continues to speak to everyone who seeks him.
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