Return Church was established two and one-half years ago as God, through a supernatural work, brought our congregation together. Although we began as a people hurt, wounded, and disillusioned from organized religion, God miraculously brought us out and led each of us toward rediscovering an intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ. Below is our statement of purpose and identity as it articulates who we are, what we do, and why we exist as a church.
Return Church is a family of diverse individuals, returning to what matters… an intimate, love relationship with Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to glorify Jesus in all we do through worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, and helping the vulnerable.
We Are a Family of Diverse Individuals.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ saves people from all walks of life. At Return Church we exemplify that principle as you will find rich, poor, prestigious, unknown, educated, and uneducated people in our congregation. The Gospel reaches people of all nationalities, races, socioeconomic status, and social rank. It’s the cross that equalizes us. We all come to God as lost sinners that find Jesus at the cross, where He forgives, justifies, and makes us one in Christ. We are not a religious social club, nor do we hold any special status with God outside of Jesus Christ. We are no better than other Christians elsewhere in the World. Like all born-again Christians, we are blessed with God’s grace and favor as our identity is found in Christ Jesus.
Even though our initial congregation came from one particular organization, today Return Church is made up of Christians from many different denominational backgrounds, from all walks of life. We respect each person equally and celebrate individuality while simultaneously celebrating that we are all made one in Christ Jesus.
We are a family, so like any church family, we stick together. We look out for one another, shouldering the responsibility to care for, help, and love one another. We meet often to encourage one another in our faith. Like all families, we sometimes experience conflict but seek to be honest with one another, communicate openly, and forgive freely and quickly. We understand that all Christians are part of the Body of Jesus Christ, each member being as important as the other. No one at Return Church is more or less important than any other member. Like all families, we may not agree with everyone on everything, but we do agree to love and respect one another as we hold firm and embrace the essential fundamental truths of our faith.
We are Returning to What Matters: An Intimate, Love Relationship with Jesus Christ.
This statement is the key to everything important in life. At the end of our life, we will face our Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ to personally give an account of our life to Him. He created us, He redeemed us, and it is for His pleasure and glory that we live. He alone will judge us, thus to Him alone will we answer. It is for an audience of One, Jesus Christ, that we live with a desire to make Him the center of our life in everything we do at Return Church.
We were created to have an intimate, personal, love relationship with God, but sin ruined it, and man fell out of relationship with Him. We were all born into inherited sin from Adam the first, estranged and separated from God. Only when a person encounters Jesus Christ, repents of their sins and places their faith and trust in Jesus can they be saved. By the grace of God, through faith in Jesus, we can be saved, redeemed, justified, and reconciled back to God. Our mission at Return Church is to help people discover an intimate, personal love relationship with Jesus Christ, whether for the first time or rediscovering Him in their lives.
Jesus wants to communicate with all believers, every day of their lives while they are on the earth. We don't have to go through a priest or prophet to speak with God, for He desires to speak to each of us individually on a continual basis. As we prayerfully study our Bibles, we come to a realization that prayer is not a monolog but rather a dialog, a two-way communication between us and God. There is one Mediator between man and God, and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus ascended back to the Father after His resurrection from the dead, at which time the Father sent the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ Name to earth to comfort us, lead us into all truth, teach us, and help us. The Holy Spirit is here with us, to draw us to Jesus and give us the revelation of the Word of God, therefore, it is important not to grieve or quench His ministry.
A personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ not only is built upon good communication but requires knowing God’s position as Lord and Master. He is the shepherd; we are the sheep. He is the Potter; we are the clay. He is the King; we are His servants. God left us the Holy Bible, which is God’s written Word, to give us instructions as to how to live our lives. Furthermore, He gives us the Holy Spirit to convict, lead, and guide us. It is up to each of us personally to hear, see, and understand the Holy Spirit as He guides us on how to follow Jesus and walk in His ways. At Return Church, we don’t give you a list of man-made rules as to how you should live your life. Instead, we encourage you to read your Bible, pray and trust God to communicate with you as to how He wants you to live your life. Religion is all about rules and rituals, but at Return Church, we are all about relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, and relationships with each other. The first and greatest of all commandments is to love the LORD with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength; then you are to love your neighbor as yourself. That sums up our objectives at Return Church. The New Testament is full of instruction of how Christians should live their lives. Mankind does not need to add to or take away from God’s inspired Word that shines the light on our paths with instruction from God.
Our Purpose Is to Glorify Jesus in All We Do.
To give God glory and honor with our lives is the primary purpose of our existence. Worthy is the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, to receive all glory, honor, and praise. Jesus created us, rescued or saved us, justified us, and reconciled us back to God. We cannot take any of the credit for our salvation, for Jesus did it all. We owed an unpayable debt to God, yet Jesus paid the price for us on our behalf. We cannot boast in our own righteousness for we have none of our own. It is by the grace of God that we are saved. Jesus is our righteousness, therefore everything we do should be to His glory. All that we do at Return Church is centered around Jesus, for His pleasure, honor, and glory. Our purpose is to glorify Jesus in all we do through these following purposes of the church.
At Return Church we desire to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. We call our services worship services because all of our acts together as a church are acts of worship. Singing, praising, praying, giving, and even the teaching of God’s Word are all forms of worship. We do not like religious forms or rituals and are not fond of non-Biblical religious liturgies. We are a church that is alive and on fire for God, therefore, we will experience lively and demonstrative worship. However, all demonstrative worship must be Biblically grounded and done decently and in order. We never try to put God in a box of our understanding, for God is much bigger than what we can possibly comprehend or understand. We do not build forms of worship and expect God to fill our forms. Rather we come with an open heart and mind, with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength to worship our Maker and Redeemer in Spirit and in Truth.
Everyone worships something or someone, for worship is built into our beings. We worship what we love, and we serve what we worship. All religious and non-religious people worship. Some people worship other people; some worship money; some worship power or fame. There are many false gods or idols that people worship. If a person’s life is consumed by a career to the point that they sacrifice all for their career and serve the career above all else, then they probably worship and serve the money or power or status that the career gives them. Humans have hidden idols in their hearts and most people are not even aware of these idols. They bow to or worship these idols and serve them because they are in love with them. We attest that all believers need to search their hearts and rid themselves of all idols, so they may worship, serve, and love Jesus Christ and Him alone. It is our objective at Return Church to center all of our worship toward and upon Jesus. He alone is worthy of our worship and praise. Therefore, all that we do is centered around Him, and for His glory and honor.
Evangelism or outreach is one of the primary purposes of the church. All Christians have the responsibility to reach out to the lost to share their faith with others. The very nature of Christ is love, which gives and shares with others. The more we grow in Christ's love, the more we should find ourselves giving and sharing what God has graciously given to us. He forgives us so that we will forgive others. He loves us so that we will love others. He blesses us so that we will bless others. All believers should share the good news of Jesus with whomever the Holy Spirit leads us. When we are walking in the Holy Spirit, we will always find Him leading us to others to share the Gospel. We are to continually show-up where He leads us and then simply reach out to the lost. In fact, we should just show up and allow Him to reach out through us to others. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and has called us to be His hands and feet as we go into the community to share Him with others. We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Our lives should be a living epistle that all people can read. We represent Jesus wherever we go and to everyone we meet or encounter. Yes, God has people in the church with the gift of an evangelist, but every believer should be a witness for Jesus and a testimony of His amazing grace. Show me a church that is not reaching outside of its four walls, and I will show you a dead church that has become a religious social club.
A major purpose of the church is discipleship. God does not want us to focus only on reaching others for Christ, but equally important is that we continue to grow in our faith. God wants to turn all followers of Jesus into His disciples. At Return church, one of our primary focuses is the teaching of God’s Word. We do this collectively as a congregation and in weekly home small groups. We believe that it is God’s desire to teach us His Word so that we may understand who God is, and what He is like so that we can have a wonderful relationship with Him. We are also discovering who we are in Christ so that we can learn to see ourselves as God sees us. God doesn’t want His church to be wide and shallow, but rather wide and deep. No farmer has been satisfied with planting a crop to the point that he celebrates and stops his work on the day of planting. Instead, he knows that the crop must be cared for, the ground plowed, the weeds and insects killed, and adequate water and sunshine received. There is a lot of work to be done before the day of harvest. It is the most wonderful thing in the world for a us to be born-again, but we need to grow into a mighty tree of life, bearing the fruit of the Spirit before the work is done. Our souls need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds daily. This is a life-long process as we become more and more conformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. We grow spiritually from faith to faith, from glory to glory.
All Christians should have a ministry. All believers should find a need and fill it or find a hurt and heal it. Jesus has called all believers to be servants. The Christian life is not a selfish life, but rather a life of giving, sharing, and service. The word ministry comes from a Greek word meaning waiting or serving tables. It is serving bread to others whether it be the bread of life or natural bread. Not all Christians are called to be preachers or teachers, but all Christians are called to serve or minister to others. All believers can pray and ask God to send them to someone in need. The world is full of hurting, hungry, lost people that need to feel and experience the love of God. It is the Christian’s duty and responsibility to reach out and minister to those in need. Ministry is not receiving a position of authority and ruler-ship in the church to Lord over or boss people. Conversely, the opposite is true, as ministry is washing feet, serving tables, giving bread, and speaking truth into others’ lives while helping them walk with God. If you don’t have a ministry, then we encourage you to pray each day and ask God to show you who you can help today, or who you can encourage. Don’t wait for a formal ministry to be given to you by man, but realize that you are a part of the Body of Christ, and God wants you to care for, help, serve, or love other people. Find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it.
Another key purpose of the church is fellowship. We were never designed to walk our Christian life alone. Rather, we are all a part of the Body of Christ and are supposed to live out our faith with our brothers and sisters in Christ. God’s Word tells us to assemble with each other, to encourage one another, and to strengthen and build up one another. A play on words for fellowship would be: two fellows in the same ship, going the same direction, to the same destination, encouraging one another, and helping one another on their journey. The early church met in homes, broke bread together, and had communion with God and with each other daily. We all need a circle of friends to hold us accountable, to encourage us, to build us up, and to tell us where we are missing the mark. A life in Christ is designed to be lived in and through a community of believers. Join a small group, or get involved in ministry so that you can develop friendships with other Christians and learn the power of Christian fellowship.
Helping the Vulnerable
A final purpose of the church is to help and care for the most vulnerable of our community. This is repeated over and over in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. God wants His church to reach out and care for the most vulnerable of society: Widows, orphans, homeless, poor, needy, sick, mentally ill, emotionally disturbed and spiritually depleted. All of these people are as important to God as we are to Him. A homeless person is just as valuable to God as a man living in a million dollar mansion. It is easy just to go along with the majority of mankind and undervalue those that our society treats as outcasts. We can pretend they are not our responsibility, but God’s Word says that they are. It is so easy to look the other way and stay distant from societies' outcast, but Jesus wants us to reach out to them, help them, care for them, and love them. Jesus even went as far as to say that when we help, minister to, or serve them, then we are actually serving Him. Anyone can love and give to someone who will love and give back to them, but can you love the unlovely? Can you give to someone who cannot possibly ever give back to you? Can you love with a love that expects nothing in return?
Personally, I have a special burden from the LORD to help drug addicts. I think they are the most difficult of all people to minister to because they are so helplessly lost in their addictions. The success rate is very slim, and the odds of one of them making a full recovery are long against them. Most of them will lie, steal, or do anything necessary for them to buy their next hit of the drug of their choice. However, I see a soul that is imprisoned and captured by the devil, and my heart goes out to them. They want to be delivered, but they don’t even know where to start. The drugs are killing them, but they think the drugs are giving them life. Not all Christians are called to work with drug addicts, but I am, and I think they are some of the most vulnerable of society.
The following six verses from the second chapter of Acts demonstrate all six purposes of the church that we have identified at Return Church. In this passage, we see discipleship, fellowship, worship, ministry, evangelism, and helping the vulnerable.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:42-47
As pastor of Return Ministries, I am delighted and so thankful to God for giving us a clear church identity, a clear vision of the direction to take, and a clear statement of purpose. As you can see, a healthy vibrant church has several purposes that make up our overall purpose, which is to glorify Jesus in all that we do. Come and join us. Be a part of the movement of God where first love burns in the hearts of the people of Return Church, as we seek to give Jesus all the glory, honor and obedience He deserves.
Return Ministries Statement of Purpose
Return Church is a family of diverse individuals, returning to what matters…an intimate, love relationship with Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to glorify Jesus in all we do through worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, and helping the vulnerable.
With the love of Jesus Christ