In the Sword of the Spirit we are called to be “a community of disciples on mission.” This phrase tells us in a brief way what God called us to be (our nature) and what he called us for (our purpose).
This is the call of the Sword of the Spirit and it is also the call of every local community.
In every age the Lord calls men and women to follow him, to put aside concern for their own lives, and, trusting fully in his grace, to give themselves generously in his service.
We have heard the call of God, a call to serve him and his people in this time, a time of trial and challenge for the Christian people, a time when he is pouring out his Spirit to renew, restore, and unify his people.
He has addressed us as “the Sword of the Spirit,” a name signifying our role as a missionary body witnessing to and proclaiming the word of God in this age of spiritual warfare. In response to this call, we have formed an international, ecumenical association so that we might more effectively come together from many nations, cultures, and Christian traditions.
We are to be covenanted to himself and one another in local communities and in an international community of communities so that we might fulfill the mission he has given us.
In short, we live out our Christian commitment, united by a covenant, a common way of life, and dedication to a common purpose and mission.
Being a Community
A Sword of the Spirit community is a group of people who have committed themselves to pray together, to support one another in a common way of life, and to carry out a common mission. People sometimes use the term “intentional community” for such a venture.
A common way of life means not only that we meet together but that we agree to a set of values about how to live out the Christian life. These are expressed in:
- Teaching on how to live out Christian life in the modern age, and day-to-day help in making this practical in our lives.
- Teaching that is shaped by orthodox Christianity and based upon the creeds, but respectful of the different churches we come from.
- Worship that draws on our various church traditions and on the particular work of the Holy Spirit through the charismatic gifts.
- And support of one another in day-to-day life: to enable this, many of us have moved into neighborhoods where we are within easy walking distance of one another..
We also describe ourselves as “covenant” communities. We have made commitments to live out our life with one another for the long term. For community life to work well, we have to be able to rely on one other, and, in our experience, this requires a higher degree of commitment than is typical in most church settings.
Our life goes beyond any one generation or age group, and we actively encourage relationships across the generations. This benefits everyone. Young people have many older brothers and sisters in Christ to look up to and draw inspiration from, and older people and single people have the blessing of being able to share in family life. Our hope and prayer is that our children will be greater disciples than we are, and to this end we put a lot of resources into our work with our young people.
The Sword of the Spirit has a strong common culture that transcends our international differences. As a result, when members of different communities get together, even though they may be from different parts of the world, there is a very strong sense that we are part of the same international “community of communities”.
Families, households, and small groups are at the heart of our life. A household may be a family, possibly with some single people living with them, or it may be a group of single people living together. In these environments we learn to live together day to day, and learn how to love one another as a result. In the Gospel of John (13:35), Jesus speaks of how the love we have for one another will allow others to see that we are his disciples. That is our hope and prayer.
Being a disciple of Christ means keeping him at the center of every area of life. This is no easy thing, and to do it faithfully we believe Christians need significant support. Over the years, member communities of the Sword of the Spirit have developed a series of practical teachings that help people live out Christianity day to day.
As new members get involved in our community life, they are invited to take part in teaching and discussion sessions that over a number of years cover the basics of living as disciples in the modern world, and living in community. Every member is also part of a small group for discussion and personal accountability. All our members take on some service within our community, and many are actively involved in our various missionary endeavors.
Being on mission
We believe in an evangelistic mission – in telling others the good news about knowing God personally through his Son Jesus Christ and experiencing the transforming life of his Holy Spirit. Telling others this good news is an integral part of the Christian life as portrayed in the New Testament.
Our communities are involved in mission to youth, university students, young professionals, and families – and in some communities a special outreach to people who are on the margins of society. Some of our mission work is done as individuals and sometimes as communities or in regional outreaches.
The communities often provide a living context for speaking to others about life in Christ. We are able to simply say, “Come and see.” (Gospel of John 1:39)
We believe that God has called the Sword of the Spirit into being in this age as the society becomes increasingly hostile towards the message of Christ and increasingly fragmented. Christian communities provide a strength and support to individual Christians, and we believe to his whole church.
We feel that this new era, like so many in history, is ripe with opportunities to tell others the good news that there is a God, a loving Father, who cares about each person. We believe that Christians are called, not to a life of self-protection, but to extend the call to everyone – be reconciled to God in Christ, his beloved Son, and begin to live his blessed life forever. We aspire to be, as our strapline says, “a community of disciples on mission.”
We believe that God has called us together from many Christian traditions and churches to be a living testimony to God’s purpose for his people of “uniting all things in heaven and on earth” in his Son Jesus Christ (Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 1:10). We live as brothers and sisters united in a common commitment and a common way of life which allows us to support one another in living a zealous, disciplined life in Christ, and at the same time to respect those differences among us which reflect our various church backgrounds and Christian commitments.
We believe that we can discern in this time in history a great working of the Holy Spirit to draw together the Christian people in a mutual recognition of their common “sonship” in Christ, a recognition which can form a solid foundation from which to deal with the many important questions which still divide the Christian people.
We believe that the Lord desires to overcome the divisions among the Christian people (Gospel of John 17:22-23). We therefore join ourselves to one another as brothers and sisters both as a response to the way God has worked among us and in the belief that it furthers the Lord’s work of unity and contributes to the life of the various churches and the Christian people as a whole. We do so humbly, recognizing that our efforts are only a small part of what God is doing in the world today.