The future vision for Trinity brings both excitement and challenges. We also recognize the importance to have on-going clear communication throughout this entire process. Therefore, we want to be sure to provide TCC Partners with signposts and markers along the way as we journey together to the land God has promised.
What compels us to pursue our vision is the belief we are called to raise up Gospel communities throughout Knoxville and the surrounding area. What are Gospel communities? They are small communities of believers who are being so transformed by the power of the Gospel, they form relationships with other believers who are also being transformed by its power. Together, they then commit themselves to using those relationships to reach others with the glorious good news. So it all starts with people hearing, believing, and growing in their knowledge of the Gospel.
Three values drive our move towards Gospel community. They are best understood by using three simple words: belong, grow, and serve. By “belong” we mean that we must live our Christianity out with others with whom we are being vitally joined to in relationships of honesty, integrity and transparency. A deep sense of “belonging” must characterize our experience of the body of Christ. Too often people are connected to a church because they like the preacher or because they have a good Children’s Program and never form deep relationships with other believer which is the essence of true church life. At Trinity, our conviction is for every believer to belong to a community where they are forming deep relationships with other believers. Then, we begin to grow with other believers in our knowledge of God and the Gospel. In Scripture, growing is never viewed as merely an individualistic matter but reflects the vitality of the corporate body as a whole. We grow in our knowledge of God at the same time we are growing in our experience of community. Finally, we are called to serve the mission. Everyone has a part in reaching others through Gospel ministry.
The Gospel is the basis for such communities. That means more than initially believing the Gospel in order to be saved and entering the community (though that is true; it is only the beginning). It also means it is only as we grow in our understanding of the Gospel and learn to apply it to our lives that we can ever hope to give ourselves to others. That’s because the Gospel deals with our two greatest needs that hinder us from entering community: shame and an evil conscience. Shame is the inherited sense we are not what we should be which we all have inherited from the fall of our first parents. It keeps us from being transparent and causes us to hide from others. The Gospel deals with our shame by gifting us an identity not based on who we are in ourselves, but in relation to God through the Gospel. An evil conscience is the sense of guilt that keeps us from living transparently for fear others will discover what we have done. The Gospel deals with an evil conscience by cleansing us from the guilt of all of our sin, past, present, and future.
Thus, Gospel communities are places where imperfect people are constantly empowered through the Gospel to belong to others in authentic relationships of trust and transparency, grow together with others in knowledge of God, and serve with others in our ultimate purpose—to share the good news of Jesus with others in our community so they too can share in the blessing as they belong, grow, and serve.