“Leading people to a more intimate relationship with God, for His glory.”
This has been our mission statement for many years, reminding us of the overall call on our lives. Working together as a family to see this through, the following ideas are outworkings of this mission statement, and provide a solid summary of who we are, who we are becoming, and why we exist.
Unified in Christ
God has unified us, first and foremost, through the New Covenant in Christ. These covenant promises allow us to be active participants in the Kingdom of God through His power at work within us, transforming our lives from the inside out and enabling us to live in restored relationships with God and one another.
Unified in Our Devotions
We have committed to the practices found in Acts 2:42, where the followers of Jesus devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. As a family unified in Christ, these practices are used by the Holy Spirit to continually form us into the image of our Savior, and are essential in our call to faithfully follow Jesus.
Unified in Vision
Our goal is to become like Jesus by imitating Him in every way, particularly His focus on caring for people in deep and meaningful ways as He lived His life each day. We have no specific demographic in mind when it comes to who we are trying to reach, but instead feel called to be faithful with the relationships God gives us as we live our lives, obediently carrying the hope of the gospel to everyone we encounter.
Unified in Purpose
God has strategically placed us in Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities to live as followers of Jesus and invite others into life with Him. The church exists for many reasons, one of which is to equip one another to go and minister to the people around us, extending Jesus’ invitation to live abundantly through a restored relationship with God.
“Hope” encapsulates so much of what we walk in as the people of God. It’s a confident expectation that He is everything we need and will see us through to the end as He lovingly helps us become all we were created us to be. The fact that God will keep His promises to us serves as “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb 6:19), so we offer this to each other and the world around us, holding out hope to every person, in every situation, until He returns.
But the hope we offer is not one where you “cross your fingers and wish for the best,” as you find out in the world around us. Many voices out there offer hope in a number of different ways, but we are offering hope that is alive and available to all. Our hope thinks, feels, hurts, comforts, understands, reigns, delivers, loves, cares, fights, and so much more. “Living” emphasizes the fact that our hope is a person, and our hope is alive because Jesus is alive. As Peter writes best, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
“Fellowship” may seem to be an odd choice at first, but it’s actually a good fit for our unique family. We live, work, and play in different places around the greater Baton Rouge area. We gather for worship in Sherwood Forest, but very few of us live there and who knows how long we will meet in that location. With all this in mind, we really aren’t a “community church.” Instead of one congregation reaching one community, we are one congregation reaching several communities. And this is amazing that He has formed us with such diversity and unity. The Greek word translated “fellowship” used in Acts 2:42 is used throughout the New Testament to mean fellowship, partnership, participation, sharing, taking part, contribution. This sounds like us and what we are hoping to continue to become.
The full name of our church is “Living Hope Fellowship in Sherwood” and is the fusion of the names of the two churches that united in 2018. It is important that we honor our heritage and the many who have gone ahead of us. Many people have come onto this property and through these doors. Countless men and women have given of their time, treasure, and talents to see the mission continue, and we honor those who have gone ahead of us, recognizing that today we stand on the shoulders of these giants and we hope to make them proud. By His grace, the next generation will stand on our shoulders, and in fifty years they will not be exalting any of our names, but only the name of Jesus.
Living Hope Fellowship in Sherwood, leading people to a more intimate relationship with God, for His glory.