What CPI is seeking to acheive
- Establish new church plants in the UK, particularly in areas where there are no autonomous evangelical churches of this kind.
- Raise up and support individuals and couples who feel called to plant such churches
- Network together such church planters across the UK to provide pastoral support, mentoring, training and guidance
- Provide financial support for such church planters where possible
- Encourage church planting amongst existing churches of this kind.
- Re-plant such churches which are closing or near closure through raising up culturally relevant new churches in their place
- Assist such churches to make a fresh start, where feasible
Embracing CPI’s ethos, values and principles
CPI’s role is amongst planters and churches who will consider it to be their main support network for their church planting activities and who embrace its ethos, values and beliefs, expressed in the following paragraph from our memorandum and articles:
“(We believe in…) The priesthood of all true believers in the Lord Jesus who are members of the one eternal and universal church, which is the body of which Christ is the head. The church is committed by the command of Christ to proclaim the gospel throughout the whole world.
Each local church is composed of professed believers and is autonomous in government. It has as its model the New Testament practice of plurality of leaders equipped with appropriate spiritual gifts.
There are two “ordinances” of the church, these being the baptism of believers by immersion on personal confession of faith in the Lord Jesus, and the remembrance of Him in the regular observance of the Lord’s Supper, in obedience to his command.
The widespread distribution and exercise of spiritual gifts; regular meetings for worship, prayer, teaching, and fellowship; outreach to the locality; and involvement in world mission.”
Within those broad values, there will be a variety of models and methods of church planting and the shapes of the resulting local churches may differ considerably, but the target is a self-governing, self-supporting church led by a team of gifted leaders and using the gifts of all members in worship and service. Such a church will be firmly based on the Bible but open-hearted towards all committed Christians. It will express its life in Christ in a number of ways including
- the regular sharing of the Lord’s Supper
- the sharing of a common life together, using the gifts of all in worship and service
- the preaching of the Word (both to build up the spiritual life of believers and in evangelism)
- the proclamation and practice of baptism for believers
- evidence of brotherly love in personal relationships
- the exercise of discipline and the recognition of leadership
A church is a congregation of believers in the Lord Jesus who meet to express the fact that they have been incorporated into the Body of Christ. They are a community gradually built together and made one in Christ, and their lives will give evidence of being changed by God. Jesus came to bring in the Kingdom and churches need to be kingdom focussed in all they are and do.
The church is not tied to any one tradition: we are not called to establish identical fellowships in all situations. It is important to respond to differences in culture and community and this may mean doing things in different ways. Times and conduct of meetings, dress, music, noise levels, and many other features will vary. Yet while able to respond in the missionary context to cultural adaptation, churches should always be based on these New Testament principles.
Unity is important and differences of opinion can become potentially divisive. Secondary issues should never be allowed to become primary. Teaching should be given which provides a clear lead, relevant to each stage of development. It is important from the beginning to involve new Christians in taking responsibility. This leads to the identification, training and at an appropriate stage, formal recognition of plural leadership in the new church. All believers are equally priests; therefore the preaching, teaching and pastoral care of the church need to be shared by those gifted to do them. Then, as the church grows, it will not be hindered by changes of leadership, and unity is maintained.
These principles are important for the establishment of a church and their promotion will give dignity and significance to the new group. CPI’s aim is to plant churches which will flourish and grow on the basis of this biblical pattern.