Community is more than geography. It is time invested in strengthening the lives and experiences of others.
As Christ followers, we are given the greatest invitation that could ever be received. We are invited to join God’s redemptive work in all of creation. God actively and passionately pursues His creation, and through His Spirit is working in humankind to redeem and restore them to Him.
Therefore, the pursuit of every believer should be the total surrender of self in response to God’s unceasing work in all of creation - accepting an invitation to enter the missio Dei (the mission of God). Missio Dei is expressed through mercy, love, and justice for self and all of humankind. And, although God uses many different creative ways for his plan of redemption, creating churches remains a gospel-centered approach.
God has given the vision of a two-pronged approach. In short, Essence Place will be a church and community center. We desire to build community and relationship by providing not only worship services, but throughout the week: groups, activities, and events purposed to promote wellness and balance within individuals and families – body, soul, and spirit.
We believe that God has led us to establish a presence in the community through the week, so that we may begin to be meet needs in the community that connect with a person’s whole self. This will build relationship, belonging, and trust, which will form a strong faith community out of this foundation.
We don’t desire to simply attract people with activity; we desire to develop relationship that leads to deeply transformed lives in Christ.
How will we do this? Initially, Essence Place will consist of small groups, classes, events and faith-focused gatherings geared toward caring for people holistically (body, soul, and spirit). We believe that as relationship and community is developed, Essence Place will grow forming larger gatherings for worship.
Why West Hartford?
West Hartford is a community-oriented town with lots of life and vitality, and a strong potential to affect change in its surrounding communities due to its high rate of education and affluence. Unfortunately, according to the Percept Group Inc. there is an estimated:
- 44.3% of people not affiliated with any church or religion
- 30.5% of people somewhat involved with faith
- 25.7% of people strongly involved with faith
Research has shown that the vast majority of those who are affiliated with faith are only interested in being recreationally involved. In other words, the focus is lots of activity and not necessarily deeply transformed lives wholly devoted to Christ. What they are interested in is personal, lifestyle, health and balance.
Essence Place desires to be a place of community that will care for people in such a way that they discover the vital importance spirituality and faith plays in the overall health of a person. This faith community will focus on holistic transformation (body, soul, and spirit), believing that the overflow will be a strong, vibrant faith community that will lovingly and authentically impact the world around them.
THe Mind Map
The vision for holistic transformation will have many avenues for expression through community care. The mind map below gives a "brain storming" view of the elements within the vision for Essence Place.