- We Imagine
- Shaped by God’s Story
- Engaging with culture
- Reinvest / Repurpose
- Public Space
- Community / Friendships
Another way to think of faith is imagination. Imagination is a way of looking at life in terms of what could be instead of simply what is. We believe faith fuels our imagination and flows out of our experience with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Based on Christ-inspired imagination we want to become a gathering place for people to experience the life and teachings of Jesus and make a difference in our community. Here are the ways we imagine this to be so.
We believe our love for people, our ability to forgive those who hurt us, and our drive to meet the needs of those around us grows as we get to know God. Our understanding of God is formed as we begin to learn his story as revealed in the Scriptures. God’s story shapes us and motivates us to live out the teachings of Jesus. God’s story moves us to align ourselves with the true source of life–Jesus Christ.
Pop culture is our common language. We want to use movies, art, music, sports, and progressive culture in combination with the Scriptures to help people discover the life-altering ways of Jesus. We envision an environment of open conversation and mutual respect for a diversity of opinions and beliefs about our world, life, and God. We believe the message of Jesus engages our deepest hopes, beliefs, and longings as we work out the relevant issues of our daily lives.
Our desire is to help people come to faith in Jesus and begin to pour themselves out to meet the spiritual and social needs of our day. We envision people gladly redirecting their resources (education, finances, time, passions) for the good of people in our community and world even though they may be very different from us. After all, we believe the church exists for the benefit of its non-members.
We want to meet in ordinary places. The gulf between what is secular and what is sacred is a divide many religious and secular people are not likely to cross. The result is that God unintentionally becomes sealed off from the mundane ordinaries of life. Going to the movies, sharing a drink, a nice meal out, watching kids at a soccer game, or Monday mornings in the office should be just as spiritual as Sunday mornings in a church building. Meeting in public spaces can act as a metaphor for finding all of life motivated by Christ.
We believe the way of Jesus can only be fully experienced in relationship with others who are seeking to follow Christ. We see new Christians, mature Christians, and spiritually interested seekers gathering weekly to share their questions, struggles and concerns in a context that is, engaging, challenging, motivational, and fun. We see disconnected and isolated people finding belonging through the ordinaries of our life together: Game nights, drinks at a coffee shop, watching Monday night football, movie night, etc. We see diverse groups of people brought together crossing social barriers and forming friendships despite our differences. We see Republicans and Democrats, single and married, wealthy and poor, conservatives and liberals sharing meals and developing meaningful friendships together.
It is always challenging to make official statements of belief – not because we do not believe in very much, but simply because our God is so much bigger than our frail attempts to describe Him. At best, statements of belief serve as symbols to help people think more clearly about God. At worst, they serve as wooden statements that are an attempt towards reducing God down to “One who agrees with me.”
Probably a better type of statement would be: Who We Believe. To be a follower of Jesus is to be simply that, a follower of a person, Jesus of Nazareth. For us, being Christian is not simply agreeing with certain cultural or political philosophies. We believe being Christian (literally, “Christ-follower”) is to be one who seeks to get to know God revealed in the person of Jesus. We are constantly seeking to know Him and to learn to live life according to His ways. This means learning to love our enemies, to value all people, and to live free from habits that can destroy us and other people. This was the pattern of life demonstrated by Jesus Himself. These are the ways we are humbly seeking to learn as God’s Spirit leads us forward.
There are always a few people who want a little bit more of a handle on our specific beliefs. The easiest way to explain where we stand is to state that we are in agreement with historic orthodox Christian beliefs. One formulation of this is the Nicene Creed.
We hope it has become clear to you that we are interested in the life and teaching of Jesus, not in a certain type of religion or rigid system. Because of this, we do not make an overly big deal of the denomination we belong to. We do not believe it is “the right” denomination, but we prefer to think of it as the larger family we are a part of. It can be very helpful to belong to a particular family who aids you in your growth and whom you have the privilege and responsibility to invest in as well.
Our particular family whom we are a part of (our denomination) is the Brethren in Christ. They have graciously invested in us, personally and financially, to see Engage become a reality because they are committed to helping all people, find real life and freedom with God. They are a group of people who network with, minister with, and learn from many other denominations, and that is a huge part of why we love them so much. Pastor Jay is a credentialed minister of the Brethren in Christ Church.
The leadership team of Engage seeks to steer the overall vision and direction of Engage as well as provide spiritual oversight and support to the leaders within Engage Church. The Leadership Team is always eager to interact with your questions and concerns and always ready to hear your dreams and vision of how you pray God can use Engage Church.
Currently, there are 5 men and women who serve as the discerning / leading body of EngageChurch. We have organized ourselves into different roles for ministry and supporting the ministries of the church.
The staff at Engage seeks to empower leaders and equip people in the work and priorities of Christ in everyday life and the ministries of Engage Church.
Terri Martin –
Mary Parks –
Jay McDermond was born and raised in Perry County, PA (please don’t hold that against him) and has lived in England, Kenya, and Scotland. He recently left higher education where he taught for 29 years. He is married to Wanda Thuma-McDermond, and they have two adult sons, Malcolm and Duncan. Jay’s hobbies include collecting milk bottles, which he is good at, hunting ducks and geese, which he is bad at, and golf, which he is even worse at. From August through May, you will find him watching Barclay Premier League (English) soccer more than he probably should.