The final value that we will explore for the church and her leaders is that of being an Anabaptist. This is the stream from which my faith-tradition flows, and it includes several key elements. Although the word or idea of “Anabaptism” is not found in the Bible, it is a unique approach to the Scriptures and the way of Jesus that sets this value apart. Rather than attempt to describe the movement in its fullness perhaps I should give a summary statement and then allow another source to inform us of an overview the Anabaptist way.
The summary I offer is: “The way of Jesus subverts the empires of this age.” At the heart of what it means to be an Anabaptist is a commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus, and to allow the subversive nature of discipleship to expose the “empires” of the world and of popular culture for what they are; counterfeit realities. Empires are often powerful nations, but can be any system, person, or thing that culture imposes on our imagination to keep us in bondage, limiting us from experiencing the kingdom of God. A covenant community is invited to renew her mind, to convert our imaginations into Christ-like actions, and to live as an alternative to the default operation of a fallen world.In order to help in understanding more about the value of being an Anabaptist community and leader, the Anabaptist Network has offered this overview:
1) Jesus is our example, teacher, friend, redeemer and Lord. 2) Jesus is the focal point of God’s revelation. 3) Western culture is slowly emerging from the Christendom era when church and state jointly presided over a society in which almost all were assumed to be Christian. 4) The frequent association of the church with status, wealth and force is inappropriate for followers of Jesus and damages our witness. 5) Churches are called to be committed communities of discipleship and mission, places of friendship, mutual accountability and multi-voiced worship. 6) Spirituality and economics are inter-connected. 7) Peace is at the heart of the gospel.