the vision is simple
it's not new; and it's not really ours
Because what we're longing to see is a movement of radical, Jesus-shaped followers who are worshipfully led to mission and social justice, and both upwardly and outwardly focused in prayer and worship.
Churches and individuals loving both God and others wholeheartedly. In the way Jesus intended (Luke 10:27). And in a way that will change us – and the world.
Behind every time of prayer and worship we have; every resource we create and give away; and every workshop or activity the Sanctuary runs is this same heart and goal.
We believe that world and worship should meet. So we are on a journey to find the place where they do. And we want to take as many people with us as we can.
Our purpose is to play our part in serving this vision by inspiring, equipping and challenging individuals and churches across the denominations.
And to act as a creative hub which brings people together to explore how we can all move deeper into heartfelt outward-focused worship, and prayer-led mission and justice. For the sake of 7 billion people who God so loves. For the sake of the UK and the nations; the poor; the vulnerable; the trafficked and the lost.
what does the place where world and worship meet look like?
We want to be part of a generation of Christians who refuse to choose between pursuing intimate personal worship and intercessional outward-focused prayer. We want to be people who prioritise both acts of mercy and sharing the gospel.
‘Sanctuary’ means both a place of worship and a safe refuge open to all who need protection. We believe each Christian – and every church – should seek to be both.
And we want to hear new worship rise up from the church which more fully reflects the breadth and breadth of God’s character. And the depth of his heart. Yes for the individual – but for the individual seven billion times over.
We want to see the Church so devoted to Christ that it pursues true intimacy with the Father and as a result sees him for the God of justice he is. And in seeing and knowing his heart of love cannot help but lay itself down for everyone who bears his image.
We want to see this pursuit lived out through a commitment to constant prayer that reveals the Church truly believes it’s only the Spirit that can bring about change. And in lifestyles of radical action which demonstrate we will give everything to partner with Jesus as he makes us part of his answer.
what other way is there?
From poverty, injustice and oppression to excess, lack of purpose and materialism, we live in a broken world. Most people in our communities don't know God and our churches are struggling to be relevant. We often seem a people divided. (We often are a people divided.) At every level we see need.
Yet in the midst of our struggles, and our knowledge of the world's brokenness, we have experienced the transforming power of the gospel, and the extraordinary love of God. We long to worship him. In his presence we experience wholeness - we know more of the resurrection life that brings hope, peace, justice and mercy.
But sometimes our love for this place of personal security we find in worship can lead us to falsely retreat from the world around us – instead of using it as a springboard of individual testimony which ignites a commitment to pray and act for others to know God’s love and goodness.
Our songs - and lives - become almost exclusively about ‘me’ and my discipleship; and our worship is suddenly in danger of becoming directed to a God who we describe as existing to take care of our own personal needs above all else.
Could this mean we are then actually worshipping a kind of pocket God actually made in our own image to meet our own needs? If so, it isn't God we're worshipping. It's ourselves. And our worship is surely inward focused.
And even when we do serve and love the people around us, we then leave them behind again when we 'draw aside' to pray to, and worship, God. When we do this, we are losing so much. We are mis-representing God. And we are short-circuiting the love we’re receiving.
Just as when we try to change the world without an intimate connection to God’s endless resources of love, we cut ourselves off from the power supply that enables us to keep giving and serving without burn-out, resentment, or empty religious acts.
recapturing God's heart for the poor, the broken and the nations
The Bible is rich with both a theological perspective on, and specific examples of, worship that remembers its context. Worship which simultaneously presses in to God - seeking his face and proclaiming him as sovereign - and expresses raw pain and heartfelt cries for intervention on behalf of those who suffer. Think just briefly of the psalms and the breadth and depth of subject matter they contain.
Intercession is a vital part of our adoration of Father, Son and Spirit. Connecting with the Father's love for the world, the Son's saving work and the Spirit's transforming power.
We want to intercede for the poor, the broken, and the nations with as much genuine passion, conviction and desperation as when we are on our knees praying for our own deepest needs, strongest desires, and dearest friends.
We want to recapture the lament without losing celebration or joyful adoration. To embrace the tension of the kingdom that is now and not yet; joy and suffering; confidence in God and a longing for more of his transformation to break through for the poor, the broken, and the nations. We want to carry them in our hearts with us into worship.
And what we begin to see when we pursue this journey is a breakdown between sacred and secular. As we get on our knees for the world around us, our hearts connect, and God transforms us. He gives us his love and we want to leave our safe buildings and go to where the people are.
And when we return from loving, serving and giving to the place of adoration, we have all the more reason to worship and pray to the God of love and justice. We have seen him in action, and been part of his answer to our own prayers. Our fresh testimonies of his goodness lead us into deeper and truer worship.