Why are we in Oxford?

Our Statement of Identity should, at some level, describe every evangelical church. At the same time, our specific setting for ministry is not the same as every other evangelical church. We are called to minister in the specific context of a small university town/cultural center in the state of Mississippi. Thus our ministry will be the same and different from the ministry of some of our sister churches. We believe we are in Oxford:

  • To proclaim to all, through word and deed, Jesus Christ and Him crucified, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ (1 Corinthians 2:2; Colossians 1:28)
  • To encourage growth in personal holiness by the grace and power of the Gospel
  • To be welcoming and intentional in ministry to all
    • The Lafayette-Oxford-University (LOU) community is home to many kinds of people of all ages (e.g., retirees, singles, young families, college students). We want to be mindful of this entire mix of people as we seek to minister in every sphere of life.
    • In particular, we rejoice at the unusual number of children being raised in this community and this church. We recognize this “mission field” and want to encourage and assist families as children are raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • To demonstrate Christian community
    • We desire to maintain a strong sense of community in Christ. We want to be a place where people love and enjoy Christ and one another within His visible Body., displaying a oneness that gives the watching world a reason to believe that the Father has sent the Son (John 17:21)
    • We want to cultivate a fellowship that enables and promotes honesty about our spiritual condition through prayer, accountability and openness.
  • To reflect the Kingdom of God: all tongues, tribes, nations, cultures, classes
    • The LOU community presents unique opportunities to enjoy and experience cross-cultural relationships everywhere, including in the church. We have seen, are seeing, and expect to see the gospel continuing to break down cultural barriers in the community and the church.
    • We desire to reflect today what the church will look like when we all stand before the throne of God on the last day: Revelation 7:9-11 “A great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb”.
  • To embrace ministry suited to an “airport” environment, i.e., an environment in which people “land” for a season, then “take off” to other places.
    • Most of the people who will come through our doors in any given ten-year period will be temporary residents here, i.e., people who are here between 1 and 6 years or people who do not live here but visit this community regularly.
    • Thus God provides us with limited opportunities to minister to, and equip for future kingdom work, people who are not/will not be long-term residents of Oxford but who have or potentially will have broad spheres of influences in other places.
    • CPC members must be taught and reminded regularly about the “airport” nature of our ministry and be encouraged and equipped to be intentional toward the temporary residents who come through our doors.  Again,we have and will have limited/fixed amounts of time to invest in the majority of people to whom and with whom we will minister.
    • At the same time, we must be careful that our “airport” assumptions do not lead us to neglect ministry within and among the resident members of CPC and the long-term residents of this community.
  • To apply the gospel to Mississippi’s cultural blind spots
    • Issues of race and wealth disparity must be addressed in Christ. Because of the make-up and size of the LOU community, we have opportunities culturally to interact and enjoy a diverse mix of people in ways that many communities in Mississippi do not have.
  • To challenge cultural/materialistic assumptions
    • At some level, the LOU community , in ways that are unique to this community, can present an atmosphere where many activities and interests (aka “idols”) compete for people’s time and hearts. We must be mindful of this atmosphere as we live and minister the gospel of Jesus Christ here.
  • To engage/redeem culture and promote intellectual/theological inquiry
    • LOU is a culturally rich community centered in education and arts. CPC must take this into account as we seek to be instruments in the Redeemer’s hands.