We believe in God. We worship God. We believe God offers Life to all through Jesus Christ. We are a community. Webster’s Dictionary defines a community as “people with common interests living in a particular area.” Our common interest is Jesus. Southside is essentially a community united in Jesus Christ, gathering on the South Side of Des Moines, Iowa to worship Jesus.
There may be no word more confusing than the word “Church.” Is it a place to which you go? Is it an hour in the week? What exactly is the “Church?” Well, it’s not an hour out your weekend, and it certainly isn’t a building. What it is…is us. The people are the Church. You can think of it like an assembly or a gathering. The church is people, people whose bond is having been brought from death to life in Jesus Christ.
At Southside we gladly admit that we are a people who love God.
Alive In Christ, Growing in Strength, Living to Serve
“ So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” -Colossians 2:6-7
The Life that God offers to each of us is available to us through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We believe that Jesus died for us on the cross. We also believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and through that same power we too are brought to new life. We believe that we all have sinned, and that we all need the new life to take root in us. No one is a Christian naturally, we need the life that Jesus offers to us.
Here at Southside we often compare the life we are given with a young plant. Sprouting plants don’t remain sprouts for long. They either wither up, or grow. We too, want to grow into the people that God wants us to be. We often use the word “Christlikeness” to describe this. That’s a pretty good word. What is it to be like Jesus? Imagine giving of ourselves and serving others as he did. Imagine the inner peace that’s there no matter what comes our way. Imagine the life of integrity He lived. This is our goal: Christlike or bust!
Healthy, growing plants have another tendency. They produce some kind of fruit. Apple trees give us apples. God programmed that apple tree in its DNA to make apples in season. There are many trees, with many fruits. With us it is no different. We call the abilities God has given us “gifts.” Some people have been gifted with music, others have been gifted with handiness and can repair just about anything. There are many gifts, and everyone has a gift. A vital part of newly sprouted life growing up is its branching out and bearing this “fruit,” or for us, using our gifts. God has given us our gifts so that we can give them back to Him in service.
Nazarene? What’s a Nazarene?
The Nazarene church is a little “c” church in Christ’s worldwide and ageless big “C” Church. The Nazarene denomination began officially in 1908, and was borne out of the holiness revivals held throughout our country in the nineteenth century. Nazarenes today still emphasize holiness. That’s another word that has meant many things to many people through the years, but what is meant by it? To be holy is simply to be set apart for something. Your toothbrush is set apart for you. Simple enough. Applied to people, this means that this person is set apart for God, and not for something else. We were created to worship God. To love and be loved by God. The holy life is a life lived out of this love. It is a life of purity and power possible only by the power of a living God. There are many things we can seek in this life. We can search for money, power, recognition, or really, practically anything. A life lived separated to God is a life that is lived seeking God above all things. A life in which we realize that our greatest need, and our greatest love, is God.