Our Values & Distinctives
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:15-20
What is written here is a - description and projection of who we aspire to be as a church. It is an expression of our enthusiasm for a particular way of serving Christ. While we affirm that there are many other ways to serve, we are not willing to compromise on God's unique leading of this fellowship. Becoming a member of our church means letting our vision become a part of you.
There is always room for improvement and development by those who accept the philosophy and vision it contains. And in all of our planning we submit to God's sovereignty and say with James 4:15; "If it is the Lord's will we will live and do this or that."
This section of the Church Planting Proposal outlines five core values and then develops the implications of those five values in the form of a philosophy of ministry. For the sake of this proposal the value statement will be grouped with that part of the philosophy that develops it's implications for a philosophy of ministry.
"Values- The most important principles in our philosophy of ministry, prized more highly than others both for their intrinsic worth and for their tendency to shape the rest of our philosophy."
Philosophy of Ministry- Our general theory of Christian service; fundamental principles within which all our work is to be conducted. Source: Scripture, experience and personal convictions.
#1 Biblical Integrity
A BIBLICAL MESSAGE: We are committed to the clear and accurate communication of God's Word in a way that exalts Christ, expounds the gospel, ministers grace and urges obedience (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
1. The Scriptures are the only authoritative and sufficient source for an understanding of Christian life and faith.
2. The central theme of Scripture is the Christ-centered, redemptive message of the gospel and it's implication for all of life. The Bible is not a collection of moralistic lessons but an unfolding story of redemption that proclaims the glory, grace, and kingdom of God and produces transformed lives when truly and deeply believed.
3. The understanding of Scripture commonly known as "Reformed Theology" best reflects the full teaching of Scripture by joyfully acknowledging God's sovereignty and grace in salvation, while, at the same time, affirming the importance of human responsibility in coming to Christ and growing as a Christian.
4. A steady diet of Christ-centered, expository biblical preaching and teaching is important for the spiritual health of a church. All ministries of the church should reflect a deep commitment to Holy Scripture and its Christ-centered message.
5. Combining a clear stand on essential doctrine with freedom of conviction on non-essentials best preserves the unity and integrity of the church.
#2 Spiritual Vitality
A SPIRIT-FILLED FELLOWSHIP: We are committed to individual and corporate life that is alive with the fruit and power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20, Galatians 5:22-23).
1. The gospel is not just the way into the Christian life but the source of power for the whole Christian life. The Christ-centered message of the gospel of grace supplies both the motive and the means for all Christian life and growth. Therefore the deep implications of the gospel must be continually rediscovered and applied to all of life.
2. True Spiritual vitality can only be achieved as the gospel is applied to the heart in order to transform the whole person. Religious and legalistic efforts at behavior change only result in sin management not heart-deep transformation. True spiritual vitality is only experienced as we continually turn from the idols of our hearts to find our life in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The gospel offers us not just God's grace but God Himself as our transforming source of life, joy and strength.
3. According to the Scriptures the "normal Christian life" for both individuals and churches is a life filled with the Holy Spirit and therefore lived as a child of God the Father, devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ, growing in grace. Therefore the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in directing believers to the fullness of Christ and of God, should be a familiar theme in worship, teaching, and counseling.
4. A truly Spirit-filled life is normally marked by both clear thinking and deep feeling. It is not marked by fanaticism or traditionalism but rather by Christ-like character, power for ministry, heartfelt prayer, enthusiastic joy in worship, loving kindness and loyalty in relationships, and personal fellowship with Jesus. Therefore these qualities should be emphasized as the true marks of the Spirit's power and presence, and the ministry of the Spirit emphasized as the means to these qualities.
A TEAM EFFORT: We are committed to a team model for ministry and organization that equips and empowers every member and leader (Ephesians 4:11-16).
1. Every member is to be an active and important part of the ministry team. Believers desiring to further their individual ministries deserve both encouragement and practical help.
2. Small group leaders are key people in the church because they provide for the front line disciple-making and pastoral care. One of the primary purposes of the church is to make them successful in their ministry. See our growth groups.
3. Many normal ongoing needs for encouragement, visiting, practical and spiritual help, etc. are best cared for in the context of a small group ministry. It is sometimes appropriate to refer more serious needs to the pastoral staff or even to professional help inside or outside the local church.
A CREATIVE APPROACH: We are committed to forms of worship and ministry which, without compromise, will creatively blend the contemporary and traditional to best reach and reflect our generation and culture (Luke 5:33-39, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). The seven last words of the dying church are "We never did it that way before".
1. Trying something new and failing is often better than playing it safe.
2. Tradition in itself is a neutral factor at best. The style and structure of our ministry should be driven by sound theology, the needs of people and the missional purpose of the church.
3. The principles of God's Word do not change, but new forms of worship will, and should, continue to develop in our generation and culture. In fact, change of worship forms/manners is to be expected as believers in each generation and culture strive to communicate God's unchanging Word and express their worship of God in a relevant and effective manner. Christians should seek to have a positive and open attitude toward both the old and traditional and the contemporary and innovative. All things should be evaluated in light of the implications of the gospel and the mission of the church.
4. Some churches are "of" the culture. They so embrace the culture that they lose their distinctiveness. Some churches are "against" the culture. They so oppose the culture that they lose their relevance. Some churches try to stay "above" the culture. They so "super-spiritualize" life that they lose their point of contact. The proper response of the church to the culture in which it is called to fulfill its mission is neither to assimilate into nor to attack the culture but to serve the culture. We serve the culture as salt and light by engaging the culture and contextualizing the gospel without compromising our message or our calling.
A PASSION FOR OUTREACH: We are committed to being a missional church. Without in any way lessoning the importance of "foreign missions" we want to fully embrace the challenge of reaching an increasingly unchurched culture with the gospel in our community.
We are therefore committed to work together to bring lost people into a personal relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to maturity in Christ, as disciples who bring glory and honor to Him (1 Peter 2:9-10, Matthew 28:19-20 Romans 15:16).
1. It is appropriate to adopt a goal of ongoing growth based on the conviction that God has called us to keep on making disciples. Reaching out to attract newcomers is worth the substantial cost of research, advertising, and programming needed to do it effectively.
Every believer is called to committed involvement in reaching others for Christ. Each believer should be encouraged to fulfill this ministry and given regular opportunities for training in a variety of evangelism skills. Though not all believers are gifted evangelists, all can bear witness in some form through the use of their unique gifts as part of the body of Christ.
2. Proven church growth principles can be of great usefulness in bringing a biblical vision of ministry to reality however all ministry must ultimately be shaped by our theology and empowered by prayer.
3. A sensitive approach to attracting and serving newcomers, based on their concerns and cultural distinctives is a valuable way to live out the wisdom toward outsiders taught in Colossians 4:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Therefore, in non-moral areas of style and programming the preferences of pre-Christians and new Christians should be given careful attention in planning.
4. Our mission will be best served, not by trying to become one more mega-church but by aspiring to become a movement of multiple services and congregations that share a common set of values and distinctives. Therefore we will place a high priority on multiplying our ministry through church planting, multiple services and multiple sites. People and resources deployed into new churches and congregations are not lost but invested. God will bless the sending church with more to send.