Beliefs and Values

Our Beliefs

  

BIBLE:  We believe in the absolute authority and accuracy of the 66 books of the Bible, its full verbal inspiration in the original manuscripts and its all-sufficiency as the Christian's rule of faith and practice (II TM 3:16,17; II PT 1:19-21).


GOD:  We believe that there is but one God, the Creator, Preserver and Ruler of all things, who is perfect in holiness, and in love, infinite in wisdom and measureless in power, and who is and reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (EX 15:11; DT 6:4; I CH 29:11; NH 9:6; MT 28:19; I JN 4:8b).


JESUS CHRIST:  We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, and that He is true God and true man and is the only mediator between God and man (MT 1:20; LK 2:52; JN 1:1,12,14; 14:6,9; I TM 2:5).


HOLY SPIRIT:  We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with the Father and the Son, and of the same substance and nature; that He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment; that He bears witness to the truth; that He is the agent of new birth; and that at conversion He baptizes the believer into the Body of Christ; and that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies and helps the believer, indwelling every true child of God; that He provides believers with gifts for ministry in order to build up the church (JN 3:3-7; 14:16; 16:8-11; AC 5:3,4; RO 8:14-27; I CO 12:7,13; II CO 13:14; EP 1:13; I JN 5:7).


MAN:  We believe that man was created in the image of God by direct creation and that he sinned and thereby incurred both physical and spiritual death; thus, we believe that all men by nature and by choice are sinners and, apart from Christ, shall be forever separated from God (GE 1:26; 2:17; EZ 18:20a; RO 6:23).


ANGELS:  We believe that angels are created spiritual beings who are either unfallen and good or fallen and evil; that good angels worship before God for His glory, act as His messengers, and minister to the saved. We believe that evil angels under the leadership of Satan sinned through pride and were ejected from God's glory; that these evil angels, also called demons, serve Satan, their influence being limited by God; that they are the enemies of God's people and that they blind the minds of unbelievers to gospel truth; that they are defeated foes of God (JB 1:12; 2:6; IS 14:12-17; MT 12:22-27; 25:21, 41; II CO 4:4; EP 6:11,12; HE 1:6,7).


ATONEMENT:  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, that all who believe in him are justified on the ground of His shed blood (RO 5:8,9; I CO 15:3,4; RE 1:5).


SALVATION: We believe that salvation is by grace through faith, not of works, and that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are born again of the Holy Spirit, thereby becoming children of God. We believe in the eternal security of the believer (JN 1:12; 3:3,7; 10:27-29; EP 2:8,9).


SECOND COMING:  We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of the Lord, in His ascension into heaven and in His present ministry there for us as High Priest and Advocate. We believe in the personal, visible, imminent, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His Church and in His coming in glory with the believers to set up His kingdom upon the earth (AC 1:9-11; I CO 15:4; I TH 4:13-17; HE 4:14-16; I JN 2:1; RE 19:11-16; 20:1-5).


ETERNAL STATE:  We believe in the bodily resurrection and the everlasting conscious blessedness of the saved. We believe in the bodily resurrection, judgment, and everlasting conscious punishment of the lost (LK 16:19-31; I CO 15:20-24; II CO 5:8; RE 20:12-15).


CHURCH:  We believe that the local church is the community expression of the body of Christ and is a voluntary association of baptized believers, equal in rank and privilege, subject to the Word of God, and is independent of any external ecclesiastical or political control (MT 22:21; JN 1:1,18; AC 2:38-41; I CO 1:2; CL 3:11,16).


MINISTRY:  We believe that the ministry of the church includes worship, instruction, fellowship, and administering of the ordinances (AC 2:42; I JN 1:3).


ORDINANCES:  We believe that every believer is to be baptized by immersion in water. Though baptism has no saving merit, it does illustrate in solemn and beautiful symbolism the believer's faith in and union with the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. We believe that the Lord's Supper is a provision of bread and the cup which are symbolical of Christ's broken body and shed blood; that the Lord's Supper is partaken of by saved individuals in commemoration of the suffering and death of their Lord and in anticipation of His soon coming again; that its observance is to be preceded by faithful self-examination (LK 22:19,20; JN 3:23; AC 8:38, 39; RO 6:3-5; I CO 11:23-30).


MISSION:  We believe that the mission of the church is to glorify God through individual and collective witness so that people are led to Jesus Christ and are built up and equipped as Christians for the purpose of a continued and expanding witness to the world (MT 28:19,20; MK 16:15; II CO 5:19,20).

Photo by Stefan Kunze on Unsplash

Photo by Stefan Kunze on Unsplash

Our Values

 

A CULTURE OF GRACE: The Gospel is all about God’s amazing grace and the completed work of Jesus on the cross. And yet, so much of our time and messages seem to be focused on “work” we need to do, rather than the work He has done. Are we unintentionally creating a culture of legalism or works? Are we unintentionally producing Pharisees and scorekeepers? How much do we celebrate and fixate on the grace of Jesus rather than our performance? Jesus came “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Those are not opposite qualities. They are qualities in harmony with each other. If it’s True, it’s full of grace! If it’s full of God’s grace it is true. Jesus resisted the attitudes and ways of many of the Pharisees, and instead brought freedom through grace. If we want Him to show up, we must be insistent on creating environments that resist what He resisted, and instead pour out what He poured out!


AN EVANGELISM TILT: Did Jesus tilt towards the needs of the outsider or the preferences of the insider? That question is critical! How strongly does “leaving the ninety-nine to go after the one” (Luke 15), definitively answer that question? Do we value it as much as Jesus does? How does that show up in the design of our services? How does it show up in how we make staffing, budgeting, and scheduling decisions? Are we more committed to keeping or reaching?


CHURCH HEALTH & UNITY: Few things turn off and confuse the outsiders more than conflict between the insiders. Internal conflict completely undermines how Jesus said outsiders would identify us with Him (John 13:35). And yet, many Christians appear to prefer fighting over who is right (or more right) than fighting for unity and mission. Along with that, more churches, historically, have been known for what they are against rather than for. Until we decide that love, joy, and peace are not just the Fruit of the Spirit, but as such, essential “Fruit of the Church,” then other negative qualities will grow up like weeds. Church leaders must personally eliminate complaining, criticizing, and grumbling, and instead release massive doses of joy, honor and gratitude. We must be contagious with the qualities that Jesus values the most.


IRRESISTIBLE WORSHIP SERVICES: When Jesus is passionately and joyfully lifted up, and His Word is clearly and practically communicated, “wow” should be the norm not the exception. When people of all ages go away filled up and fired up to take on a new week, then “Life” Himself was there, pouring into people. When newcomers, not just the “already convinced”, sense and experience the life changing and healing presence of the Holy Spirit, then we can say that our worship service reflected the Lord. Jesus captivated all kinds of people, everywhere He went. Services that are irresistible to Him will do the same.


BOLD FAITH: Churches that are irresistible to Jesus, do not insult a BIG GOD with small thinking and safe living. How does faith show up in our mouths? Do we talk more about what is, or do we declare, in faith, what can and will be? Do we talk more about the size of our problems (and the size of the world’s problems) or the size of our God? Since it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), we must be a church that thinks big and prays big prayers.


INTENTIONAL SIMPLICITY: More and more people’s lives are complicated and overcommitted. Often, churches add to this problem instead of help. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary ... and I will give you rest!” (Matthew 11:28). Does our church reflect that invitation? If we do, we’ll not only work hard, we work smart and learn to keep it simple. We need to value this for the sake of seekers, volunteers, and our staff. Jesus will enable us to go further as we rest and abide in Him, rather than fill the calendars and minds with more busyness.


RIDICULOUS GENEROSITY: This one is easy. Does Jesus give grudgingly or liberally? Does His grace leak out or is it poured out? Churches that are like Jesus produce spiritual contributors not spiritual consumers. Generosity is not an amount. It’s an attitude. It’s an outcome that can happen on all economic levels. When leaders model and inspire this, Jesus can’t help but pour more into them and onto them.


JOY-FILLED SERVERS & LEADERS: Every church depends on volunteers. Jesus structured His church this way. He tells us that the greatest in the Kingdom serve. Servers are needed both inside and outside the church. So it would only go to reason that the churches that Jesus is most attracted to, are churches that consistently develop, empower and deploy more servers and leaders. What do those churches do that others don’t do? What systems do they construct or tear down? What ways do they value and train future servers and leaders? What will breed joy and produce a multiplication of volunteers? Let’s do that!


THE POWER & VALUE OF THE CHURCH AS A FAMILY: God saved us to be a part of His great family (Ephesians 2:19). Jesus not only mobilized the church for mission, He also designed it and structured it as a family. The family best pictures the roles and responsibilities we the church are to have for one another. The difference between being a Christian and being a member of a church family is the word "commitment". I become a Christian by committing my life to Christ. I become a member of a church by committing myself to other Christians. I say, "That's going to be my church home where I'm going to give and be given to, where I'm going to serve and be served, where I'll love and beloved." Where are relationships formed and how is care given? How do we maintain close relationships no matter the size of the church? How will we grow bigger and smaller at the same time? We sit in rows to learn how to live, but we sit in circles to learn how to love.


THE NEXT GENERATION: No matter how young a church is (numerically or demographically), there is a younger generation somewhere behind them. The health of the church, and the progression of its mission, demands that we successfully reach the next generation. What attitudes and methods are we committed to so that we can achieve this? What attitudes and methods need to change? Since the church is always one-generation away from extinction, it only makes sense that Jesus would do more for the churches that pave a smooth path for those coming behind them.


PERPETUAL GROWTH: Living things grow. Life produces life. Do we welcome and cultivate that or fear that? Do we value both the numerical and spiritual growth of the book of Acts, or just one or the other? And are we willing to find ways to measure it? Are we willing to adapt to something new when we find our current ways ineffective? And when we succeed, will we maintain a posture of integrity and humility? Let us grow up in all ways!


ALL FOR HIS GLORY: Are we more concerned about Him or us? Are we building His Kingdom or ours? Do we care more about Kingdom advancement or personal credit? Even though God had no problem naming and using leaders, when it’s all said and done, it’s all from Him, through Him and for Him (Romans 11:36). Let’s value and communicate that!

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash