Graciously and uncompromisingly evangelical
- Everything we are and everything we do is rooted in, centered on and permeated by the evangel, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Before anything else, we are worshipers of God, disciples of Jesus Christ; we seek to love him with all of our hearts, souls, strength and minds.
- Scripture remains our highest authority and the standard for our faith and lives as individual believers and as a church.
- We won’t allow ourselves to be co-opted by any other identity. While remaining absolutely committed to the biblical Christian faith, we seek to be intentionally diverse racially, culturally, politically, generationally and socioeconomically.
- We speak the truth in love. We’re loving and gracious when interacting with our community, but we will not compromise biblical truth to be more acceptable to the world around us.
- We strive for complete unity regarding the essential truths of the gospel, and provide as much freedom as possible concerning secondary issues. We only take a definitive position on debated, secondary issues when it’s necessary for mutual fellowship and ministry as a church.
Biblical principles first—then practical application
- We first study the Scriptures, striving to understand the biblical principles of what the church is, what the church does, and how. Then we seek to wisely and faithfully apply these biblical principles in our cultural context.
- We guard against sacred cows. We don’t blindly follow church traditions—no matter how familiar or comfortable, and we won’t uncritically adopt new trends or innovations—no matter how cool or appealing.
- We guard against both complacency and the perception of success. We passionately seek to be and do everything God has for us to be and do, but we won’t sacrifice real and ongoing witness, growth and maturity for what seems impressive now.
- We don’t seek change for the sake of change, but we’ll reevaluate and change any ministry practice or method to be more biblical and, thus, more genuinely effective.
Team approach to church leadership
- The New Testament model of church leadership is one of local churches being led by teams of pastoral elders (with no mention of a senior or lead pastor). These pastors serve in differing capacities depending on their gifting and available time, but they all share in the shepherding of the church.
- While some pastors may seem more prominent because of their gifting and availability, we guard against the unhealthy perception that a particular leader is the pastor of the church.
- We only appoint as pastors those who are ministering pastorally by leading, teaching or tending. Those who are part of the pastoral team must be true pastors of the church, not just in name but in actual ministry.
- The New Testament doesn’t show the church to be a dictatorship of the pastors or a democracy of the people. The pastors must truly lead—gently, humbly and in a Christ-like way—but at times they must lead the people in reaching true, biblically-informed, spiritually-mature consensus on major issues.
- We’ll strive to apply this New Testament principle of plural leadership consistently throughout the church. The plurality of the pastors in shepherding the whole church should be an example to the teams of leaders overseeing all other ministries within the church.
Focused on our mission:
Helping people become and continually grow as disciples of Jesus Christ
- We live as missionaries in our communities, workplaces, schools, etc. We seek to be real, living authentic, Christ-like lives that will be witnesses of God’s love and truth. We strive to truly understand the culture around us so we can effectively communicate and live out the gospel wherever we are.
- We want everything we do to be well-organized and done with excellence, but our priority remains what is most edifying spiritually, rather than what is entertaining or impressive.
- We follow the consistent New Testament emphasis on teaching in the church. Our standard for all ministries is what best facilitates real learning and spiritual growth, rather than what is impressive or entertaining.
- We provide opportunities for genuine learning and spiritual growth for every age and level of spiritual maturity—from young children or non-Christian seekers to experienced believers who are biblically knowledgeable, and everything in between. Everyone in the church should be part of a process of growing as a disciple of Christ.
- Every believer is spiritually gifted and has an important part to play in the transforming, multiplying life of the church. We help each other understand our gifting, provide training to develop our areas of gifting and opportunities to use our gifts to love and edify others.
- The whole body does the work of ministry, not just the leaders. We maintain a joyous expectation that every Christian is a part of ministry, and make sure we aren’t just filling empty ministry slots, but serving according to our gifting and passion. Active, loving service is an integral part of the discipleship process.
- We’re faithful to provide substantive, effective, ongoing training and equipping for leaders and teachers in the church. This too is an integral part of the church’s discipleship process.
- We intentionally foster a culture of discipleship (including evangelism) in the church. This is a natural, organic part of everything we do, whether through structured classes or more relationally through informal fellowship.
- We design our church gatherings and ministries in ways that most effectively produce real learning, real spiritual growth and real disciples of Christ. We’re willing to reevaluate and change anything we do to make us more effective at fulfilling this vital, biblical purpose.