The following values are not intended as a statement of faith or doctrinal document. These values, however, are core to who we are as community of Christ-followers.
We value relationships as God’s gift to us for friendship, encouragement and partnership in the mission God has called us to. Relationships give us the opportunity to know and be known by one another (See Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:16). It is not God’s intention for us to simply attend weekly meetings and then live the rest of our Christian lives in a vacuum. God has given us one another as true friends who rejoice and mourn together as we go through life’s ups and downs (See Romans 8:15). Relationships also serve to encourage us. The reality is, we all need to be reminded and redirected as to how we should live our lives. Through our relationships, we “encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13) and we “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). Our relationships are never to become inward or self-serving. Instead they help us remain focused on God’s mission to disciple “all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
We value worship as our primary and highest calling as creations of God. Worship gives us the privilege of responding to God’s love for us, reflecting God’s glory in us and revealing God’s salvation to a lost world around us. “Worship is a response and will grow or shrink in direct proportion to our view of [God].” We therefore “Praise the LORD” and “give thanks” because “He is good” and “His love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1). God’s character and loving commitment to us are fuel for a passionate response of worship. As the Creator, God has invested His glory and image in us. Consequently, in all that we do, whether private or public, at home, work or school, we worship as we seek to accurately reflect the character of God in our lives (See 1 Corinthians 10:31). Because worship is not only heard and seen by God but also by others around us, it has the ability to reveal and declare God’s character and salvation. “Sing to the LORD, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:1-3). It is our joy and privilege to worship God and reveal His glory and saving love.
We value the participation of every member of the church body. Just as a human body ceases to be fully effective without any of its parts, we depend upon the active participation of each person to be all God has called us to be. Paul made it clear that each person’s contributions and giftings are equally necessary when he said, “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:22). There are no spectators in church life; we are all players, playing our unique role “for the common good” (See 1 Corinthians 12:7). When we gather together to worship, pray and hear God’s word, “everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation” (1 Corinthians 14:26). The goal of leadership is to see the full participation of every member of the church. Leaders are to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:12,16).
We value prayer as our lifeline to God for receiving His purpose and requesting His power. Prayer enables us to declare our dependency upon His all-sufficiency and deals a death-blow to self-reliance and pride. When Jesus walked this earth, He taught His disciples to pray by saying, “When you pray…” (Matthew 6:6). His clear assumption was that we would pray; that we needed to pray. Why? Because good relationships thrive on frequent communication. Prayer is an ongoing conversation (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17) with God, not a religious ceremony or a duty to be performed. God loves to communicate with us just like we can’t wait to share good news with people we love or to seek advice from those we respect. With Him, however, our sharing and asking take on new depth and power because we are speaking with the One who made us, sustains us and can grant us success in His purposes (See Psalm 118:25). Scripture teaches us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). We are to “pray in the Spirit” because prayer is not something we do naturally; we need supernatural help. The fact is, “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Knowing this, we rely on the Spirit of God to enable us (See Romans 8:26 and 1 Corinthians 14:15) to converse with God the Father (See Galatians 4:6) in Jesus’ name (See John 16:23-24).
We value God’s Word as having the first and final say about who God is, who we are, how we can know Him and how we should live our lives. God’s Word has authority because it is “God-breathed”’ (2 Timothy 3:16). It directs us as “a lamp to [our feet] and a light for [our] path” (Psalm 119:105). Also, it is always relevant since “heaven and earth will pass away, but [God’s] words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31). While God’s Word is His revelation to us it was never God’s intention for us to have a relationship with a book, but with Himself, through His Spirit. It is through the “Spirit of adoption” that we “cry out, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). Christians are not those who simply agree to a creed or intellectually ascent to a set of doctrines, but those who have been, and continue to be, “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). In addition, we are “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). Therefore, as a community of the Spirit, we experience His presence and expect His power to be demonstrated among us through the “gifts of the Spirit” (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-14:40, 1 Peter 4:10-11) “for the strengthening of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:26) “so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).
We value grace as the foundation for how we relate to God, each other and the world around us. Grace enables us to freely approach God, one another, and people who do not yet know Jesus with an attitude of acceptance and joy. The Bible is permeated with this little, yet extremely powerful word: grace. We not only receive our entrance into a relationship with God by grace (See Romans 5:1-2), but His grace also empowers us to grow in our relationship with Him. It’s not by “trying harder” that we grow in the Christian life, but it’s as we “receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness [that we] reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). As we receive God’s grace for our own failings and weaknesses, we can shower others with grace as well, creating an environment of forgiveness (See Ephesians 4:32) and a willingness to step out into new areas of serving. A community of grace is not only encouraging to be a part of, it is also attractive to those who do not yet know Jesus (See John 13:35 and 17:23). In our conversation with them, we seek to be “always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).