The church is God's plan "A" for His work in this world.
How will this generation find life and hope in Jesus? Only through Jesus himself. At the same time, Jesus in his infinite and perfect wisdom has decided to use finite and imperfect men and women throughout history to partner with His perfect plan of redemption and renewal.
As a community of Jesus followers, we want to be a part of that plan. In order to do that we want to both learn and live The Way of Jesus. We learn The Way first and foremost from the Scriptures. At the same time, we want to live out The Way of Jesus - not just be people who know and have good theology. Our learning and living is not done in isolation - it is done together, in community and friendship. This is why we gather regularly around the teachings of Jesus, around the bread and the cup, and with others to learn and live The Way together. As we learn and live out The Way of Jesus in community, we hope to better be able to join in Jesus' work of making all things new.
A community centered on Jesus according to the Scriptures.
We believe the message of Jesus is good news for our world today. Thus it is Jesus and his message that we desire to keep at the center and focus. According to Paul, this message of good news is of first importance - meaning that other important things are secondary at best. Other doctrines, ideas and subjects might be important and necessary things to discuss, but they should never get in the way of the clear message of good news that Jesus is King and Savior of this world and is making all things new. As followers of Jesus, we may dialogue and discuss these matters as family, with a posture of listening and learning, but never will we make our church community or following Jesus about these issues. At the same time, Jesus' message is in accordance with the Scriptures. As we center our lives, practices and community around this Jesus, we do so in faithful submission to the story and plan of redemption as told in the Scriptures. We are unashamedly focused on Jesus, His teachings and His message of good news for this world. If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus as revealed in the teachings of the Scriptures. The Scriptures teach that Jesus is the exact representation of what God is like. The God we see in Jesus is one of forgiveness, friendship, acceptance and love without qualifications, boundaries or prerequisites. This is the God we worship and desire to be like. This is the God we center our lives and community around.
A community that loves regardless of disagreements and differences.
The clearest and most important commandment of Jesus was to love God and love others, including our enemies. The ministry of Jesus was marked by love and as His followers, we too want to demonstrate (although imperfectly) the love of Jesus to both friend and enemy.
In a culture and world teaming with division, fear and hate, the people of Jesus have a unique responsibility and privilege to demonstrate in tangible ways the love of Jesus.
When the love of Jesus is lived out, meals are eaten with those who would otherwise never eat together, broken relationships are restored, the poor are cared for, the refugee find a home, the marginalized are welcomed, the city is better off, families are healthier, racial tension is healed, and Jesus is seen and worshipped for who He truly is.
One of the most controversial aspects of Jesus’ ministry was his willingness to share meals with outcasts, sinners, and the marginalized. Sharing a meal with someone in Jesus’ day was considered a form of acceptance and social approval. Jesus, the full and final revelation of what God is like, pursued with grace and spoke truth in the context of relationship, not distant judgmentalism. This was called table fellowship, and used by Jesus to manifest the open and expansive nature of his movement. So, we see the church as not a refuge from the world, but rather as an expression of God’s commitment to show outrageous love and lavish grace to those who feel far away from him. The orientation of the church is outward towards the world, not inward, towards itself, thinking that we are holier or better. We refuse to stuff our calendars full of church activity, so that we may continue to be good neighbors, co-workers, and friends. We want to gather on Sundays to reorient our lives around Jesus and His Scriptures to learn and live the message of Jesus in our culture and world. As the church grows we hope to add various seminary style courses for those who want more theological training and discipleship.
Our church community will remain faithful to the teachings of Scripture, but will remain flexible to our ministry methods (assuming no contradiction to the clear teachings of Scripture). Our desire is to ultimately be faithful to Jesus and in doing so we will always be open to what method is most effective at reaching the current and next generation. The goal then is to love and serve well representing the Jesus we worship and love.
A community where it is safe to talk about and work through anything.
The church exists for broken people. The church is not a social gathering for the put together or a place to simply "get fed." Yes, the church exists to help equip and train people to a more mature understanding of The Way of Jesus, but that is not the end - it's a means to a much larger end, namely the furtherance of the mission of Jesus to rescue and redeem. In order for this to happen, the church needs to be a safe place. This means that the church community has to be the safest place to bring up any topic, question or doubt without the fear of rejection or shame.
No matter your background you are welcome here. No matter your questions and objections you are welcome. If you have been hurt by the church, you are most definitely welcome here. If you have faced hardship in life and don't feel or believe God to be good, you are welcome here. So you’re invited. With your questions, and your doubts. With your hang-ups and your screw-ups. With your addictions and your brokenness.
At it's best, the church is beautiful, but still messy. We make room for people to tell their stories - not just after everything turned out ok, but during the midst of doubt, uncertainty and questioning.
The church has to be the safest place to talk about anything.