We are bound together by our Core Values, expressing the priorities and practices of our culture. You might call this our "Manifesto."
WORSHIP – We pursue unceasing Intimacy with the Father.
We affirm that every believer is meant to know God in a way that brings understanding, transformation, and peace. This type of relationship is cultivated as we continually RELEASE control to Him in order to RECEIVE what can only come from Him. Intimacy with God grows through personal spiritual disciplines like Bible study, prayer, fasting, and meditation; as well as lifestyle choices that align us with His purposes for us. It also grows through sincere fellowship with other believers by sharing concerns and testimonies, group prayer and worship singing, caring for one another, and being on-mission together.
COMMUNITY – We align our unique Identities with Jesus and His Body.
Christian Community is much more than merely companionship. We affirm that every believer has a specific, designed role as part of God’s family. Each of us is called to CONFORM to the image of Christ – not to be identical to one another, but to embody His character in our unique lives, becoming who He would be if He were living in each of our shoes. This allows us to function together as members of His Body. We CO-LABOR with each other, believing that God designed us to be interdependent as His sons and daughters. Each member of His Body is imbued with spiritual gifts meant to serve each other and the world. We encourage use of all of the gifts shown in scripture, with appropriate order and purpose.
MISSION – We take Initiative to join the Holy Spirit’s work in the world.
God is always at work to SERVE the suffering and SAVE the lost – this is His mission, and He works through His people to accomplish it. By walking in the Spirit – individually and corporately – we are enabled to experience His desires and plans through us, and to join Him in His work all around us. He grants each of us supernatural abilities and relationships to carry-out His myriad initiatives. The Holy Spirit empowers us to carry Jesus’ presence into our spheres of influence through Godly living, social justice, evangelism, and discipleship.
MISSIONARIES – We equip every believer to function as an agent of God’s mission.
All followers of Jesus have a unique calling to walk with Him in this life and to serve as His representatives in their spheres of influence. Therefore, we equip people to understand and contextualize God’s mission in their families, neighborhoods, workplaces, social groups, communities, etc. While we appreciate the role of clergy in traditional churches, we emphasize the ministry of laypeople in relation to God’s mission. Leadership in the Church exists to equip the “priesthood of all believers” for the work of ministry. All are imbued with destiny and giftedness to live-out God’s unique design for them, and we are committed to activating and resourcing them in community with others.
INITIATIVES – We emphasize small, missional expressions of Church.
We believe that the traditional congregational church expression exists to serve the smaller, micro-expression…and not the other way around. Our ecclesiology is simple: When a group of people band together in sincere worship and genuine community to accomplish a part of the mission of God, they are the church. Worship, community and mission then are the ecclesial minimum. These groups, no matter their name or size, are the essential unit of Church; and every follower of Jesus needs to be part of at least one. Our model of Church is to affirm, empower, and release a network of Micro-Initiatives and Micro-Churches that are supported by a city-wide network for camaraderie, coaching, and resourcing.
THE BIBLE – We trust the Bible alone as our source of faith and practice.
We implicitly believe in, trust, and endeavor to obey, the teachings and practices set forth in the Holy Bible. We believe that it contains the written Word of God. It records the “salvation history” of God’s work with humankind, and details His intentions for our beliefs & practices. We understand that there are misperceptions of the Bible, but we affirm that it is meant to be understood and championed by every follower of Jesus. It is imperative to us that every believer be well-read in scripture, and trained in effective Gospel-fluency.
ONE CHURCH – We work toward unity with all followers of Christ.
We affirm that the living Christ is the Head of the Church, His ongoing physical presence which carries-out His mission of building the Kingdom of God. There are countless denominations, congregations, and groups who gather together all over the world in various organizations (churches with a little “c”); but there is one universal Church (with a Big “C”), comprised of all followers of Jesus everywhere. The mission of individual churches is not to perpetuate themselves nor to serve their people; but to give themselves away to reconcile the world to the Father. We recognize that disagreements of theology and practice may arise between brothers and sisters in Christ; but we pledge to avoid division and to work toward unity, that we may truly be “one” in heart and purpose.
RELATIONSHIPS – We cultivate healthy and caring relationships.
We recognize that although we live in a fragmented culture characterized by broken relationships, all people need and deserve to belong - to know and be known, to care and be cared for, to love and be loved. Our goals, strategies, and endeavors are fashioned to nurture healthy and caring relationships. This begins with marriage and family, moves outward to friends and associates, and extends to society. In this way, we extend Jesus’ love to a world in need of Godly models of relationship.
ACTIVE COMPASSION – We prioritize serving the poor, marginalized, and hurting.
We affirm that compassion is the posture of God’s mission in a broken world. Compassion literally means to “suffer together,” and no character trait exemplifies Jesus’ interactions with people better. We’re called to constantly give ourselves away, individually and corporately caring for the needs of others. The Work of the Gospel is to serve to the poor, marginalized, and lost; the Words of the Gospel follow. In this way, evangelism is secondary to service. This applies to miraculous works of the Spirit, as well as seemingly mundane acts of kindness.
HUMILITY – We practice humility in relation to God and others.
We voluntarily surrender control of our decisions, aspirations, and affections to God; believing that He can be trusted with our destinies. We also submit to one another, understanding that none of us is an island unto ourselves but that we need each other. By pursuing humility, we are able to experience God’s contentment, rest and peace in the midst of a complex, corrupt, and competitive world. Individually and corporately, we pledge to remain open and flexible to concerns from others, new learning, and discipline from the Lord; ever seeking to refine our commitments and expand our understanding and revelation of God and His call upon us.
BELONGING AND BELIEVING – We both accept and admonish each other.
We understand that every person is journeying through life, and that discovering/following Jesus is a lifelong learning process. Therefore, we welcome all people to explore God and community with us, without excluding them based upon areas of their lives that are not yet consistent with the way of Jesus. That being said, it is also essential that we carefully and lovingly hold each other accountable to His character and teachings. So we live within the tension between grace and truth, acceptance and conviction; in our pursuit of loving God and loving others as Jesus modeled.
DIVERSITY – We embrace creativity and uniqueness in the Church.
We affirm that every ethnicity culture, and individual - while imperfect - reflects the mosaic of God’s own image and together we better glorify and serve the God of creation. The Church is made-up of individuals and groups from countless backgrounds, beliefs, and callings. As we all journey toward maturity in Christ together, we will naturally experience and express this in a variety of ways. Therefore we do not reject people we disagree with, and avoid division over debatable matters. We minimize conformity, but encourage and celebrate freedom of creativity within the boundaries of God’s mission.