We are bound together by the following 12 Values, expressing the priorities and practices of our culture
INTIMACY – We pursue unceasing connection with the Father.
We affirm that every believer is meant to know God personally, intimately, transformationally. This type of relationship with God is cultivated both alone and with others. 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 by fellowship with other believers in worship singing, sharing concerns and testimonies, group prayer, caring for one another, and being on-mission together.
IDENTITY – We discover our unique significance with Jesus and His Body.
Before and in all things we value Jesus as the image of the invisible God. We long to worship Jesus by imitating his life, ministry, and connection with others. Both our theology and praxis are relentlessly Christological. He is our model, mentor, hero, mediator, savior, judge, king and ruler of all. All of our values flow from what we understand about his character, concerns, and the practices of his ministry. We recognize that we, His followers, are His Body in the world today, and commit to partnering together to manifest His character and mission. Each member of His Body is imbued with spiritual gifts meant to serve the Church and the world. We encourage use of all of the gifts shown in scripture, with appropriate order and purpose.
INITIATIVE – We are empowered with the Holy Spirit to serve & save.
God’s personal favor, calling and power is available to every follower of Jesus to carry-out His mission in the world; according to his/her specific identity and assignments. By walking in the Spirit – individually and corporately – we are enabled to experience His desires and plans for 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.
ONE CHURCH, ONE MISSION – The Church’s mission is to expand God’s Kingdom.
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. The Church’s mission is not to perpetuate itself or to serve her people; but to give itself away to reconcile every person in the world to the Father. We follow Jesus’ example by extending service to those in need and salvation to those who are lost. 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.
MICRO – The small, missional group is the essential unit 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 to build Intimacy with the Father, Identity as the Body of Christ, to accomplish the Initiative of the Holy Spirit in the world, they are the Church. Intimacy, Identity and Initiative then are the ecclesial minimum. God calls us into his mission together, in small missional groups. These groups, no matter their name or size, are the basic 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, which we refer to generally as INITIATIVES.
MISSIONARIES – Every believer is 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 through them. While we appreciate the role of clergy in the Church, 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 believers 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.
THE BIBLE – The Bible alone is 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.
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 Works of the Gospel are to serve 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.
RELATIONAL – 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.
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.