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The mission of a church tells us why it exists, the values of a church communicate how the mission is lived out, while the “distinctives” of a church give it identity. While the mission provides the foundation for church life that is lived through the values, distinctives are what people see and experience when they encounter our people, both when the church is gathered corporately and when it is scattered during the week in the community. It is what others would say about our church when asked. What is your church like? What makes your church culture distinct from others? What has God called us to be like as a body of believers unique to this community?

While every church has distinctives, we feel it’s important for us to articulate these as we strive to build a culture of biblical community, so people understand who we are and who we are not.

 

Simplicity

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15

“Be still and know I am God…Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy…What you are doing is not good…You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you…” The Scriptures are full of wisdom concerning the importance of simplicity in our lives and worship. We don’t want to be busy people or a church that is full of activity but lacks the power and presence of God. We desire to be a people who watch for where God is at work and join Him there. We want to practice the ministry of availability and presence. There are many good things we can do, but we feel committed to saying no to good things in order to focus on the great – creating margin in our lives to connect to those who don’t know Jesus in relationships, gathering to worship our Great God weekly, belonging in relational communities called LifeGroups and serving our community and world.

 

Authenticity

We care so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives. – 1 Thessalonians 2:8

We desire to be a people that lay down the pressure to impress and the pressure to hide. We find liberty in the Gospel of Grace to be truth-tellers and truth livers. We pray that God will use us as He did the early church to create the kind of culture that draws hurting people who have been marginalized by society and religion. We want to help them step from the darkness of guilt and shame and into the light of hope and truth.

 

Relevancy

Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourseves… – James 1:22

The intersection of truth and real life makes spirituality more than something we talk about. We desire to think deeply and connect it to the reality of our lives. We believe the Word of God is relevant to all people at all times; in our preaching and teaching in every venue we will seek to help people understand how God has spoken through Scripture the truths that shape our world and transforms our lives.  Additionally, we are following Jesus in our generation and will not remove ourselves from culture.

 

Generosity

The world of the generous grows larger and larger; the way of the stingy smaller and smaller – Proverbs 11:24

Jesus taught us that it is better to give than to receive.  Giving, not getting, is the way of the Kingdom of God. In defiance of a fallen consumer-driven culture, we will live as a subversive people who constantly seek to help others in need and invest in God’s plan with our time, energy and resources, building His Eternal Kingdom instead of our own tiny little kingdoms that will pass away. We pray that the hands of our church will be open to empower the gospel mission to flow outward into our world.  We embrace missional living and generosity towards our neighbors.  We want to find joy in sharing resources with others locally and around the world.

 

Family

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength…Impress these things on your children. Talk about them when you sit down and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-7

The Bible calls two primary spiritual influences together to shape the next generation: the home and church. We want to come alongside parents to help them understand that God created their home as a ministry center in which they can disciple their children and teach them about God. Our Bible Studies, LifeGroups and other events for children and students are catalysts for spiritual growth in community, but don’t replace the central role of parents. We embrace families of all kinds and will reach out to be the spiritual family for those who have no other family. We’ll give families time to be together by not over-planning the church calendar with programs and events.

 

Everyone Gets to Play

Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift…to build up the body of Christ… – Ephesians 4:7-16

We believe and practice that every member of the church is a minister and missionary. We all have the holy privilege of getting to participate in the full work of the church using the spiritual gifts given us by the Christ. God gives the church leaders, not to do all the work of ministry themselves, but who can devote their lives to equipping people to discover their unique role in the body of Christ. As a church we commit to helping every believer find their place so they can experience the joy of being used by God to share the gospel. We embrace a team philosophy of ministry.

 

Come As You Are

Jesus welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those needing healing. – Luke 9:11

We seek to follow the example of Jesus who welcomed and embraced those who felt excluded from the religious community of his day. We all need to remember our great need for Christ and the gospel. When broken humanity could not get to God, God came to us; and so we go and welcome others. The famous painting of The Church at Auver (known as “The Church with No Doors”) by Vincent Van Gogh will be a reminder to us that we exist to open doors to the freedom, hope and healing of Jesus and His church.

 

 

Servanthood

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life – a ransom for many. – Matthew 20:26-28

Jesus was the ruler who served and the servant who ruled. Jesus re-defined greatness when he, the King of Kings, washed the feet of his disciples. We desire to be a people who follow his example and don’t seek to be served, but to serve others in humility. As a church we will be challenged to “take up the towel” in our homes, neighborhoods, church, community and world, trusting God to use these acts of love and mercy to open doors to the gospel.

 

Care and Compassion

Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted… – Matthew 5:4

We see from Jesus life and teaching that we are to love our neighbor and serve the broken and the hurting. Life is difficult in this fallen world. We need a community of faith to surround us with support, love and truth in life’s difficult moments. We are available to engage people in the places of struggle and pain to let them know that the church is here and that we care. We need each other.

 

Fun

I came so they can have real and eternal life; more and better life than they ever dreamed of – John 10:10

Sometimes, churches can take themselves too seriously and God and His greatness not seriously enough. God has created us with capacity to laugh and enjoy our relationship with Him and His creation. As the great confession of our faith reminds us, the “chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” We will value and not apologize for laughter and play. Life is too short and the many forms of God’s grace in our lives too many to not celebrate and enjoy our journey together.