In every time and place, a church has to determine how one’s doctrinal commitments are to be propounded, embodied, and applied to the particular issues and minds and hearts of the people where the church exists. This is called its “core values” or “philosophy of ministry”. Our core values form our identity as a church.
of changed people.
Gospel-driven: our central value from which the others flow. The ‘gospel’ is the good news that through Christ the power of God’s kingdom has entered history to renew the whole world. When we believe and rely on Jesus’ work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, that kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us.
a) read the Bible as the Gospel
b) preach and teach the Gospel to all, not just unbelievers
c) preach and teach the Gospel in every sermon and lesson
d) receive the Gospel as the ‘milk’ and ‘meat’ of God’s Word
e) view the world and the church through the lens of the Gospel
Center-city: Our conviction goes beyond building a church. We envision a new city. Cities are central to Jesus’ mission, and the mission of the early church, and to ours. (Luke 4:43) We believe that nothing promotes the peace and health of the city like the spread of faith in the gospel. It renews both individual lives and reweaves the fabric of whole neighborhoods. We believe that nothing moves Christians to humbly serve, live with, and love all the diverse people of the city like the gospel does.
a) We will strive to become a vibrant center-city church.
b) We encourage Christians to live in the city, to love and respect the people of the city.
c) We partner with the people of the city in seeking to serve the physical and spiritual needs of the city.
d) We encourage Christians to learn from the city, to accept and love its people, to invest their resources back into the city, and strive for excellence in all we do.
Missional-community: The Gospel calls us to be FOR the city/culture/people where God has placed us-Seattle-and through it the world. Some churches are OF the culture. They so embrace the culture that they lose their distinctiveness. Some churches are AGAINST the culture. They so oppose the culture that they lose their relevance. And some churches are ABOVE the culture. They so “super-spiritualize” life that they lose their point of contact. On the other hand, a church FOR the culture engages the culture in order to transform it.
a) We resolve to learn and speak the language of our culture.
b) We resolve to sincerely listen to people and their ‘stories’.
c) We resolve to be a Christian community that is counter-cultural/intuitive. We resolve to show the world how radically different a Christian society is with regard to relationships, sex, money, and power.
d) We resolve to live out our Christianity in our work and recreation.
e) We resolve to demonstrate the unity of the church in the city.
Changed-people: The Gospel changes people from the inside out. Religion makes nice people; the Gospel makes new people. Religion reforms you on the outside; the Gospel transforms you from inside out. Christ gives us a radically new identity, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation. Religion says: “If you live a good life, then God will love you”, leading to a deadly combination of pride and despair. The Gospel says, “None of us is good. In fact, we are far worse than we think (humility), but through Jesus Christ we are far more loved than we ever dared dream (confidence).” Because we are “in Christ”, we are given a new identity, a new Father, and a new family. Because “Christ is in us”, we have new wisdom, new love, and new power. We are liberated to accept people we once excluded, and to break the bondage of things (even good things) that once drove us. In particular, the gospel makes us welcoming and respectful toward those who do not share our beliefs.
a) We resolve to live in on going grace renewal.
b) We resolve to be “new” people, not “nice” people.
c) We resolve to believe that the Gospel can change anyone.
d) We resolve to motivate with grace, not guilt.
e) We resolve to approach all problems (personal, church, social) with the Gospel.