God has given us a set of Core Values that guide the vision of what kind of church He would have be. These are words that define the essence of the culture that we feel God has called us to create in our context.
We have discovered that these values are not linear as we once thought; they are circular and connected, and centered around the Person of Christ. The extent to which we live out these values is directly proportional to the extent in which we follow His example. Let us describe our values, then, by starting at the top of the circle.
It all starts here. The Truth of the Gospel. The Truth of who God is. The Truth of who we are … or are not. And the Truth that God has made a way for us through the redeeming love of Christ. People are searching for answers. In this fast-paced , information-driven society, it can be hard to distinguish between what is real and what is not. It can leave us wondering if truth can even be found at all. We believe that Truth can be found, in God alone. And He’s revealed Himself to us through Scripture. Living in this Truth is a person’s greatest need. And it is our responsibility to teach it with love, according to Scripture.
As we discover the Truth about who God is and who we are, we’re left with a sense of Awe that such an amazing God would desire a relationship with us. Our only response is awe-filled worship. Not a worship that just takes place on Sundays, but a worship that characterizes our daily lives. We desire to be authentic in our worship, living out that value of Awe everyday – in our homes, at our jobs, in our schools — holding nothing back in response to His love for us.
As we respond to the Truth with a lifestyle of Awe-filled worship together (not in isolation), we will create a sense of Belonging, along with others who are participating in God’s bigger story. We’re all wired for relationships, and this meets another of our greatest needs as human beings – to be loved and accepted for who we are. That’s the way God loves us, and that’s the way we desire to love others. We’re passionate about creating a Belonging community that is more than simply a social gathering, but one that facilitates honest healthy relationships that encourage us and sharpen us.
Being exposed to the Truth of Scripture over time, in the context of a Belonging community, brings about Transformation – growing to be more and more like Christ. There is no point when a Christ-follower has “arrived.” We are always in process, much like a plant, showing evidence that it is alive by growing, changing, and bearing fruit. We are serious about Transformation because we believe it’s essential in finding and fulfilling the purpose God has given to each of us as a part of His Bigger Story.
As we are being transformed and becoming more like Christ, we begin to have a heart that beats more like His. We must become stirred with Compassion. God is a compassionate God. He is Love. And He lavishes His compassionate love on the people whom He has created. We desire to act the same by loving the people around us and serving them personally with a heart of Compassion. It also means that we respond with Compassion to global injustices, serving on behalf of the poor, weak, neglected, abandoned, and abused, addressing both individual and systemic problems with care. Helping people, and people groups, be reconciled to God.
Many times, we are being transformed and moved by the Spirit with compassion for hurting people, but fail to act. We believe that Sacrifice is an essential, but often neglected, component of the Truth that the Gospel teaches. The central element of the story of Jesus was His sacrifice on the Cross for our sins. Sacrifice, therefore, is the language of salvation. To live as Christ-followers could only mean that we follow Him in sacrifice, living with selfless abandon, holding loosely to the things given to us. It means that we must be courageously generous with our lives and our resources, giving ourselves away for God’s Bigger Story.