our mission: discovering together what it means to follow Jesus
our dream is...
...a Jesus-centered church
...a family-building environment
...a missional mindset
...a transformed community
...a church-planting movement
...mission over maintenance
...authenticity over appearances
...simplicity over complexity
...His kingdom over ours
...transformation over conformity
our mission explained:
The word "discovering" reminds us that none of us have arrived. It also welcomes those who haven't made up their minds, or who just want to explore the possibilities. We all have a long way to go in learning what it means to be a follower of Jesus. In all we do, we will be exploring discipleship (following). Sometimes this will mean receiving teaching about discipleship, about Jesus, about the Bible, about ourselves. Sometimes this will mean acting on what we've learned together. This will have an impact on our whole lives, not just on the times we are gathered together. It will affect our families, our work, our city, and our world.
Following Jesus is personal, but it is not practiced in isolation. Whether you're already following Jesus, or you're just exploring what Jesus is all about, this will be something that we do together - challenging each other, teaching and learning from each other, questioning together. For those who are following Jesus, it will also mean put things into practice together - serving and worshiping together. A faith that remains private misses the point of discipleship entirely, and we will not be satisfied with a faith that has no real impact on our families, our city, and our world.
what it means -
We admit that we have a shallow understanding of following Jesus, but we want that to change. We expect that as we grow, changes will need to be made in our lives. Discipleship is more than intellectual agreement to a set of facts about God and Jesus; if we truly grasp what it means to follow Jesus we will see real growth and changes in our lives. Jesus' call to follow him was a whole-life commitment. We will seek to understand this and practice it in our lives.
to follow -
The basic call of Jesus to people was to follow him. This means adopting his mindset, his attitudes, his beliefs, his actions - in other words, his entire way of life. The way of Jesus is the best way to live. While Jesus is so much more than an example, his life is to be our pattern for living. We should increasingly be living in a way that reflects his image to those around us and to our world. Though Jesus' time on earth is 2,000 years distant, it is absolutely relevant for us today, and we will seek to follow as his disciples today.
The entire story of the Bible and the history of our world revolve around Jesus. He is both God and man, the sinless sacrifice who took our sin on himself on the cross, and through him God is reconciling men to himself. We will be focused on Jesus in all we do. We will point men to Jesus through our words and actions. We will seek to love people as he loved us. We recognize that he is the only hope for our world. We can only be followers of Jesus if our eyes are focused on him. Jesus is central to all we are and do as the church.
our vision explained:
a Jesus-centered church
Jesus will be the central focus of our church. In our worship, we will center on who he is and what he’s done. In our personal lives, we will aim to become like him. In our interaction with the world, we will act as his representatives in all we do. It will not be possible for people to spend much time with our church without seeing how central Jesus is to everything we are.
a family-building environment
God has designed the family as the basic social unit in our world. He has very specific intentions for how the family is to function. In a culture that seems to tear the family apart, we will be very intentional about building the family God’s way. We will seek to embody this as a church, providing opportunities for families to worship and serve together. Being a “family-friendly” church will not mean providing activities for every age group, though that may happen—it will mean challenging and equipping families to function as Jesus-centered families in a self-centered world.
a missional mindset
Developing a missional mindset will mean that we see ourselves as sent by God to reach the culture in which we live. If discipleship means a whole-life commitment, then reaching a culture will mean much more than getting people to pray a prayer or join a church. It will mean patient and respectful dialogue with people who believe very differently from us. It will mean having real interest in the issues that concern the people in our city. It will mean removing the unnecessary obstacles people have to faith, without hiding the offense of the cross. It will mean not alienating people by using religious language without explaining it. It will mean translating the unchanging truth of the good news about Jesus into a language and cultural form that can be understood by the city in which we live.
a transformed city
If following Jesus is a way of life that affects every aspect of our lives, then we will see changes in our city as more people follow Jesus, and as people increase in the level of their commitment to him. It will result in us doing something about the things Jesus demonstrated concern over. We will not exist primarily as a haven separate from our city, but rather as a force within the city advancing Jesus’ way of life by meeting needs and showing love as He did.
a church-planting movement
God’s chosen means to reach this world is through his church. Knowing that each church can reach its city through ways that are unique to that local culture, we will aggressively seek to plant new churches both in our local area and around the world. This may mean independent new churches, or a multi-site approach to our own local church. In whatever ways God makes it possible, we will seek to see many new church communities reaching their local area.
our values explained:
mission over maintenance -
If our mission is to continually discover what it means to follow Jesus in the culture in which he has placed us, then change will be constant in our church. We do not live in a static, unchanging culture—our ways of following Jesus cannot be unchanging, either. Our mission will always be the driving force behind our decision-making. We will not simply do something because “that’s what we’ve always done.” We will be intentional about our choices. We will not simply choose the easiest path, but will seek to choose the best path—even if it’s difficult, and even if it means change.
authenticity over appearances -
God’s concern is not on the outward appearance, but on the heart. We will focus on the heart, as well. We will not be concerned with the way people appear, but will accept everyone as they are. We will seek to be open and honest with who we really are, not just keeping up appearances. We will seek to create an environment in which people know they are loved, and in which they are still challenged to grow and make the necessary changes in their lives to follow Jesus more completely.
simplicity over complexity -
The natural tendency of any organization, including a church, is to drift toward complexity. Instead of simply adding programs and events because they are good, we will only do those things that are the best ways to advance our mission. We will ruthlessly eliminate clutter from our church life. We will turn down many opportunities and ideas, choosing instead to only focus on a few things that we can do well. In this way, we will promote a more simple and balanced life for our church and for our families.
his kingdom over ours -
Another natural tendency for a church is to be protective of its resources, people, and territory. We will turn this upside-down, and seek to be giving with the blessings God has given to us. We will make choices that benefit the kingdom of God at large, even when that may sometimes be painful or difficult for our own local church. One practical way this will be seen is in giving money and people to start a new church.
transformation over conformity -
We will focus on the transformation that comes from following Jesus. This means that we will increasingly look like him in the ways that we speak, act, and relate in the world. We will not place expectations on people to dress a certain way, vote a certain way, or not eat or drink certain things; instead we will focus solely on the things that God’s Word prescribes for followers of Jesus. We will leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit and the conscience of individual believers, choosing to relate to each other with grace.