This value runs deep throughout every area of church life. It will be reality in the preaching of Scripture, as each message points back to the gospel. It will be evident in our worship. Our City Groups will reflect sacrificial love that Jesus taught and exemplified on the cross. Everything we do and say will reflect the gospel’s influence in our lives.
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: the Christ died for our sins...that he was buried...that he was raised on the third day." (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 3:23, 6:23)
The church today (and always) needs an emphasis on the Word of God. We see God’s words hold significance from the very beginning of time! He spoke and creation was born. He spoke and nature obeyed Him in the calming of the storm. He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. God’s words carry eternal weight. We are committed to preaching those words, and allowing the Spirit to speak through our words as we do.
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
If our church planting efforts are not covered in prayer, there will be no true kingdom success. We must become completely reliant on the Holy Spirit in all things. There was open communication in the beginning, as God shared fellowship with Adam and Eve. There was open communication with the early fathers of our faith. There was communication through the High Priest. Jesus tore down the veil so that access to God could now be a direct line of communication. After His ascension, the Spirit was left as a Helper. Prayer is not a debatable issue, it is absolutely essential.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:7-11)
It’s one thing to be intentional in a conversation with a co-worker. We sit down over lunch and share the gospel. Maybe it’s using a method that we were taught growing up in the church. Maybe it’s just a conversation and our attempt to bring up Jesus in those moments. But what if our life didn’t reflect the gospel that we were sharing? This is why living in such a way that the world sees Jesus in us, even before a conversation is ever had, is so powerful. We have a message that is like no other, and our words must reflect the way in which we live.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
We were never meant to go at this life alone. We can’t. We’ll fail if we try. God gave Adam Eve because it was “good that man not be alone.” There are deep implications here. It goes beyond a group of friends that we spend time with on the weekends. There are spiritual implications that can be detrimental if we don’t take advantage of gospel community. This is why we see nearly 60 uses of the idea of “one anothers” in the New Testament. It’s why we see in the Old Testament passages involving “iron sharpening iron” and “cords of 3 strands.” This is a value that is realized in our church primarily through our City Groups. These are multi-generational, location-based groups where Acts 2:42-47 is realized. We need each other, and the benefits to living in gospel community are amazing!
"Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common...There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need." (Acts 4:32, 34-35)
Church planting is essential to any solid church strategy. The best way the gospel goes forth, today, is by planting churches. When a new community of believers is established where there isn’t good gospel presence, the community will notice a difference, be intrigued, and “check things out.” Paul established many churches with the help of his colleagues, and this is how the church has grown and expanded over the centuries.
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers." (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
Teaching children at a young age is essential to their spiritual formation, and will be a huge priority for us. In Deuteronomy, God tells Israel to teach children about His laws; teach them early to be obedient. “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Jesus places an emphasis on children, and the type of faith they have. Paul implores Timothy to stand strong in his youth, and not let people look down on him, but instead set an example for the other believers. The next generation must care about the church and the furtherance of God’s kingdom!
"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)