1. We believe the mission of Christ, His passion, cost Him dearly.
God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public – to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now – this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness. MSG Romans 3:25-26
God sent Jesus to take on the sin of the world. It crushed Him. In fact, the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed. He asked His Father if there was any other way to accomplish the mission that was given to Him. Heaven was silent.
2. We believe Jesus empowered His church to fulfill that mission as He ascended into heaven.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus NIV Matthew 28:18-20
What an incredible moment. Jesus hands His mission over to the church to fulfill.
3. We believe the mission is so important, that God is literally pushing back the end of time.
Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. MSG 2 Peter 3:8-9
Did you know that? Think of everyone you know that hasn’t yet experienced God’s grace. God is so in love with them, He is pushing back the end of time to give them time to fall in love with Him.
4. We believe that the local church is at its best when, like Jesus, it focuses on outsiders.
Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riff-raff?” Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Jesus MSG Matthew 9:10-13
Did you see that? Jesus was hanging out with disreputable characters. What an amazing statement from Jesus. “I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Jesus was focused on people who were far from God. He was focused on people who needed God’s grace.
5. We believe, finding the one lost sheep is our unique identity.
“If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” NLT Luke 15:4-7
There are so many good churches filled with good people and good leaders. They accomplish things we can not accomplish. Our unique identity, what we believe God has asked of us, is to be that church that goes after the one lost sheep.
6. We believe the greatest discipleship anyone could engage is joining the mission of Jesus.
Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life?” GNT Matthew 16:24-26
Only in losing yourself, Jesus said, will you find yourself. There are things you discover in serving that you can not discover in a book or a conference. And we are all for books and conferences. But only in serving do you learn things like empathy, humility and purpose. The greater things in life, the things that change our hearts forever are discovered when we serve. Knowledge is great but if it doesn’t become love, Paul told us it’s useless in 1 Cor 13.
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; …but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.
7. We believe, that Jesus meets our needs. And, the local church is a place that should empower Christians to reach people far from God.
The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. MSG Romans 3:22-25
God did what we could never do. Not us. Not a Pastor. Not a Church. No one. As Christians, it’s important to enter into that every day. That means enjoying our relationship with Jesus who gives us life and energy. Often times, if someone is outside of a life-giving relationship with Jesus, they can unintentionally expect too much from themselves, their Pastor or Church. If their Church community doesn’t meet their expectations, they can find themselves looking for a new Church community that meets their needs.
Reality is, the local Church will fail at meeting everyone needs. That’s why we view Church differently. It’s a place that empowers Christians to reach people who are far from God. And as they work together, a mature community is formed. A community that loves each other. A community that supports each other. A community that is focused on reaching people far from God together.