TRANSFORMING SAFETY OF THE GOSPEL
Without the peace that comes from being completely forgiven, loved and adopted, empowered, and anointed through faith in Jesus’s death and resurrection, there can be no genuine healing, no other-centered love, or relationship. Without the gospel, all religion is self-centered and is fuel for greater pride, leading to comparison, competition, and struggles for power.
THOUGHTFUL, EXPECTANT WORSHIP
Because of our relationship with the most beautiful, satisfying being in the universe, we treat our worship together as the center of our life. We expect to interact with the living God when we are together. We know that he will be intimately at work in each of us and at the same time be at work mysteriously through us for the benefit of each other. Because of this, we want every layer of our worship to point toward the complete truth of who God is, and for it to engage our affections, our thoughts, and our will. Worship then becomes the fountainhead from which we work, give, care, and rest.
MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS IN COMMUNITY
We don’t merely want a social community. Hanging out and having fun are great blessings but we want a place where people are known for who they truly are in the raw, and are loved in that place. Because we are all wretches who have been rescued, there is no “them” in our community. There is only “us”, the sinners saved by grace, and that is the most essential story that we all share. We work to not relate merely based on personal tastes, career, style, or any other surface connection, but because we all have the same life-altering relationship with Jesus. That enables us to engage more profoundly with one another and be cared for by one another without embarrassment or fear.
CREATING BEAUTY WHERE WE ARE
God did not just save us from our mess, he also has called us into what he is doing in the universe. He carefully stitched each of our souls together to show the unique facets of his glory and then gave himself to buy us back from our self-inflicted ruin to send us out in his redemptive purpose. We are to bring everything we are (our intellect, organization, creativity, spreadsheets, songs, education, mechanical ability, tender spirit) into every situation and look to the Lord for what he wants us to bring there. That means our work, school, home, studio, dog walk route, apartment complex, and bus commute all need our full attentiveness as to how we can be ambassadors of a heavenly kingdom here on earth.
As our hearts continue to grow in our love and compassion towards those around us, we also want them to know Jesus, who is the answer to everything that they are seeking in life. Because it is God who draws a soul to himself, we know that our role is to share about what Jesus has done for us with the people around us. We are not driven by self achievement or fear of God’s disapproval. Rather, we seek to be faithful in giving the knowledge of Jesus that we ourselves were given, with all respect and patience as we look for God to be at work in those around us.
DESPERATE DEPENDENCE ON JESUS
There can be a tendency to think that once we come to Jesus and get sorted out, we will finally have the independent life that we’ve always wanted. That is not our vision of wholeness and, in fact, treats Jesus as a tool for our happiness. True spiritual maturity is growing in the understanding of how there is nothing good that we can do without Jesus. Therefore, we strive to grow in seeking God through prayer and looking to his Holy Spirit to guide and direct what we do in our individual lives and what we do as a whole community.
We’re a confessional church. That doesn’t mean that we confess sin (although we do!). It means that what we believe is expressed in a confession—an organized summary of key biblical truths about who God is, who we are, and how he relates to us. A confession gives an outline of the Christian faith. We hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith, along with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (which are written in question and answer format to make them easier to learn). The Westminster Confession isn’t without error—only the Bible is—but it outlines biblical truth succinctly and well. Being confessional says the church and the Christian faith are bigger than just us. It connects us to other churches across time and place, who all believe the same thing. The Westminster Confession is the standard for our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America.