Vision: To be a gospel-shaped upward, inward, and outward community for the glory of God and the good of the world.
Exploring the Vision
Those whom God saves he puts into local churches to worship Christ together and live life with one another. By the power of the Holy Spirit and through the gospel of Jesus Christ, he transforms 1) the way we understand and relate to God (upward), 2) the way we relate to one another (inward), and 3) the way we relate to our broader communities, cultures, and those who are not yet Christians (outward). We are not yet understanding and applying the gospel rightly if we fail to be an upward, inward, and outward community.
Because of Jesus Christ and his work, we are delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13). We were enemies of God, but now we are loved by him (Romans 5:8-11; 1 John 3:1). We hated him (Romans 1:30) and worshiped ourselves as our idol of choice. But Christ has substituted himself on the cross to take the curse that we deserve for our sin, bearing the Father’s just wrath against our wickedness (Isa 53:4-6, 9; 1 Pet 2:24, 3:18; 1 John 2:2, 4:10; Matt 20:22; Rom 3:25). He rose from the dead, and has clothed us with his perfect righteousness, bringing us into the family of God by his blood (2 Cor 5:21; 1 John 3:1; Heb 12:8; Eph 5:1; Rom 8:16-17)! Now we are no longer enslaved to ourselves and to sin, but have been set free by Christ to glorify God and to enjoy him forever (Gal 5:1; John 8:32; Rom 6). Our church exists to help all people glorify God and enjoy him forever.
We were people who were swimming in our selfishness. By the power of God through the gospel of Christ, we are transformed from worshiping ourselves and are changed to live sacrificially and help our fellow Christians both physically and spiritually (Heb 3:13; 1 Thess 4:18; Acts 2:42; 1 Jn 3:11-24; Jas 2:15-16; John 13:34-35; Matt 25:36-40). As we gaze at Christ and his work, we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil 2:4). We are called to bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2), and build one another up spiritually (1 Thess 5:11). The gospel teaches us that we are united to Christ and united to his body, the church (1 Cor 12:27). We belong to one another as we belong to Christ (Rom 12:5) and we joyfully obey the many Biblical “one another” commands. Like Paul, we share not only the gospel of God with each other, but also our very selves (1 Thess 2:8) as we live life together not only on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) but the rest of the week, as well (Acts 2:46; Heb 3:13). Jesus discipled the twelve by living ordinary life with them with gospel intentionality.
God is the greatest missionary of all. In the gospel, the Son of God left his place of comfort to take on flesh and identify with the people he was coming to save (Heb 2:14, 4:15; Phil 2:5-8). Jesus’ mission was to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). When God saves us, he transforms us into missionaries who go out to make disciples (Matt 28:19-20; John 17:18, 20:21). He makes us fishers of men (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). Because of this, we joyfully support overseas missionaries who are spreading the gospel to un-reached people groups (Rom 15:20).
Also, as people who are sent into the world (John 17:18, 20:21), we move towards those who are not yet Christians in the local areas we live, work, and play to speak the Gospel (Rom 10:17, 1 Pet. 2:9, 2 Cor. 5:20, Acts 8:4) and do all kinds of good to them (Gal 6:10). Jesus said in John 13:35 that all people will know that we are his disciples if we have love for one another. This assumes that those who do not yet know Christ will see us; we do not huddle in corners and withdraw into privacy. Our church must be public, and we must always be looking to love those who are not yet Christians by introducing them to Jesus through the preached Gospel while doing good to them. This Gospel is adorned (made more beautiful and attractive) when our neighbors, friends, and coworkers can see our love and good works (Tit 2:10), meaning those who are not yet Christians should have many opportunities to witness the Spirit of God working among us.
What being an outward community also means is that we do not pursue our own comfort, spending as much time with our friends as possible (Matt 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). Instead, we pursue our own joy in God by being ready to do whatever it takes for God to get the glory he deserves (Matt 19:28-30; Matt 16:25-26; Ps 37:4, 43:4). In 2 Timothy 2:8, Paul tells Timothy, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God…” Paul knew that the Christian life doesn’t lead to earthly comfort. Because the call to Christians is to make disciples, our goal is to see more and more people meet Jesus Christ, so that one day “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
Being an outward community also means that we work alongside Jesus as his helper (Eph 5:22-33; Gen 2:18) to bring all things in submission to his good Lordship: politics, education, art, entertainment, marketplace labor, literature, economics, exercise, food, etc (1 Cor 15:25; Ps 110:1; Matt 28:18; Prov 1:7; Col 1:19-20; 2:3, 3:10; 2 Cor 10:5; Gen 1:28; Rev 11:15). This happens through the salvation of individuals who are then properly taught to joyfully obey Christ from the heart in every area of life (1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:17; Matt 28:20).