What We Value
Many of us believe that God is doing a '"new thing" in this hour. Really, He's restoring a timeless thing! When the early Church was birthed, people were personally touched and transformed by the power of the living Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit. This transformation was so radical, and their lives so changed, that it drew people together in worship, praise, prayer and fellowship. We believe that in this season, the Lord is working to release His Body from the bonds of tradition, human thinking, institutionalism and religious tradition. He is calling us to put our trust in Him as He leads us a way we have not traveled before. He wants to renew our minds and change some of our mindsets - about who He is and what He desires, about who we are and the many callings we have as believers, and about the world around us. Below are a few concepts that reflect some of the adjustments the Lord has made in our value system over recent years.
Ten Core Values (Not Necessarily in Order of Importance)
- Our first calling and ministry is to the Lord. His primary passion is intimate relationship with His people. He desires that we have a reciprocal yearning to be in communion with Him. Jesus said the first commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, revealing that our ministry as a royal priesthood unto Him is our first and foremost calling.
- Our second calling and ministry is to others. Jesus said the second commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. We want to be focused outwardly not inwardly, motivated by His love and compassion. God is love, it's not just a commodity that He dispenses. "For God so loved the world that He gave ... (John 3:16)" We desire Him to be love in us and through us, causing us to be beacons of light in a very dark world, pointing the way to Jesus by our very lives. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13).
- The focus of God's heart is people - not lofty ideals of truth,
perfection, or accomplishment. The Lord loves humanity and died for all.
He passionately loves us not because we believe in Him or worship Him,
but because He created us and watches over us with the heart of a
caring Father. He even became one of us and paid the price Himself for
our sin because of this great love. It is important to note that He did
this for each one of us while we were still sinners, running from Him
and pushing Him away! Yet in His immeasurable love and mercy, He wooed
us and was faithful to continue to work on our hearts until we
surrendered to Him and were able to receive His gift of salvation. We
strive to treat all others as worthy of the price that was paid for them
- the life of the Son. Please note that we are not ascribing to the
doctrine of universal salvation, which teaches that all men are saved
whether or not they have faith in Jesus Christ. We are ascribing to
God's heart, which teaches that we should treat our fellow human beings
with dignity, equality, respect, honor, and value, whether or not we agree with
their thinking or lifestyles. It means "loving our neighbor as ourselves". It
also means that, while we are commissioned to share the truth, and offer
guidance, we are not intended to force our convictions on others, but rather we were intended to lead by demonstration and example, and love people into a more intimate relationship with the Lord.
- God is more interested in who we are becoming than what we are doing. We recognize that He changes us from the inside out, that it is His inward work of the heart that changes attitudes, thinking and behavior - not the adoption of spiritual affectations. We fervently desire to be transformed people who exhibit the nature and character of Jesus Christ. We also desire to be sanctified people through whom He can release His power and glory in the earth. We are the Church - those called out (Greek word ekklesia) who are intended by God to demonstrate who He is to the world around us. As we are transformed, the Christ (which literally means "anointed") in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), is released and signs will follow. The miraculous anointing of the Holy Spirit should flow through us as we live our daily lives. In other words, the Christian life should not be about going to church, but rather church going with us! Biblical "church" can happen wherever we go, as we are simply who we were created to be!
- Relationships are more important than programs, structure or a focus on church growth. True koinonia fellowship among believers is a key to unity and a healthy Body. Opportunities for fellowship and community help to strengthen relationships, build trust and enable us to work together more effectively. We understand God's desire for the Church to be like a healthy family - with intimacy, trust, love, care and support for one another, as well as being a "safe place" for those who are hurting. We also believe that fellowship is about close relationships, not about attending the same meetings from week to week or uniting around a common point of doctrine. We believe the biblical concept of "church" can take a variety of forms as Christians build relationship with one another. And that any dividing walls within the Body of Christ, whether between denominations or streams, between socio-economic classes, cultures, or age groups should be prayerfully addressed, rather than blindly promoted and strengthened.
- Every believer has a unique God-given ministry - and that ministry is first and foremost to personify the love of God. We understand that every gift that God gives man is intended to be used as an expression of His love. "God so loved ... that He gave... (John 3:16)". Because the literal meaning of the word "ministry" is service, we encourage every follower of Jesus to discover and grow in their spiritual gifts, and to serve others with them as the Holy Spirit leads. We believe that the role of spiritual leaders is to "equip the saints for the work of the ministry" (Eph 4:11-12). What this really means, is to equip the saints to serve in love - expressed by the giving of themselves - selflessly and sacrificially, with hearts and lives in surrender to Him. It is out of His love and compassion that true ministry flows.
- Any ministry the Lord develops through us belongs to Him. We do not believe there is any room in the kingdom of God for the mindset that thinks, "my ministry", "my church", or "my people". Nor is there any justification for violating the freedom of choice that God has given every believer. While we as leaders are called to persuade, we are never to force or manipulate! Anything used to pressure people to go along with the will of church leadership is directly opposed to the 'agape' love of God. We can release any ministry into His hands to lead, guide and direct because we recognize it is His possession and responsibility, not ours.
- Prayer, worship and the biblical principles found in the Scriptures are foundational to every ministry of the Body of Christ. We believe these things should be undergirding everything we do and should be the foundation out of which everything else flows. Much of what happens in the Church world today is the product of tradition or human ideas "which seem right to a man but whose end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25), rather than a oneness with the mind and heart of the Lord. We desire to foster change in this area by committing ourselves more fully to time with Him and in encouraging others to seek Him more diligently also.
- God speaks to His people today. It is important that we learn how to accurately discern His voice so that we can respond accordingly. We believe God is continually speaking directly to His people, as well as through the prophetic word, to bring renewed life, hope, healing, and encouragement. However, to accurately discern the Lord's voice requires a strong personal relationship with Him, as well as an in-depth personal understanding of the Scriptures, through which we discover the character and nature of the person of Jesus Christ. Though we are a prophetic ministry, our focus is on equipping people to develop their own relationship with Jesus and on drawing closer to Him, not on the prophetic ministry itself.
- Children and youth are important and valuable members of the Body of Christ. They receive the same Holy Spirit as adults, and need impartation, training, equipping and release to share what the Lord is depositing and developing in them. We feel it is important to address the concept often presented within the Church world that children and young people deserve our attention "because they are the Church of tomorrow." We vehemently disagree with this statement because it relegates any part they might play or contribution they might make to the future - when they have finally reached adulthood! We would argue that they are a valuable part of the Church NOW, and have a valid part to play in the growth of the Body into the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13-16).