These are our shared convictions that guide our actions and help us make decisions.
The gospel is central to everything
The gospel is not simply the means by which we are converted–it is the good news of redemption through Jesus Christ that reconciles us to God and adopts us into his family. It transforms our hearts, shapes our ethics, pastors our souls and changes our behavior. It creates the Christian community and defines its purpose. The gospel is the word we speak to bring unbelievers to faith and to bring believers to maturity. The Christian community is created by the gospel for the gospel.
Community is the primary apologetic of the gospel
Because the Christian community is created by the gospel it is the place where the gospel can be seen and understood. Jesus says that the world will know we are His disciples by the way we love one another. We explain and commend the gospel through our lives and especially through our life together in Christian community.
Community is missional and mission is communal
The Christian community is created by the gospel for the gospel. So its defining purpose is to glorify Christ by proclaiming and demonstrating the gospel to a needy world. Christian community cannot be introspective. It is always seeking to bless its neighborhood and proclaim Christ to a lost world. Because the Christian community is an apologetic of the gospel, mission should normally not be a lone activity. Wherever possible we want to do mission together and introduce unbelievers to the Christian community.
We share our lives as extended family
The church is the community created by the gospel, so Christians are not individuals who gather for meetings, but members of God’s family. Our identity is communal. We make decisions with regard to the implications for the church, and we make significant decisions in consultation with the church. We should share our lives together as a family. We spend time with one another, care for one another, exhort one another with the gospel, pray with one another and take the initiative to resolve conflict, all the time inviting unbelievers to participate in this common life. In a broken world we offer a place of belonging. Church life is family life.
All believers exercise gospel ministry
Mission should be communal. Gospel ministry is not the preserve of a professional elite or people in full-time ministry. It belongs to all God’s people. We are all given the privilege and responsibility of mission. We are all missionaries. We are not all called to be the same–our different gifts and personalities compliment one another as we share together in the exciting privilege of mission. We need one another. The role of leaders is not to do gospel ministry on behalf of others, but to prepare God’s people for gospel ministry.
Discipleship, shepherding and leadership development happens in community on mission
The Christian community is the primary, God-given context for pastoral care and leadership development. In the Christian community the gospel not only informs the head, but also transforms the heart. The gospel is not only learned, but also lived. We learn about gospel ministry by doing gospel ministry. The idols of our hearts are revealed in the context of shared lives. And in the context of a shared life we daily apply the gospel to one another’s hearts and lives.
The goal of teaching and preaching is gospel transformation that equips for ministry
Good Bible teaching and preaching should capture and recapture our affections for Christ. Our goal is not simply to have good Bible teaching, but for the Bible to shape people’s hearts and lives. We want to be doers of the word as well as hearers of the word. The frontline of gospel ministry is not a sermon when the church gathers; it is the lives and words of the people of God throughout the week. Bible teaching, when the church gathers together matters, but it matters because it prepares God’s people for frontline gospel ministry throughout the week. This is to be the goal and measure of our teaching and preaching.