We believe that God's purpose through the church is to make the presence of Christ tangible to the world through a dynamic community of disciples who demonstrate his love (John 13:34-35). Our understanding of how our congregation is to carry that out consists of two parts: what we aspire to be (identity) and what we desire to accomplish (task). As to the former, the most common metaphor used in Scripture of the church is that of a family (I Tim. 3:15) with God as Father (Rom 8:15-16), Christ as our elder brother (Heb. 2:11; Rom. 8:29) and the members united to one another through Him as brothers and sisters (I Thess. 4:9-10). Several specific priorities flow out of that commitment to be the family of God.
- We want to be relationally oriented. In a family it is people who matter, not programs or institutional structures. The most important of those relational bonds is each member's relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is imperative for us to foster a deepening relationship with God in our common worship and to encourage each member to cultivate that relationship individually as well (Phil. 3:8-10). More than anything we want to be a community of people who love God and through Him demonstrate love to one another (I John 4:20-21).
- We want to provide accountability. One of the functions of a family is to provide for accountability and discipline. God places us in a community of believers so that we may admonish one another and encourage one another in our spiritual growth (I Thess. 5:12-14; Heb. 10:24-25). Through the church God appoints shepherds to watch over and feed his flock. These are charged with the responsibility of oversight and loving discipline if necessary (Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 5:2-4; Gal. 6:1).
- Simplicity is another priority. A family should be a place of refuge from the demands of already hectic and overburdened schedules, not an additional burden (Lk. 11:46; Acts 15:10-11). Healthy families reflect grace, not legalism and it is our conviction that the members of our congregation should be valued because of who they are in Christ, not what tasks they perform in the organization or how many meetings they attend. Therefore we try to keep time demands few and the structure of the organization simple.
- Individuality is encouraged. Every member of a family is unique and uniquely gifted to bless others (Rom. 12:4-8). We want to foster an atmosphere in which each person is encouraged to use their unique God-given talents and personalities for the good of the whole.
Our sense of identity as a family influences our understanding of the tasks we are called to perform as well. The functions of a human family are few but profound: reproduction, training or instruction and equipping for service. These correspond to spiritual tasks that the church is to fulfill as well.
- Spiritual reproduction or evangelism. The basic task of the church is to multiply, to make disciples of Christ (Matt. 28:19). It must always be a goal of our church to foster an atmosphere that welcomes and encourages new life through faith in Christ. It is our conviction that evangelism happens best when it is a natural product of lives that have been transformed (Matt. 5:16), not marketing strategies or techniques. Therefore we encourage our members to develop relationships outside of the church so that the love of Christ might be seen in their lives. We will also partner with and support mission efforts to make disciples of Christ in other regions as God leads us.
- Instruction. A family must instruct its members with a view to maturity. So too in the church, instruction is so important that it is part of the great commission (Matt. 28:20). Paul instructed and mentored his converts in the truth as a father models a righteous life for his children (I Thess. 2:10-13). Therefore we see it as our mission to instruct our members in the truth of the Word of God with a view toward spiritual maturity. It is not merely a head knowledge that we aim for but a discipleship in which faith, hope and love are passed from life to life by modeling and by example as well as by formal instruction.
- Equipping for service. As Christ came not to be served but to serve, it must be the goal of every church to equip an army of people willing to serve others (Eph. 4:12). It is our goal to provide opportunities to serve one another and the larger community.