This is not a Statement of Faith. Our Statement of Faith remains the same. This is a set of decisions that help define our identity and clarify our goals as a church. These decisions are not a reaction to anything. They are not criticisms of any church or movement and are not meant as weapons toward others. These decisions are not a theology about what we are against but a theology of what we are for!
We would probably have said they were true from the beginning of our ministry but now they are defining, fundamental truths about God's will for us in this place - in this generation that we must pursue with passion.
Theses decisions are not arrogant proclamations or accomplishments. We humbly pursue these declarations. We have counted the cost as best we can and now seek to understand the depth of their value as we walk along this journey together.
So then, here are the decisions that we have made:
- We have decided that teaching the gospel without demonstrating the gospel is not enough. Good preaching, good doctrine, and being good people are not enough.
- We have decided that having a good church club is not enough, good fellowship is not enough, and just being a member of that club is not enough.
- We have decided that having good Bible studies is good, but not good enough, that just making it to heaven is not our goal, and that knowing about God without truly knowing and experiencing God is meaningless. The answer is not to stop teaching but to start practicing.
- We have decided that having good programs is not enough; that change without transformation is intolerable, and that staying the same is not an option. We are not opposed to structure but we are opposed to programs that replace a living vital relationship with Christ with a form of Godliness that denies His power.
- We have decided that gifting without character is futile.
- We have decided to emphasize a change of heart. We do not want people to comply in outwardly visible areas and yet ignore the often more important areas involving omission, selfishness, and materialism.
- We have decided that singing songs without worshipping is hollow and having meetings without God showing up is pointless.
- We have decided that having faith without works is dead faith and having works without love is legalism - that our function comes out of our relationship first with the Father and second with each other.
- We have decided that reading the book of Acts without living the book of Acts is unthinkable.
- We have decided that confident faith is good and bold/courageous faith is better.
- We have decided that hearing about the Holy Spirit without experiencing Him is silly, that believing in His presence without seeing It manifested in signs and wonders is hypocrisy, that believing in healing without seeing peopled healed is absurd, and that believing in deliverance without people being delivered is absolutely ridiculous.
- We have decided to be Holy Spirit filled, Holy Spirit led, and Holy Spirit empowered - anything less doesn't work for us.
- We have decided to be the ones telling the stories of God's power - not the ones hearing about them.
- We have decided that living saved, but not supernatural is living below our privilege and short of what Christ died for.
- We have decided that we are a battleship not a cruise liner, an army, not an audience; special forces not spectators, missionaries not club members.
- We have decided to value both pioneers and settlers - pioneers to expand our territory and settlers to build on those territories - but we are not squatters - people who take up space others have fought for without improving it.
- We have decided to be infectious instead of innocuous, contagious instead of quarantined, deadly instead of benign.
- We have decided to be radical lovers and outrageous givers.
- We have decided that we are a mission station and not a museum.
- We have decided to bless the work of other believers and other churches in our community and to pray for their success. We are not in competition with other believers or other churches and their success does not mean that our work is failing. There are enough people perishing all around to fill every church. We do not consider trading members with other churches to be progress in building the kingdom of God.
- We have decided it is better to fail while reaching for the impossible that God has planned for us than succeed settling for less. We have decided that we will not be satisfied until the world freaks out and cries out, "Those who have turned the world upside down have come here too."
- We have decided that the marketplace is a ministry calling and that wherever God has us vocationally; we will live out our faith and God given ministry.
- We have decided that we all have areas of influence and we pray, evangelize, and disciple with passion within our circles. We will not depend on someone else or some program to do what God has given us the ability and authority to do. We are all priests.
- We honor the past. We don't live in it.
- We live in the present with our eyes on the future.
- We see past events, successes, and failures as stepping stones and not stop signs.
- We pursue learning in order to be transformed, not learning in order to know.
- We are a people of engagement not observation.
- We focus on what could be - not what is or has been.
- We are not limited to the four walls of this building. Our influence is not restricted by location - not even the nations are out of bounds.
- We are more concerned with how many we send out into the world than how many we convince to come into the building. This building is meant to be filled and it will be, but it will not be the measure of who we are or the measure of our effectiveness.
- We raise up world changers, not tour guides. We train commandos, not committees.
- We are people of our destiny, not our history.
- We are a volunteer army, fighting by choice. Sometimes we are wounded but always advancing, storming the gates of hell.
These decisions are not destinations but rather journeys along an ancient path. We have not found some new way but rather rediscovered the path as old as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The same path followed by Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, Paul, John, and Peter. The path followed by the first century church. It is a church that revolutionized the culture of the first century and beyond. It is a path that will impact the world we live in today. It is a path of liberty, freedom, healing, significance, purpose, and destiny. This is a path less traveled, however, it is not a path only available to a select few but to "whosoever will may come." It is for all nations, tribes, and tongues, for those in any occupation or vocation. No matter where you are in your life journey, there is room on this path for you.