VISION

A welcoming family of Reformed believers growing in Christ and sharing His joy for God’s glory.

By God’s grace, we hope to grow into this Vision as we move forward, make decisions, grow in Christ together, and welcome those whom God sends to join us.

But what is our ultimate goal? It is found in the last three words: “for God’s glory.”

If God’s glory is ultimate, then we happily confess that the glory of our congregation is not, the glory of our denomination is not, the glory of our city is not. We seek the good of our congregation, denomination, and city, but we do so out of grateful obedience to the Lord and with our hearts panting for a higher aim: to bring Him glory!

Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
—Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 1

VALUES

Proclaiming the Truth in Love.

If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and youshall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

—John 8:31

We desire the truth of God’s Word and depend on the Scriptures to know God and His will for our lives. The Scriptures compare themselves to milk, bread, meat, and even honey for our souls—by them we are nourished in our growth and satisfied in our deepest hungers. And the Scriptures attest to their divine origin: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16).

We also know that when it comes to proclaiming the truth, it’s important that the motive and posture express love. This first value comes from Ephesians 4:15, where Paul exhorts the church to grow in their faith by “speaking the truth in love.”

Out of our commitment to “proclaiming the truth in love,” we give priority to expository preaching (preaching that moves through whole books of the Bible), to study of the Scriptures in Sunday School and small groups, to biblically-saturated hymns and songs in our music ministry, and to family and personal devotions in the home. We hope that regular participation in our worship services and ministries results in “the word of Christ dwelling in you richly” (Col. 3:16)!

Truth and love are wings that cannot be separated, for truth cannot fly without love, nor can love soar aloft without truth. —St. Ephream the Syrian

Graciously Reformed.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
—Heb 4:16

We aim to embrace our Reformed tradition with a gracious spirit.

Four branches of Protestant churches developed out of the sixteenth-century Reformation: Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist and Anglican. Our congregation and denomination (ARP Synod) descend from the Reformed branch, which informs our teaching, worship, and understanding of the Christian life.

Teaching. Reformed churches across the world emphasize the “Five Sola’s of the Reformation,” where “sola” is Latin for “alone”, “unrivaled”, “unmixed”. Accordingly, we hold fast to Scripture alone (Mark 7:8-13), Christ alone (1 Tim. 2:5), grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9), faith alone (Rom. 1:17), and the glory of God alone (Isa 42:8). Taken together, the five solas champion the message of the Gospel: that God freely saves sinners through His Son Jesus Christ.

Worship. The Protestant Reformation sought to recapture the form of worship practiced in the early church, marked by simplicity and filled with Scripture. We gather to “sing the Word, pray the Word, read the Word, and preach the Word,” in order to lift our hearts to God Himself. We believe that joy-filled lives flow from God-centered worship.

Life. Reformed churches strongly affirm the spirituality of the “ordinary life”. We believe that in the ordinary parts of our lives – eating and drinking, working and playing, family and friendships – our God is doing the extraordinary work of sanctification (Col. 3:17). We are learning to devote our every moment of everyday to Him as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2).

The doctrines of grace humble a man without degrading him, and exalt him without inflating him.
—Charles Hodge

Family. Friendly.

In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
—Eph. 2:22

We believe that God has welcomed us into His family, and that we show his love best by cultivating relationships as a family.

Church as Family. We are not a business or an organization, but the family of our heavenly Father, His children adopted by grace through His Son. We think of ourselves as “brothers and sisters” (Matt 12:50) and seek to know and care for each other deeply. In a healthy family, every member has a role and shares in the work of building up the family life. For the sake of our family life as a church, we need to know our spiritual gifts.

Family Equipping Ministry. Our family life as a congregation is vitally related to the home life of our families. Our youth and children’s ministries exist as part of our “Family Equipping Ministry” with the motto: “bringing the church to the home and the home to the church.” We believe that transmitting the faith to the next generation requires investing in healthy marriages and recovering the lost practices of catechizing and family devotions. But we also believe “it takes a church!” When done well, “Family Equipping Ministry” calls every member, at every stage of life, to share in the call of transmitting the faith to the next generation.

Welcoming & Accessible. From their first walk through our doors to their first invitation to a member’s home to their first “Fellowship Retreat”, newcomers should sense that our people are genuinely interested in them. We want to become better at identifying and removing the unnecessary barriers that can keep others from moving into our shared life as a church. We also want to become better at practicing hospitality in our homes, since it’s in the home that people become “like family”.

You may speak but a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian Church in years to come. —Charles Spurgeon

Love at Work.

… let us not love in word
or talk but in deed and in truth.
—1 John 3:18

When it comes to serving those outside our congregation, we acknowledge we have a lot of room to grow. “Love at Work” means we’re aspiring to do more than provide prayers and financial support—we’re ready to get out there ourselves.

Our neighborhoods, city, and world are full of needs. We can’t meet them all, but we can meet some. That will require leaning into discomfort, sacrifice, inconvenience, and the fear of the unknown. But as we pause to recognize ourselves as needy, and consider the great cost and sacrifice Jesus made to meet our need, we will find motivation from the Gospel to love others as Christ has loved us:

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s good and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does Gods’ love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” —(1 John 3:16-18).

Is “Love at Work” a matter of service projects, mission trips, and organized congregational efforts? Or is this about personal and often-unrecognized commitments and sacrifices? “Love at Work” calls us to both—and not to “check a box” on a spiritual resume, but to grow more in Christ and manifest His love.

Take my hands and let them move, At the impulse of thy love. —Frances Ridley Havergal

Shared Joy.

… their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.”
–2 Corinthians 8:2

Sarah in Kenya_Shared.jpg

We believe that the goal of human life includes the experience of joy—joy as a gift received from the LORD, and joy as a gift shared with others.

The words for “joy”, “joyful”, “rejoice”, and “rejoicing” occur more than 400 times in Scripture, especially in the Psalms, Isaiah, and the writings of Luke, John, and Paul. We might define joy as “a sense of excess, as an undeserved gift, together with a sense of closeness to the Giver,” such as the Psalmist celebrates when he sings: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Ps. 4:7).

Deeper than “happiness”, joy flows from the Lord Himself and cannot be experienced apart from knowing Him (Ps. 16:11, 43:4; Neh. 8:10). In the Upper Room, Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). As a gift from the Lord, joy is not fleeting, but secure: “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). And because the Lord is always with us, joy is not threatened by suffering, but proven in the midst of suffering. As Paul testifies, “In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy” (2 Cor. 7:4, cf. Hab. 3:17-18).

If our joy in the LORD is an overflowing stream, our world is brittle ground. People are waking up without joy, going to bed without joy, and experiencing suffering with no access to a joy that is deeper than their pain. This should break our hearts with compassion, drive us to our knees in intercession, and send us out on a joy-filled mission of pointing fellow human beings to the one and only source of joy in this world: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Gratitude and joy drove them to do good works before the thought that they had to them even crossed their mind. – Herman Bavinck