Full Statement of Values
Glory of God Focused
The Bible teaches that all things were created for one primary purpose– to bring glory to God. (Isaiah 43:6-7) The glory of God can be understood as the display of the infinite value of God. Because God is infinitely valuable, every individual Christian and every local church family must have a continual, intentional, and passionate focus on the glory of God! (I Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 3:21)
God’s glory is most clearly demonstrated through the Person and work ofHis Son, Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 1:3) Through Jesus’ life on this earth and death on the cross, Hehas redeemed people unto himself – a people known as His church. As His church, we strive above all things to know Him, love Him, praise Him, serve Him, and spread the good news of His atoning death, which is the Gospel. It is by, through, and for Him that we exist and therefore it is our goal to keep Him and His message at the center of all that we say and do! “In all things He must have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).
It is our desire to be thoroughly biblical in every area of our lives. Our purpose, our methods, and our goals must be from sound, biblical teaching. We reject the modern concept that biblical goals can be achieved by man-centered, man-empowered methods. Our theology must dictate our methodology.
Expository Bible Preaching
Because the Bible is the only perfect standard of faith andpractice, the central component of God’s church must be the preaching of the Word of God in thepower of the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:15-4:2). The preacher must strive to be thoroughly biblical. He must avoid the temptation of misusing Scripture to support a man-centered or culturally relevant message. Each biblical passage should be preached exegetically in its historical and grammaticalcontext, giving application for today’s world. Preaching is indispensable to the church’s growthin knowledge, holiness, and love. It cannot and should not be replaced or diminished.
Biblical and Passionate Worship
With our music we strive lead the church family to glorify God and to edify one another through singing and musical instruments, ministering with spiritual passion and doctrinal integrity. The worship is to reinforce our faith through song and to express congregational praise and worship to Christ, our Audience.
Biblical Salvation and Assurance
Salvation is wholly an act of God that comes from hearing the Gospel accompanied by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:5). This supernatural work, called regeneration, produces repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21). The truly saved person perseveres in faithfulness (Philippians 1:6; Matthew 7:16-20). This perseverance is the basis of assurance. The man who walks in a continual state of carnality with no divine discipline can have no assurance of sonship (Hebrews 12:8), no matter how adamantly he professes his allegiance to Christ.
It is the duty of every believer to evangelize the lost. While we reject the manipulative scheme of man-centered evangelism, we are committed to preach the Gospel to every creature and to implore ALL men to repent and believe. We believe that whoever believes in Christ will be saved. At the same time, we recognize that neither repentance nor faith can be produced by manipulating the emotion or coercing the will. They are the results of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. (John 6:37, Ephesians 2:8-9)
The Great Commission is a great command. Personal involvement in world missions is not a suggestion or an option, but it is demanded of every true believer. The entire local church family should be personally and strategically involved in world missions, mobilizing laborers, prayer, and finances to the end of glorifying God among all peoples. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The church is ideally led by multiple elders/pastors who teach and shepherd the flock. In accordance with Hebrews 13:17, they keep watch over the congregation as men who must give an account to God. Likewise, the congregation is to obey them and submit to their authority so that their work will be a joy and not a burden. The elders must meet the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. They are to exercise authority over the church only to the degree that they teach and lead according to the Scriptures.
According to the teachings of Jesus, the life of every Christian is to be marked by service (Mark 9:35). However, the New Testament also speaks of the specific office ofdeacon. The word “deacon” refers to a helper or servant who serves. Before a man may be appointed as a deacon, he must be tested for the qualifications found in I Timothy 3:8-13. The tasks of a deacon are primarily that of meeting the physical and material needs of individual believers and the congregation as a whole. If the deacon serves faithfully, he obtains for himself a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (I Timothy 3:13).
The Local Church
We believe that meaningful and enduring fellowship in a local church isabsolutely essential to the Christian’s life and ministry. Para-church or media ministries can never take the place of the local church and its ministers. We are called to be committed not only to gather together, but to do so for the purpose of encouraging one another and stimulating one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Every Member Ministry
Every Christian in the local congregation without exception has been given spiritual gifts, which they are commanded to employ for the edification of the entire congregation. (Romans 12:4-8) The administration of such gifts by every member is necessary for the proper growth and ministry of the church. (Ephesians 4:12-16)
One of the greatest outlets for every member ministry is our Small Group ministry. At Grace Life, we call these groups Fellowship Groups. These groups are employed for the sanctification of the saints, the expression of mutual care, true Christian fellowship, and theexercise of one’s spiritual gifts. We recognize that each member may or may not be given the opportunity to express their God-given spiritual gifts within the context of our congregational meeting, but each may express their gifts within the context of a healthy small group.
The God-given call for every church is to make disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20) The primary means employed to disciple believers are expository preaching, Small Group interaction, accountability, and personal one-on-one discipleship.
Compassionate Church Discipline
Although church discipline is a foundational doctrine in church history, it is now almost non-existent among “contemporary” churches. We believe that if we truly seek to honor God, and if we truly care for the well-being of His people, we will obey Christ’s commands to practice church discipline (Matthew 18:15-20). When practiced biblically and compassionately, it is a powerful tool to restore the fallen and to preserve Christ’s honor inthe church and the unbelieving world.