1) Gospel-Centered:

We believe that the Gospel is not only the ABC’s but the A to Z’s of the Christian life. It is not just a ticket to heaven based on grace through faith, it is the way God sets us free to live life now.

What to look for:

  • The assurance of God’s favor based on God’s grace in Christ.
  • Identity-oriented people living as God’s children vs. performance-oriented people living as orphans or slaves.
  • Transparency to confess real sins.
  • A different approach to suffering and trials as related to God’s training vs. God’s punishment.
  • A new motivation for service that is internal and gratitude-based vs. external and duty-based. People being set free from self-promotion, self-defending, self-justifying, blame-shifting.
  • A community that loves God’s law as the basis for human flourishing now that we are no longer relying on the law as the basis for God’s acceptance.
  • Sabbath enjoyment springing from trustful contentment with [upon] God’s gracious provisions in Christ.

2) Being Missional:

More than a source of mission, the Church is the center of mission because in her is the mediated presence of Christ. Just the church being the church with the whole world present is God’s missionary strategy to the world. This makes our approach to evangelism and discipleship participatory and not simply declarative.

What to look for:

  • A welcoming environment for all people on their journey of a life with God.
  • Non-Christians participating in the life of the church and worship.
  • Worship that is both transcendent and accessible for Christians and seekers.
  • A willingness to suffer all things, that all might believe.
  • A confidence in the outward means of grace as a missionary strategy to our world (preaching, sacraments, community, prayers).
  • A church that assumes a missionary mentality both locally and globally.

3) United in Belief:

Whereas the Scripture is our only rule of faith and practice, we want to study the Bible with the consensus of the orthodox church throughout all of history. Our consensus is reflected in the Westminster Confession of Faith and we often reflect on many other historic confessions of the Christian faith.

What to look for:

  • A culture of submission to Scripture revealed in a willingness to biblically regulate worship and practice.
  • A carefulness to declare the whole counsel of God’s Word (not more, not less) as discerned by good and necessary inference.
  • A high regard for the Scriptures in preaching that is expositional and Christ-centered.
  • A humble regard for the church over the individual as “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” such as reading the Bible communally instead of individualistically.
  • A church that carefully teaches and applies biblical theology as the friend of Christian renewal and sanctification.

4) Participating in Sacramental Worship:

We emphasize the living presence of Christ in the midst of our worship services. This is the essence of a sacramental spirituality wherein we weekly commune together with Jesus in our praise, prayers and in eucharistic communion with Christ.

What to look for:

  • An awareness of divine presence in worship.
  • Worship that is characterized by the full range of emotions fitting an encounter with the living God (yearning, wonder, joyfulness, sadness, resoluteness, humbleness, etc.).
  • An assurance of divine presence that results in a culture of anticipation and expectancy in worship and life.
  • A church that can distinguish the Word based elements in worship from the socio-cultural based forms that the elements must assume in order to transact God’s living presence.
  • A church that practices a worship service that lives the gospel in Christ’s presence instead of the revival style service that try to get a person to Christ and the gospel.

5) United in Community:

We want to emphasize a local-oriented ministry where community really matters. This community formation occurs where Christ our King is fleshed out through life on life “one anothering” and holistic empowerment under the shepherding care of Christ’s under-shepherds and servant leaders.

What to look for:

  • A communal, rather than individual, approach to everything that changes the way we think about our possessions, time, decisions and ethics.
  • A community that shares its burdens with one another.
  • A community that values the Christian village in child raising.
  • A communal consciousness that feels the relation of the part to the whole, both in flourishing as each member flourishes and in suffering as one member suffers.
  • A missional method that focuses not just on the individual evangelist and but also on the communal evangelist as a strategy for reaching those who do not yet know the love of God in Christ.
  • Intentional shepherding and life on life discipleship.