It all starts with the gospel. Who we are, how we stucture our church family, what we do in everyday life all starts with what God did (what we believe). The Bible says that the gospel of Jesus gives us a new identity (who we are), and out of that flow rhythms of life empowered by the Holy Spirit (how we live).
What we believe
Jesus, God’s promised rescuer and king, lovingly lived the life we should live, died the death we deserve, and rose again by the Spirit to redeem and restore all creation, including us!
The Bible describes the gospel in astounding ways. Angels who are in the presence of God every day long to look into the gospel. It provides blessings. It gives life. It’s the wisdom, power and glory of God. And the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in those who believe it! (1 Pet 1:12, 1 Cor 9:23, 1 Pet 1:3, 2 Cor 4:6, Rom 1:16, Rom 8:11)
Jesus, God’s promised rescuer and king – The New Testament establishes that Jesus is the Messiah, the one promised to rescue God’s people and rule justly in a never- ending kingdom. The grand narrative of the Bible leads up to a climax in the gospel.
lovingly lived the life we should live – We all choose to value created things more than the Creator, we all choose our own way and in doing so reject God. The Bible calls this sin. But Jesus lived a sinless life. He always did what was good, right and perfect. He always valued God over any other person or thing, always chose to obey the Father. The gospel, the good news, is that he did that FOR US. His righteousness - his perfect record - is credited to us. Love for us motivated his life and death.
died the death we deserve - Paul says in Romans that the wages of sin is death. The just punishment for our rebellion against God is death – separation from the giver of life. Jesus took the punishment we rightly deserve. In our place, he died an excruciating and humiliating death, and experienced separation from the Father. This glorious substitution is at the heart of the gospel.
rose again by the Spirit - If he had sinned during his life, Jesus’s death and separation from God would have been for his own sin - it couldn’t be a substitute for ours. And he would have stayed dead. But his resurrection is the proof that his perfect life and death was enough. The debt is paid in full. The check cleared. He has once and for all defeated sin, death and Satan.
to redeem and restore all creation, including us! - To redeem is to buy back - he purchased us at the extreme expense of his blood. Paul says that in the gospel we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. The purpose of this cosmic buy-back is restoration. In the gospel Jesus is reconciling ALL THINGS to himself. When sin first enters the world through Adam and Eve’s rebellion, everything is marred and distorted - both things and us. Through the gospel, Jesus is renewing and restoring all of creation to even better than what it was. One day Jesus will say, “Watch, I’m making all things new." (Rev 21:5)
The gospel is our past, present and future salvation
We are saved from the penalty of sin. The debt is paid in full and nothing we do can add or take away from that.
We are being saved from the power of sin. As we increasingly submit to the empowering lordship of Jesus, we are being set free from the grip of sin on our lives.
One day we will be saved from the very presence of sin. There will be no more pain, tears, or death and the glory of God will light up the new world.
For more details, see the Laussanne Covenant and Soma Distinctives.
Who we are
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Bible describes belief in the gospel as bringing about radical transformation. It’s described as being born a second time, being raised from death to life, being adopted into a new family. The gospel gives disciples of Jesus a brand new identity. Belief in Jesus is not something you simply add on to life – it fundamentally changes who you are. The Bible always uses the word church as identity, referring to God’s people saved by God’s power for God’s purposes. We don’t go to church; we are the Church. (John 3:1-15; 1 Peter 1:3,23; Rom 6:1-11; Rom 8:15-16)
Our understanding of this new gospel identity is rooted in Jesus’s last words on earth:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
~ Matthew 28:18-20
The church makes DISCIPLES
We are disciples who worship Jesus, are being changed by Jesus and obey Jesus.
At the end of Matthew, the disciples hear the Great Commission from Jesus to make disciples, and in Acts we see that they understood planting and establishing churches to be the means to accomplish it. The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus.
Disciples worship Jesus: In the gospel, we see the grace, goodness, greatness and glory of God most clearly. The gospel makes us disciples who joyfully strive to worship Jesus with our whole lives.
Disciples are being changed by Jesus: The gospel is the power of God for salvation. The gospel makes us disciples who have been and are being changed, set free, and being conformed into the image of Jesus.
Disciples obey Jesus : We are learning to walk in step with the gospel in every area of life, listening to and obeying the Master, learning to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we teach others to obey Jesus’ commands. Disciples make disciples.
Our mission: Make disciples who make disciples across cultures in everyday life.
The church is God's chosen FAMILY
We are children of God who love and care for each other as a family.
God has always desired a people—an earthly family—who would live in such a way that the world would know what he is like. Through Jesus we are adopted as children of God. Therefore, we are also brothers and sisters with each other. As family we get to personally care for one another’s needs—both physically and spiritually. We are family through highs and lows in the everyday rhythms of life. It’s messy and it’s glorious. (Genesis 12:1-3; John 1:12-13; Romans 12:10-16)
The church is made of Jesus's SERVANTS
We are servants of God who serve others as a way of life.
Fully God and fully human, Jesus took on the posture of a servant. He gave his life, so that others could experience salvation, peace and restoration. Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves...” All those who follow Jesus are called to serve in the same humility. For us this means joyful submission to God, church leadership and to each other, as we serve whomever God brings into our lives. (Matthew 20:25-28, 25:31-46; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:16)
The church is sent by the Holy Spirit as MISSIONARIES
We are sent by God to restore all things to himself.
God sent his son, Jesus, to earth to take on human form and live within the culture. He worked, ate and lived among the people; living in such a way that those around him could see and experience what God was truly like. Jesus came so that all people, places and things could be restored to a right relationship with God. In the same way, we believe we are missionaries sent into our culture to seek the restoration of all things to God through Jesus. We live this out as part of a missional community. (John 1:14, 20:21; Colossians 1:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
How we live
Everyday Gospel Rhythms
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
To walk by faith means the truth of the gospel impacts our everyday activities. As the normal, everyday stuff of life becomes infused with gospel intentionality, we display the glory of God to all those around us, join in his mission of making disciples and experience his power and presence. Here are some of our rhythms of life and how we're learning to infuse them with the gospel.
We consistently listen to God both “backward” and “forward.”
As God’s people, we have his Spirit in us, regularly speaking to us through the Scriptures as we read them and recall them; through his church as we interact with one another; and personally as we listen closely to his voice. In John 10:1-21, Jesus said his sheep hear and listen to his voice, and in John 14-15, he said his Spirit would be the means by which we abide with him and are led by him). Listening also reminds us that the Spirit can speak to others in our silence. In fact, our willingness to quiet our souls and care for others often creates the best space for the Spirit to work. (John 10:1-21, John 14-15)
We want to know, submit to and be shaped by the Bible and its grand redemptive story
Every person lives in light of a larger story based on their culture, family, worldview, etc. As disciples of Jesus, we are participants in a great story that climaxes in the gospel, which God has been unfolding since before time began. Therefore, we regularly reacquaint ourselves with the Story through God’s Word. We look for ways and times to tell the Story often. We also take time to listen to others’ stories and help them find their lives within God’s Story. (Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:1; Psalms 1:1-6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We gather together to celebrate God's extravagant blessings in Jesus.
God calls people to regularly celebrate his goodness and grace. We gather weekly in missional communities and as a larger family, to share stories and celebrate all that God is doing in and amongst us. We throw parties and join others in celebrations. We share these celebrations as a way of displaying God’s glory. (Leviticus 23:1-44; Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:24-25)
We intentionally bless others through words, gifts or actions.
God desires that all nations—all people—would be blessed through Jesus. And now, as his Body (soma), we believe we live out this mission as we bless others. We are blessed to be a blessing. We intentionally seek God’s direction for who he would have us tangibly bless each week. (Genesis 12:1-3; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:8-10; 1 Peter 2:12)
We regularly eat meals with others to invite them into gospel community.
Meals are a daily reminder of our common need for God and his faithfulness to provide both physically and spiritually. Jesus called us to remember him and his sacrifice through a meal. Eating together, we commune around this truth. We regularly eat meals with those not in our immediate family or circle of close friends, discipling them toward a life of dependence on God. (Leviticus 23:1-44; Matthew 6:11, 26:17-30; Acts 2:46-47; Romans 12:13)
We take time to both rest and work in ways that reflect God to others.
After powerfully and joyfully creating the universe, God rested. We were created in his image and therefore were made to joyfully create and rest as well. We regularly take time to rest, play, create and restore beauty in ways that reflect what God is like to our neighbors. (Genesis 1:1-2:3; Deuteronomy 5:12; Mark 2:23-28; Hebrews 4:1-16)