Vision, Values, and Purpose
Our Vision: Why another church on another corner? Because we are different. You heard that before, sure but let us explain: the traditional church plan of this day rarely follows scripture. We attempt to build believers, proclaim the gospel, and give opportunities for ministry. That doesn't sound different. You are right, but it is in the execution of the plan that is different.
There are five key elements that set us apart. There may be some churches that have one or two of these, but you will rarely find all five present. We personally know of only three other churches that function in this manner and they are our sister churches.
First of all: The meetings are family integrated. You are encouraged to worship and learn with your children. We do provide a Sunday School on Sunday mornings for part of the time, but then we bring the families back together again for the rest of the meetings. You see this in the bible. When the disciples wanted to have the children removed, Jesus said no. He wanted them there with their families. When he spoke to the multitudes, they sat down by families. Children are able to learn to sit quietly and when they do, they absorb so much more than in a children's church or youth group environment. When they see their fathers leading out in the Lord's supper or expounding the scriptures to the other believers, they are being brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Of course, this isn't the only means to do this, but it is a very effective one outside the home. Just seeing the example of the parents praising, singing, and giving testimonies or just following in scripture where the speaker is reading from is monumental in their family's spiritual growth. They see first hand, from their parents, which is God's plan. It is not the church's responsibility to raise a child (or as our society likes to say - a village), it falls on the father who has a helpmeet, his wife.
Secondly, we have open meetings. This is not a structured meeting. If you notice in the bible, Jesus and Paul entered into the synagogues and opened up the scriptures and begin to teach. This is what we mean by an open meeting. It doesn't say that Paul entered into a city and went first to the synagogue because he was scheduled to preach there. If you study to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the word of God, then when you study 1 Corinthians Chapter 14 you will see how Paul teaches the meetings to be conducted. We are members one of another, and it should be the members that participate. After a time of observing this kind of meeting and learning how to share a message or testimony, it is apparent when the Holy Spirit has moved upon several members to give a unified message that meets the needs of the church and grows its members at the same time. it is just like exercising your muscles. you can sit and watch an exercise video again and again and study it intensely, but it will do you little good if you never get up and actually perform the exercises. Scripture relates the church as the body of Christ and each member has a part and is called upon to exercise their gifts.
Thirdly, everything is done by volunteers. There are no employees of the church, even the pastors are not salaried. If the church gets cleaned and set up for the meeting, then it is a volunteer that does it. Volunteers staff the nursery, prepare the Lord's Table, teach Sunday school, and play musical instruments. We are to serve one another.
Fourthly, all offerings are done by designation. No collection plate will be passed around. There is a box where you can give as you feel led. There is an envelope where you can designate how your money is distributed. Again, as God has laid on your heart, not based on the needs of the church. We walk by faith, not by sight. We don't have a budget. We have a mighty God whose arm is not too short and his ear is not too heavy and when we call upon him, he can open windows of heaven and springs in a desert. We have found that God's people are more generous when they can give the way God has directed them to, not based upon the begging or cajoling of their pastors.
Lastly, the leadership in the church is always plural. There are so many wonderful attributes to this element. Just like America has checks and balances in its government, having multiple elders is also a check and balance of power. God's design is always best. Another bonus is that different personalities meet the needs of different people in the congregation. If you have multiple elders, then the need for a full time pastor is not as necessary, which in turn prevents the message of the Lord from being diluted so as to not offend those in control of the preacher's salary and bonuses. Currently, at this church, there is only one pastor because we have just begun and there are requirements in scripture regarding who can hold this office. But is is our vision and our intent to raise up more elders from among us.
This is a very, very basic description of how we are different and why we are working so hard to build this kind of church. I encourage you to come, observe, ask questions and then go and search the scriptures to see if what we have said is true. If this has muddied the waters instead of clearing it up for you, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at one of our meetings.