We strive towards being a church that, because its members know God deeply, contends to free people from the effects of sin and the present, ungodly times, in a Christ like manner.
“Because… members know God…” This is the basis and motivation for everything (1Cor 10:31; 1Peter 4:11). When church members know God deeply then they will genuinely and instinctively, “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you [them] out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1Peter 2:9). Knowing and deepening that knowledge of God means the members will have and experience what the Bible calls, “eternal life,” (John 17:3). Essentially this is experiencing the love and grace that comes from being dynamically connected to the person of God! To the extent that this is a reality, then the members are then free and equipped to do what follows.
“Contends to free… ” Church members who know God deeply engage, get involved, confront, and face evil and not simply “play church”. These members have been delivered from themselves and idols to serve the Living God (1Thess. 1:9). They are willing to “fight the good fight of faith,” and pursue what pleases God, “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness,” (1Tim 6:11-12). Church members who know God deeply will understand that the fight is within themselves, (Col 3:5; Gal 5:17) as it is also with others (Gal 6:17).
“From …present, ungodly …times…” (Gal 1:4). This includes issues of sinfulness, anti biblical philosophies, worldly values, erroneous theologies, blindness and brokenness. Here there is so much to cover from the extremes and errors of post-modernism, consumerism, to the effects of a morally decadent and narcissistic culture (2Tim 3:1-4). Note: Presently, much of the world is in churches as well! (2Tim 3:5-7). All this can be overwhelming if not for the fact that Christ has promised and given believers the Holy Spirit who does what is impossible for them, (John 16:7-11), and gives the believer the power needed to live in the midst of this fallen-ness (Rom 8:11).
“Christ like manner” This means living out this call in holiness, love and wisdom (Heb 12:12-15; Gal 5:22-24). But as with the prophets of old, believers can be tempted by frustrations and ill motivations. When things are not working the way they should work and/or people are not responding to the truth of the Gospel, believers can be tempted to use unethical, manipulative and worldly techniques. The Apostle Paul even acknowledges that at times many will preach the Gospel with self serving motives (Phil 1:15-17; 1Tim 6:3-6). The kind of ministry we envision takes mature sound understanding and not just fanatical excitement.
So what our vision means is that we desire our church to be a strong base of believers who minister not out of neediness but “from a full cup”, and penetrate evil, to deliver those in bondage. This is truly loving people and only achieved by a deep understanding of God.