Jesus. Family. Mission.
Perhaps a better term would be our Core Commitments because while we often say we value something, it becomes clear what our true values are by what we are committed to. At Gospel Community we believe that being a disciple of Jesus boils down to three core commitments: Jesus, Family, and Mission. These core values not only help us define what the church is but they also inform how we live our lives, make our decisions, grow in faith, etc. If everything else we did were to be stripped away, Jesus, Family, Mission would still remain as the foundation and core identity of who we are.
It’s all about Jesus. It always has been about Jesus. It always will be about Jesus. We believe that all of scripture makes sense only in light of Him. Forgiveness of the past is only available in Him. Hope for the future is available only through Him. Take away Jesus and you have nothing.
We seek to know Jesus as He is revealed in His word. We seek to obey His commandments and so grow in our intimacy with Him. We seek to show those around us who Jesus really is and what He has done so that they too may come to know the true meaning of life.
When we say that we are committed to Jesus we mean, first and foremost, that we are committed to glorifying and worshipping the person of Jesus as he is depicted in the Bible (Col. 1:15-20), to strive to intentionally pursue knowing and loving Him to the best of our ability both individually and collectively. Second, when we say we are committed to Jesus, we mean that we value and are committed to the Word of God (John 1:1-5, 14). It is through God’s Word that we come to know Jesus as He has revealed Himself. We do not think that it is possible to value Jesus and not value His Word, they go hand in hand. Finally, when we say we are committed to Jesus, we mean that we are committed to the gospel as it is laid out in the scriptures (Acts 10:36-43, 1 Cor. 15:1-6). Namely, that Jesus, being God in flesh, came to earth, lived a perfect life, died our death, and rose again on the third day claiming victory over sin and death.
We are God’s people made in His image for the sole purpose of glorifying Him for all of eternity. We are called to be one body, whose head is Jesus, and who live not for ourselves but for one another and for Jesus. Our attitudes, actions and motivations are in the process of changing from pleasing ourselves to pleasing Jesus and blessing one another.
Often, when the scriptures talk about the people of God they are referred to as the Children or Household of God (Rom. 8:16-17, 1 Tim. 3:15). We love this idea of a family in scripture because it helps us paint a picture of what our spiritual family should be like. Most of us grew up with a biological family and understand that you don’t get to pick your family, you’re born or adopted into it. If we get into a fight with one of our siblings, we don’t give up and go find another family, we work through our problems and move forward. Likewise, if our sibling is about to do something that is foolish or harmful, we don’t stand by idly but step in to gently bring them back from the cliff’s edge. Finally, not everything that happens in our biological families is a trip to Disney.
As a matter of fact, most of our experiences with our families are mundane, everyday life. Most of our time is spent washing dishes or cleaning the house, and only every now and then do we get to experience these “mountaintop” moments like a family vacation. So it is with our spiritual family: we grow together, live life together, fight together, and stay together.
We are authentic and transparent with one another because as a family we see the good, the bad and the ugly in every circumstance. When one of us is being foolish we exhort one another, when one of us is enjoying blessing we rejoice with one another, and when one of us is hurting we grieve with one another. We are a family on a journey through life together seeking Jesus in everyday life.
As one body we seek to recognize our individual roles and responsibilities to one another. The growth of the body is not limited to one individual member or a few select members but rather to the entire body as a whole (Rom. 12:4-5, 1 Cor. 12:12-31). When we recognize our responsibility to shepherd one another we in turn live healthier and holier lives.
We believe that the church has been given one mission: make disciples of all nations. This means that we have been called out as missionaries to challenge people to be followers of Jesus wherever we are. Each of us has a “sphere of influence” where we live, serve, work, and play. We interact daily with neighbors, coworkers, and people with similar interests and we believe that Jesus has placed us in these spheres to be witnesses of who He is.
Whether we are pastors or plumbers we are all called to be missionaries and this means that every word, thought, and action needs to be done with intentionality and with the heartbeat of discipleship in mind. Whether or not this is something we feel comfortable doing, we should be earnestly seeking to learn how to be more effective disciple makers.
A disciple is one who follows, learns from, and obeys someone who is greater than himself, seeking in everything to be like his master. Our desire is to make more disciples of Jesus. As healthy disciples we seek to follow Jesus, learn to be like Him and obey what He is teaching us through His word. As healthy disciple-makers we are calling others to follow Jesus, teaching them His Word, and exhorting them to obey His commandments.
As we intentionally inject the gospel into everyday life (where we live, work, and play) we call those who do not know Jesus to follow Him and those who claim the name of Jesus to love and obey Him. In every situation we seek to help others find life, place, and meaning in Christ.
This is not simply a mission to make converts, as if relationships are merely a means to an end, but rather a welcoming of others to experience true life in communion with God and his people. We believe that evangelism is merely the first step in disciple-making and that helping walk someone into maturity with Jesus (teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded) should always be a natural next step after evangelism. One should not be separated from the other.