God is the author of life's story.
The greatest commandment of all is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. The best, most enduring joy is found in Him. He is our greatest need and the only One who can satisfy the deepest longings of our lives. Whatever we do is done to reflect and magnify His worth. By making Him preeminent in our affections and delighting in all He is to us in Jesus Christ, our lives become aligned with our Creator's original purpose.
It's a true story.
God's story is true in that it is consistent with His own nature. Even though our understanding of Him is incomplete, He is nevertheless the standard of all that is true. Because the story is true it fits with our own experience of life in all of its complexity.
It's the story of a King and His people.
God is establishing a Kingdom. He is extending the reign of His Son, Jesus Christ, over all the earth. The Bible calls us to seek the realization of this Kingdom as our first priority in life. Jesus taught us to pray "Thy Kingdom come." Wherever Jesus is acknowledged as King in personal repentance, faith, and obedience, there the Kingdom manifests itself. It is, therefore, a present reality, but its fullest expression is still to come. Our goal is not the advancement of a single church, association, or movement, but this Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
It is a story of Good News!
Best news ever: That God is reconciling the world to Himself in Jesus Christ and all who submit to Christ as King become part of His forever Kingdom. All their sins are forgiven. They are adopted into God's family and enjoy the promise of eternal life.
God tells us His story in a book.
God revealed Himself and His purposes in a book, the Bible. The teachings of this book are the highest authority for everything we believe and practice. It contains everything we need to know to do God's will. It is trustworthy and true in telling us the story of God's loving initiative in rescuing us from the effects of our sin and setting everything right under the reign of Christ.
The story has the power to transform your life.
Jesus did not come to take perfect people to heaven. He came to save people who know they need a Savior. Those who know their own spiritual bankruptcy are those most blessed by God. True community is experienced within the church only as we acknowledge our frailties, imperfections, and tendencies to rebel against Christ's reign. Together we are in the process of becoming what He calls us to be. We honor this process by not expecting people to be perfect before we will love them.
Families are for learning the story.
The primary context for growing disciples of Jesus Christ is the family. It is here that children learn to love, trust, and treasure Christ. It is within the closest relationships of the family that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is most clearly displayed. How we behave in relationships with those closest to us is what validates the authenticity of our Christian faith. Christ-centered marriages and families become a showcase for the Gospel. The church bears the responsibility of equipping parents to disciple their children. The parents are to assume the role of primary teachers and not abdicate it to the church, school, TV, or the child's peers.
You are part of God's story.
Christ, as the Head of the church, exercises His leadership by giving gifts to His people that are to be used in the context of the local church. Each of us has a spiritual gift or gifts that contribute to the health and effectiveness of the church. Without each gift, the church's life is diminished. We serve best, most productively, and experience the most pleasure by serving in our area of giftedness.
We value soft hearts toward the Holy Spirit's presence in life more than any gifts someone may have. In other words, being like Jesus is more important than having great talent. God is working everything in our lives together for the highest good-that we might more clearly reflect the character of Jesus.
God wants us to tell His story.
History has not come to a close because God has not saved all those He intends to save. The church does not exist for itself but is to be a means of reaching others with the great news of what God has done and is doing through Jesus Christ. We are God's method of communicating His story to those who have never heard it, have grown hardened toward it, or don't believe the story is for them. Therefore we value strategic missionary-like thinking as we plan and prioritize our activities and programs. If we are not successfully reaching people who have no meaningful connection to church, our approach must change.
Church is for celebrating and living out the story.
Church is only an exciting place to be when God's story is central to everyone else's story. When God is at work advancing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and transforming people in His name, our shared life as Christians is deeply meaningful. When we forget the reality of God's initiative and the wonder of all that He offers us in Christ, church life grows crusty and dull. So we value a spirit of joyous celebration in everything we do because it honors God and renews our faith, hope, and love.