The worship of God is more about our daily micro-choices than about music and liturgy at gatherings. Worship is the embodiment of the way of God.
The following twelve values originate in an aspect of Jesus’ life and mission – his commitments, his passions, his ministry. His life and mission are, of course, the pure embodiment of God, so taken together, they express Jesus’ overall heart for his church on the earth. More than what we say we believe, these heart attitudes are key to understanding the tenor of the ministry we do, as well as our primary motive in doing it.
Jesus trusted his Father. Putting faith in God in our everyday moments may be one of the most neglected aspect of Christian living in our day.
For some, a cry to God is a last resort, a panic button hit only when life has gotten completely out of control. For others, perhaps the more religiously observant, Christian routines can take the place of actual faith. As a result, people trust false understandings of God rather than trusting God himself (Prov. 3:5-6). Some serve a spiritual system-of-thought but miss God altogether. The writers of the Bible tell story after story contrasting people who trust God with people who always seems to fall back on their own logic and wisdom. Embracing the Lordship and leadership of God in all of life – from top to bottom – is the heart of worship. Worship is not about what we do or what we say we believe but who (or what) we love and serve. We believe loving and serving God with all of life will make us markedly different people, people full of purpose, people making a difference in the world. Such lives are no longer about self but about God and others.
The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus “died so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them” (2 Cor. 5:15).
Jesus’ own teaching as well as his lifestyle call his followers to live as he did; in service of all, as if we were serving God himself. With this in mind, we aim to weave service into every aspect of who we are and what we do, seeing humble service as the basis for all our relationships and activities. Microchurch ministries are designed to provide opportunities for all participants to serve, to enter the culture as servants without demands. Life lived with a rhythm of service in a self-centered world demonstrates that the kingdom of God has come and that he is making us new (2 Cor. 5:17).
No amount of talent, intellect or passion will overcome a lack of sincere, sacrificial love.
Jesus laid down his life for people who rejected him, and he said we’d be known by our love. A life filled with Jesus is a life lived with the very love of God inside of us. As John succinctly put it, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus lived” (1 John 2:5-6). We must, by the very nature of who we are, love as Jesus loved, in real, everyday, tangible ways that bring real benefit into the world as a result of our having engaged it. Love motivates us to engage the world; and our engagement with the world must be marked by self-sacrificing love.
Jesus was driven to serve people by a compassionate mercy.
In Jesus’ celebrated story, the Good Samaritan steps into relational, physical and financial risk in order to care for an unknown victim of violence, a stricken human he happens upon while simply going about his normal daily activities. The Samaritan allows the suffering of a stranger from an alien culture to dictate the use of his own time and resources – not just for one day, but for as many days as it takes to bring about restoration. Jesus’ story compares this outsider’s choices to set aside his personal preferences with those of the two religious insiders who quickly pass by the victim, choosing to carry on with their day’s agenda rather than letting the despair and pain of a stranger become a burden on their day. The Samaritan exemplifies deep faith and love for God in the way he selflessly loves his enemy. The application for us who follow Jesus is obvious. God is deeply concerned with the way we engage our neighbors. Mercy must triumph over judgment (James 2:13).
There may be no value so closely aligned with God’s heart that is so regularly neglected by God’s people then placing value on the small and the weak.
Jesus saw the weak and the small and brought them forward. In general, humans honor power and position and those who gain power and position use it to their own advantage, often ignoring, if not crushing, the smaller and less powerful in the process. In contrast, God promotes and honors the smaller and less powerful, choosing to use the less impressive vessel to carry out his mission. In turn he humbles the prideful and arrogant. God is the only one that is truly strong and powerful. He makes or breaks human strength. He provides or sets aside human success. God has given gifts to all people, so that each one can work together to build up the whole. We must encourage, promote and honor the smaller and less powerful among us. If we don’t, we may find our excellent works for God to be strangely absent of his presence, or worse, we may find God actively working against us.
Jesus held the ultimate power and privilege, yet we see him taking all the privilege, authority and power he had at his disposal and using it to the benefit of the outcasts, the least and the powerless.
God created all human beings in his image to reflect him and fellowship with him. All humans are image-bearers of God and at no time should any image-bearer be diminished by another. God’s heart is that we push against every form of prejudice and injustice, that we should do all in our power to ease the suffering of the poor and bring the outsider in from the margins. Following Jesus means we must use whatever power and privilege he has given us to serve those who have neither in order to see them flourish and prosper.
None of us have arrived. Each of us is a learner.
We believe every human has been created to be in relationship with God. We don’t view people as inside or outside, but we see everyone – including ourselves – as somewhere on a continuum of faith. We look to share life with people no matter where they fall on the faith continuum. We don’t assume everyone has gained saving faith, but we want to learn where each is and what they may need to take a step closer to trusting God. Following Jesus ultimately requiring a heart-change, but following him is nonetheless a learning process. None of us are experts. None of us has arrived. Each of us is a fellow-learner, a disciple, looking to better understand and embrace Jesus and his way.
We can’t begin to understand and truly serve if we don’t listen well.
Listening carefully and truly observing someone’s life and needs is at the heart of our ability to show love and compassion. We believe understanding the culture people live in everyday, tracking with their personal histories and the current drama of their lives is critical to walking with them in love, and walking with them in love is the best way to communicate Jesus.
In contrast to much religious practice, we look to avoid producing any sense that acceptance with us or with God is earned with some level of compliance to a standard of practice. Such compliance is false religion and is a direct contradiction of the message of Jesus. We are fully accepted solely through the work of Jesus. Remembering that our acceptance is Jesus-earned not self-earned gives us no reason to compete and compare thus allowing us to live in open, transparent relationships in which we know each other deeply and love each other anyway. This kind of deep relationship doesn’t occur over a pew for a few minutes on Sunday morning, so we value relationship that happens in actual life, in shared life experience where our true needs our revealed. The revelation of true need is the beginning of restoration, and restoration is a core purpose of Jesus’ mission. If we are not seeing gospel-based restoration in the lives of people, we are not living as Jesus’ church and we are simply living a religious facade. We’re not interested in empty religion. We expect what we believe will influence and dominate the way we live and anyone we contact in the course of daily life.
We believe place is critically important to God as he plants us in a place and expects us to serve in that place for his kingdom purposes.
The ministry of the church in the New Testament appears to be decidedly local. Disciples of Jesus came out of the local community. Their leaders came from that same community (Acts 14:23). Talents, resources and gifts found within the local body were dedicated to God for the good of the local community.
For this reason, we are dedicated to encouraging and supporting local leaders who creatively pursue local ministry and mission that works best in their specific context.
From the moment that humanity broke faith with God, he was on a mission to win back his creation. Jesus’ mission to Earth was the apex of God’s mission and Jesus calls all of his followers to join that mission, calling each as a disciple-maker. Living as a disciple-maker requires a commitment to a missionary lifestyle. Like missionaries, we are embedded in the community, orienting life around neighbors, leaning into the culture, and becoming trusted friends. In this way, our lives share the fragrance of Jesus so that when we speak the truth of the gospel, it more easily finds a home in the heart of the listener.
Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Since the fall of humanity, humans have been driven by an internal regulator that tells us all we have to strive to be acceptable to God, to others and even ourselves. Adam and Eve fell into self-improvement when they sowed fig leaves for clothes. Cain’s mistake was similar as he was consumed with producing his own acceptable sacrifice for God. Ever since, religion has followed a similar pathway. Religion that springs out of human ambition and striving is idolatry. In direct contrast, the first duty of faith is to rest in God. Our first priority in ministry is pointing people to find deep rest and acceptance in God. This is the constant message of the Scripture demonstrated in bold relief in the gospel message: Jesus died to make us acceptable to God. We are learning to look to him alone for our sense of well being, believing his acceptance of us is of greater value than any accolade we could receive for what we do. Out of that rest, we experience renewed energy to serve and love others.