In our last post, we talked about three things:
(1) The mission statement of Faith Church
(2) the Core Values of Faith Church
(3) the Core Values of Faith Church West
Our mission and values should drive everything that we do, not only in our personal lives but also in the church. This post will expand on the Core Values of Faith Church to ensure that we have a firm foundation before we move to subsequent topics about the values that have made Faith Church West the community that it is. As you read through this blog, I encourage you to use these core values as a litmus test for how you and your family are doing. There may be areas that you are doing really well in, and there may be areas that you need to work on. We’ll celebrate and strengthen the good, while working to grow in the areas in which we may be a little weaker.
Inherent in every church should be the goal for discipleship happening at every level, and in every event, in which the church is involved. Christ, in His parting words to His followers in the gospel of Matthew, laid out what many call The Great Commission. Christ said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit“. The call for the church and the apostles was to make disciples. Making a disciple can take many forms ranging from a formal Sunday school class to one-on-one meetings over a cup of coffee. The goal of discipleship is simple: help the person conform their thoughts, desires, and actions to the person of Christ. Living that out, and making that goal happen, is not as easy.
At Faith Church, there are a number of ways that you can get plugged in to a discipleship process. Myself, your service pastors, or anyone else on the Pastoral team is happy to help you with that. But here is what I want you to make sure that you have in your life: you must be a part of a formal discipleship process. Saying that you are just going to ‘grow yourself’ will never work. For example, if taking part in a Bible study does not fit in to your life schedule, don’t let that stop you from being in a Sunday class or, better yet, a one-on-one discipleship meeting. The point is, we want you to remember that Faith Church is all about discipleship, and you should be too!
Being around Faith Church for any amount of time you will quickly notice that we value reaching out into our community. Faith Church has invested millions in the construction and development of three community centers and the Hartford Hub. These investments are not about building large centers, but they are about having a platform to reach out and build relationships with our neighbors so that we can share the good news of Christ with them. Whether it is during the Sunday morning experience or being greeted by community center team members, our emphasis as a congregation is about evangelism and outreach to our unsaved neighbors.
Followers of Christ are all called to be involved somehow with evangelism. This will take different forms for different people. Some will be directly involved in sharing the gospel, while others will take different roles that are not as direct. But everyone who is associated with Christ should be involved in trying to spread the good news of his death, burial, and resurrection.
There is so much that happens not only in our church but in every church, and it would not be possible without the serving hearts of people. Serving is something that scripture calls all followers of Christ to do, and it is something that we can find joy in. However, for many of us, serving can at times be challenging because of our own selfish hearts, which are often focused on what is good for me and me alone. Serving gets the focus off of ourselves and on to others. Serving loves those who need help. Serving brings God glory.
Our congregation is a church that unashamedly asks everyone to serve, and to serve often. A fun analogy may be a comparison between the evangelical church and a Monday night football game. There’s 10 men on the field who are in need of rest, while there are 60,000+ fans in the stands who are in need of exercise. To the degree that this is true on the field, it should not be so true in the church.
There are all kinds of chances to serve, not just in our church but all over our community. Serving opportunities can be thought of as being inside 1 of 3 categories:
(1) regular serving that you do on a consistent basis (ex: Sunday morning children’s ministries)
(2) seasonal serving that is done on a calendar basis (ex: the Passion Play or Living Nativity)
(3) one-time serving events (ex: things that pop up sporadically, like meals for new parents or helping someone move)
A faithful follower of Christ will have a good mix of all three categories as they seek to live out the love for Him.
God blesses His children in a variety of ways. Some He gives natural talents like athletics, vocal abilities, or high intellect. Others receive a different set of gifts that may not shine through as naturally; things like hard work, patience, or even the ability to be a good friend. Whatever the gift may be, remember … what do we have that we did not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7) What is the reason that God gives good gifts to His children? There are two main reasons. First, because He loves to give good gifts (Matt 7:11) and second because He wants you to use your gifts to serve others and advance the Kingdom of God (1 Pe. 4:10). To that end, our body of believers is serious about meeting the spiritual, emotional, and even material needs of not only those who are in our congregation but also those in our community. God did not bless us because we were so great, He blesses His people because He loves them (Deut. 7:7ff) and because they are faithful servants (Matt. 25: 15). We are then to use those blessings, not for our comfort, but to serve others in love.
At every turn, there are plenty of opportunities inside our church family to use your time, talents, and treasures to fulfill this very purpose. In doing so, there is often a valuable lesson that is learned: far more joy comes from giving and serving than there is in getting. It may seem hard, but the investment is always well worth it. You may not know exactly how your investment will mature, nor is it the reason that you do it to begin with, but God does promise that your servant’s heart investment will reap a high return in the Kingdom.
The last core value that Faith Church has is that of Strengthening Others. This value is similar to our first core value in the sense that we want to grow in being a better disciple, but it is a little different. This value is about helping other churches and ministries grow in their ability to advance the cause of Christ in their community. This ministry takes a variety of forms, but some examples include things like the On The Road Training with the Counseling Ministry, or our International Missions Focus, or the Bible Seminary that we operate. These ministries are harder to dive into if you are newer at our church, but there are still ways to serve in them (such as helping with fundraising banquets).
Now that you have a working understanding of our Core Values and how they play out in our congregation, I hope that you have a better understanding of why our church does what it does (and/or maybe you also got an idea of where you could get more involved). There are so many ways that you can get involved, I couldn’t possibly list them all in just one post …but please know that, at Faith Church, you’re going to get a buffet approach to serving… there’s a little bit of everything for everyone. So, no matter how you want and need to get involved here, we should have a place for you.
In the next posts for this series, we are going to focus specifically on the Core Values that shape and mold the Faith Church West campus.