We will be a place where truth and grace are lived out through intimate community in ways that honor God and lead to our flourishing.
We will seek wisdom to maximize our stewardship and leadership influence aligning with Jesus’ character and mandates.
Expanded Vision in 4 Statements
A Vision to Be Theologically Biblical
With the ongoing explosion of information in our culture today, we will remain steadfast in giving ourselves primarily to the study and practice of Holy Scripture believing that Scripture alone is sufficient for all life and godliness. This is not to devalue any specialized, or advanced learning outside of Scripture, but we do want to keep our flame for what is best (Scripture) continually stirred up.
We trust in the authority, inerrancy, clarity, necessity and sufficiency of Scripture. We believe in Jesus Christ as God’s only Son, virgin born, crucified, raised to life, and coming again in judgment and glory. We recognize the importance of being fully integrated followers of Jesus, having:
- Informed Minds - truth matters,
- Engaged Emotions - goodness and beauty have value, and
- Yielded Wills - we must die to ourselves in order to live for Christ, and be filled with The Holy Spirit.
We identify with the major tenants of the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1646. We believe doctrine and conviction are important and we identify with the Reformed tradition of Christianity. We also believe too much is often made in western Christianity of labeling and narrow identification and association. Therefore we intentionally make much of Christ and his Church at large throughout the world displayed across the range of denominational convictions. More than our unique understanding of Him, we seek to champion our shared convictions on essential truth across denominational distinctives, and build bridges that unite congregations and denominations in like-minded celebration and service.
We will remain a confessional confirming church, and encourage our members to study the Westminster Catechism in their homes and with their families. Our Elders will remain true to the Westminster Confession of Faith believing there is stability in firm conviction and a great benefit to others within the community of knowing where the center is. We will remain charitable with those within the community who do not hold fast to all aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith, respecting that each person should wrestle with theological distinctions and form their own convictions. It’s not unusual for people to change views in these more minor areas of Christian doctrine at different stages of life depending upon their understanding of Scripture, the influence of others, and personal experiences.
Concerning the roles of men and women in the church we hold a complementarian view. In our culture today people are more and more perplexed and preoccupied with gender and gender roles. We need to look to the Scripture for grounding and truth. As we examine scripture, we believe the complementarian ideals best align with God’s revelation as to the way he created us and desires us to function. We believe the following resources to be excellent help in understanding this complex issue:
- The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (https://cbmw.org/about/statement-of-faith/)
- The Danvers Statement of 1987 (https://cbmw.org/uncategorized/the-danvers-statement/)
- The Nashville Statement of 2017 (https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement)
- Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem
A Vision for True Community
Recognizing God’s revealed truth showing the richest and most glorious goodness this side of heaven is to be found within healthy covenant community, we desire to see God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven through deep, meaningful, transformative relationships.
We take a high view of membership because of our understanding of God’s design of covenant community, while we consistently welcome all people.
We will be a true community in the sense that each person will feel a sense of belonging in, and importance to our fellowship. This sense of belonging will be coupled with a sense of responsibility to contribute meaningfully to others within the covenant community.
Small group involvement will be a hallmark of our community because we believe personal transformation happens when appropriate intimacy grows in relationships through vulnerability, authenticity, and transparency. This level of relational intimacy can only be fostered in smaller groups that meet regularly.
When every person of any race, religion, socio-economic situation, or varied background comes into our midst they will sense a warm and generous hospitality. We long to be in heaven worshipping with brothers and sisters from every tribe, tongue, language and nation, and we will celebrate the unique customs and cultural elements of others who are not just like us.
We will endeavor to be a discerning community, taking time to value one another’s perspectives, recognizing that when decisions are made in a vacuum they are not the best decisions for the community. We want to always do the right thing, and beyond that, to then do the best and most strategic thing. This means we will constantly re-evaluate our activities and priorities and realign our efforts whenever we sense we are not aiming correctly.
We will be a community that values the aged, the middle age, the young adult, the adolescent, the child, the single, and the married. We will demonstrate how much we value each person from every generation, at every stage of life by intentionally keeping most of our gatherings generationally integrated. We will foster the interaction of younger and older generations with a spirit of mutual affection, respect, appreciation, and desire for a dignified interdependence where we each constantly learn from one another.
We highly value intergenerational relationships and we intentionally structure church life with this principle in mind. Programs will spring out of relationship rather than programs being central to church life. Programs can come and go, while relationships will remain central.
We will be a safe community. We are very aware of the potential abuses of power, influence, and proximity. We renounce all psychological manipulation and recognize it as abuse, and we grieve the reality of sexual abuse that occurs in churches. We will do everything possible to safeguard our community against the potential for any manipulative relationships and sexual misconduct.
We will uphold high standards of integrity. We will be an accountable community. Elders will remain humble and teachable. Elders will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. There will be mutual accountability with full transparency.
We will be a serving community- a place where we serve one another, and where we serve others outside our fellowship alongside one another.
We will be a sacrificial community recognizing we do not exist for our own peace and prosperity, but rather to be ambassadors for Christ, touching our community and the world with the good news of Jesus in word and deed.
A Vision of Strategic Stewardship
We don’t own anything, but all we have been given we want to manage in the most effective and efficient way possible that God might be pleased with our stewardship of his resources.
We believe God wants us to be a giving church. We identify more with the movement of God’s kingdom than we do as a church organization maintaining our status.
While we are grateful for churches that employ a full-time pastor, and we value this model of a local church for many reasons, we feel specifically called to champion the unique benefits and biblical alignment of an Elder led congregation where the Elders are bi-vocational and receive no compensation for their service (read Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch for details on our Elder led vision). Because the Elders receive no compensation, the fellowship can be more assured that the Elders serve out of love and calling without the potentially conflicting motive of monetary gain. In addition, because the church pays no salaries, the tithes and offerings can be administrated more directly into kingdom work.
Hope Community was founded without debt. Hope Community remains committed to sustaining ministry without incurring debt. The church property was purchased and renovated without debt, and the church has no mortgage. Without debt, the tithes and offerings can be administered more directly into kingdom work.
While we view our denominationally unaffiliated status as a blessing, we also appreciate the high value of ministry partnerships in being as strategic as possible, and we will seek out ministry partnerships whenever it makes sense.
We are all sent to where we are! We must be a relevant light and blessing to our community, embodying grace and truth.
We take Jesus seriously when he commanded his disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matt 9:38 & Luke 10:2). We also recognize, those who pray that prayer are often the ones sent. We share a burden for the unreached people groups of the world. We also prayerfully wait upon the Lord for leading us to send out someone from among us as a missionary, and we endeavor to pledge his/her full support. This will lead us to say no to some good things in order to say yes to what we discern God is calling us to as best.
With the understanding that the vast majority of North American missions giving goes to places where the gospel is readily available, we will endeavor to give primarily to endeavors that take the gospel to places where fewer people have contact with the gospel.
With an intimate knowledge of various denominational missionary sending agencies, and a summary feeling that North American missionaries sent to cross-cultural contexts today are largely ineffective, we want to be most strategic by investing money with national leaders in geographies that most need the gospel.
We desire to build bridges of love with a sister congregation from the 10/40 window, and we will likely link with a church in Iraq during 2019.
A Vision to Grow and Effect Growth
We believe in the transformative power of the gospel, and we are deeply grieved by the thought that someone could grow up in church, and be part of a church their whole life without truly becoming a disciple of Jesus. Jesus calls each of us to be His disciple, which means fully identifying with him, and training ourselves to obey Him fully in heart, mind, and will. We will continually experience repentance, renewal, reformation, and transformation corporately and individually.
Good leaders never stop growing, and our Elders will continue to demonstrate a passion and humility to continually pursue personal growth, learning, development, and transformation. Our Elders are committed to growth because it’s God’s design for our lives and important for our sanctification.
We believe each person has a unique calling by God. To understand God’s specific call on our life takes not only personal discernment and wisdom, but also the willingness to listen to the discernment and wisdom of others within community. God’s calling often comes through people who know us and believe in us, who call us out and challenge us. We seek to foster growth in wisdom and winsomeness as individuals step up to explore God's call on their lives, and we will prayerfully and boldly call others to lead as God directs.
While the Elders commit to ongoing engagement in being mentored and mentoring others, our community will flourish when every member also engages in being mentored and mentoring others at every stage of life.
Training for godliness never ends. Growth never happens by accident. Growth occurs with planning, goal setting, discipline, and habit formation. Regular engagement with various spiritual disciplines is important for all of our training in godliness. These spiritual disciplines are not to be confused with our acceptance as God’s children, receiving100% forgiveness, being fully accepted, being totally completed, and being fully pleasing to him by his grace alone. But spiritual disciplines are important in experiencing the transformation of putting off the old life, and putting on the new, and experiencing ever-increasing obedience when continually faced with temptation.
We desire to welcome additional Elders as God brings them, provided they are aligned with the vision, mission, and values of Hope Community, and we eagerly desire to train younger men to become Elders.
We recognize God’s design for growth also extends to reproduction and multiplication. Therefore we expect to grow and multiply as we obey God and follow his ways. We will foster growth and constantly identify and remove barriers to growth. We anticipate the pains of childbirth if God delights to grow our membership. If/when we reach a point of 150+/- regular attenders with elders trained to lead, we will intentionally send out a new congregation from among us. We will rejoice when the birth of a daughter congregation occurs.
We are also intrigued by the kingdom building fruit of Community Church Planting (htttps://www.ccp.international). We will explore the possibility of fostering a reproducing house church movement in the North American context.