We desire to be a biblically healthy church whose life (anchored by the past, engaged in the present and oriented toward the future) and ministry (upward in worship; inward in fellowship and discipleship; and outward in mercy, evangelism and missions) are guided and governed by the teaching of the Bible.
We believe worship is the primary reason for which we were created. To delight in God, to praise him for his greatness and his goodness, to express our love and gratitude to him: these are activities which give meaning and purpose to our lives, as well as making our lives deeply satisfying and rewarding. In one sense we are always worshipping God, as we seek to honor him and delight in him in everything that we do (e.g. work, rest, play, etc.). But when we talk about the worship of the church, we normally have in mind those services in which we gather together as a community of faith for the purpose of corporate worship.
Such services, we believe, consist essentially of a meeting between God and his people, who come together to worship because of their common faith in Jesus Christ. In these meetings God "speaks" to us through the reading and preaching of his written Word, the Bible, and through the visible words or signs of the sacraments. In turn, we respond to God by listening, praying, singing, and confessing our sins and our faith together. Not only do we believe that God delights in our worship when he meets with us in this way, but we also believe that he works in us by his Holy Spirit, as we worship, to strengthen our faith, our understanding, and our assurance of his love for us in Christ.
We believe that by faith, created by the working of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God, a person is brought into a living and personal relationship with the crucified and risen Lord, Jesus Christ. In this relationship to Christ a Christian enjoys all the benefits and responsibilities of salvation. But every other Christian also enjoys this same relationship to Jesus Christ. Thus, according to the Bible, a special relationship also exists between Christians themselves. Christians are related to Christ himself, and in Christ they are related to one another. The notion of an isolated Christian living apart from other Christians is never entertained in Scripture. This relationship among Christians is often called "fellowship" in the Bible, and this personal fellowship among Christians, based on their common relationship to Jesus Christ, is what makes the church.
The fellowship we enjoy with other Christians brings with it certain responsibilities toward one another. Indeed, Jesus teaches that it is by our love for one another in the church that the world will be able to tell that we are his disciples. The reality of our relationship with each other in the church will reveal the reality of our relationship with Jesus. We cannot say we love Jesus, if in fact we do not love our brother and sister in Christ. This love that we are to show one another is described in many ways in the Bible. Because of the fellowship that exists among Christians in the church we worship and serve God together; we rejoice and weep with one another; we share each other's spiritual and material burdens; and we speak the truth in love to one another in order to encourage, instruct, and correct each other. As we do so, Christ is honored and we are built-up to maturity by our life together.
We believe that at least two things are necessary, practically speaking, if we are to maintain this fellowship and see it flourish in the church. First, each of us must be aware of the great privilege and responsibility it is simply to be in the presence of another Christian. We take this for granted far too often. Many Christians in the world cannot enjoy fellowship as easily as we can. Whenever we are together, whether formally or informally, planned or unplanned, we must see this meeting as an opportunity to be used by God in the life of another person. We must be willing to have God use this other person in our life as well. Second, we believe the history of the church has amply demonstrated the wisdom and benefit of Christians in the church meeting together in small groups to pray, to study God's Word, and to serve each other and the world together. Such small groups are themselves Christian communities within the larger church. They are in fact smaller expressions of the church in which worship, fellowship, growth, and outreach occur. These small groups are an essential part of our vision for the spiritual health of our congregation and its ministry to the Northern Kentucky region.
Jesus did not commission his church simply to make converts to the faith, but rather to make disciples: disciples who follow him, growing in both knowledge and love, and the ability to serve him well in the world. The primary way in which God causes us to grow to maturity as Jesus' disciples is by his Spirit using the Word of God to change our thoughts and desires, and thus our behavior. Again and again we read in the Bible that it is through hearing the Word of God that we come to faith in Jesus Christ, and grow in the faith to become more like Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, we live in an increasingly mindless, entertainment oriented age that has little real interest in the truth. We recognize that, as the church, we are not unaffected by the culture in which we live. Knowledge of God's Word both inside and outside the church is low. Few of us have the self-discipline in the midst of our hectic, overscheduled lives to read or study the Bible regularly. Robust Bible preaching and teaching is increasingly hard to find in the church. As a result, the church is spiritually weak, and generally not able to address the questions and concerns of the world around us in an intelligent and persuasive fashion. The biblical command to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2) has perhaps never been more relevant than at present.
For these reasons, we purpose as a church, by God's grace, to make the study of God's Word a central part of our life together. In our worship services we want to read, preach, sing, and pray God's Word. We intend to develop a carefully planned program of classes for the instruction in the faith of both children and adults. We also plan to sponsor conferences and workshops from time to time to address important aspects of God's Word and its application to our lives and the issues facing our world. Finally, we want to help each other as members of the church to read and study the Bible as individuals and families in order that we might be made more and more like Jesus through the truth of his Word.
To speak of "mission" is to ask the question, "Why are we here?" or "What is our purpose?" Not surprisingly, the mission of the church is given by the Lord of the church, Jesus Christ. Speaking to the apostles, his chosen representatives, and through them to the whole church, Jesus says, "As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you" (John 20:21). This foundational statement on the mission of the church teaches us two things. First, as the community that confesses Jesus as Lord, we are to continue the work which he began on earth. To be more precise, Jesus himself is continuing his work through us. Second, we are to continue this work in the manner in which he began it. Jesus is our example. As he was sent into the world, so too we are now sent into the world.
What then is the work which Jesus began, and which he now continues through his church? Again Jesus tells us when he says, "Behold, I am making all things new" (Revelation 21:5). It is a work of renewal. Jesus has come to make right again all that has gone wrong with the world. First and foremost this means making things right again between us and God. This is the work that Jesus began. It is the work he continues to do through us. It is the mission of his church.
How then did Jesus begin this work? Jesus death on the cross for our sins, and his resurrection from the dead are the foundation of everything that he is doing. Obviously these works are unique to Jesus. We certainly do not repeat them. But during his life, Jesus did model for us the way in which the blessings of his unique, saving works as Savior and Lord are received by men and women. He showed us how the renewal he brings comes to this broken world. As he lived in the midst of the world, among broken and sinful people, he proclaimed the truth of God (especially the truth concerning himself), and he demonstrated the love of God by his actions. In this same manner, we continue the work which he began by proclaiming the truth of God in words, and demonstrating the love of God by our actions.