This past Sunday, we continued to walk through a series on our 12 values. (You can find the full listing here.) Dictionary.com defines a value as ”A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.” Thinking in this vein, the values we have are an attempt to reflect our priorities, what’s important to us; and in addition, to reflect what we desire to become, what will characterize us a local body of Jesus followers.
We looked specifically at our “horizontal” values: those related to our life together in the church and in our community. In many ways, these values can be summarized by saying, we value relationships.
Local. We love West Chicago and Winfield and Wheaton, and Carol Stream and Bartlett and all the communities that we come from! We live here, work here, play here, and raise our families here. We are in our communities to serve and challenge them…to love our friends and neighbors with a distinctive worldview and passion for God in our hearts! We are here to bring the Gospel to bear in the every day, serving as the faithful presence of Christ.
Community. As the Gospel unites us to one another, we value community as the primary way God intends us to live together as his church. Because of that we place a high priority on our Community Groups, Discipleship Groups, and other personal relationships to be avenues of growth, care, and shared mission. There is now a “community” page on the blog – giving definition and listing groups.
Church. A church is a people, not a place or an institution, who have been redeemed by Jesus and sent into their context to reflect God as he really is. From beginning to end God’s aim is to glorify himself through his people, who he is calling out from all tribes, peoples and languages through the Gospel. We are a local expression of God’s people in our communities: a city on a hill; light in a dark place. This is an issue of honesty of witness, not perfection; not location; not history. We want to be the church – not just a church.