by Elder Norman Fox
Over the summer, the church elders are writing a series of blog to discuss our new church vision and share their thoughts on how it can energize our church family to engage in building God’s kingdom.
In this blog, I want to outline the core values of our vision. But first, I want to review our church vision, tackle a few questions we’ve had to think about in regards to it, and talk about how core values bring shape and definition to the vision.
Our vision is clearly stated as:
Making Disciples Together - in our homes, in the church, among our neighbors, throughout the world.
The Same Vision for Every Church?
On one hand, every church in the world has the same biblical vision and is fueled by the same motivation.
That shared vision is commonly called The Great Commission. It is summarized as “go … make disciples of all nations” and is found in Matthew 28:18-20:
- And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The motivational fuel is commonly called The Great Commandment. It is summarized as loving God and others and is found in Matthew 18:37-40:
- And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Without these two, The Great Commission and The Great Commandment, the church of Jesus Christ would be without the pathway to fulfill its purpose to glorify God. The church would be a cultural institution that bends to the purposes and motivations of the world rather than that of God. This is also true on a personal level for you and me. Without these two, The Great Commission and The Great Commandment, you and I would be without the pathway to fulfill our purpose to glorify God.
So, we who claim the name of Christ around the world have a common vision that is fueled by a common motivation.
Why So Many Different Churches?
On the other hand, there are so many different churches with different expressions around the world and indeed in our neighborhoods. Why is that? If we are all part of the global body of Christ, why are there so many churches in the world and why are they different? Well, there are many historical human reasons for the various splits and multiplications of churches driven by the sinful nature of men. BUT, there are also many biblical reasons for differences in churches that authentically seek to glorify God and rightly divide the word of truth (scripture) to protect the name of Jesus Christ and His bride, the Church.
God has called all churches for His common purpose to glorify Him through the Great Commission fueled by the Great Commandment. But consider that He has also called various churches to reach various peoples in our communities and around the world. So, the “what” and the “why” should be the same among churches, but the “how” may be different as God has called various churches to various peoples. Our church vision and values are “how” we think God is calling Calvary Bible Church to carry out the Great Commission and Great Commandment.
So with this in mind, let’s look at the core values of Calvary:
What Are Core Values of a Church?
Core values are short statements that define the identity of a church. They are the key planks that make up the platform of the church. They are the culture and beliefs that are the distinctives of a church.
So What Are The Core Values of Calvary?
As vision team and the elders talked and prayer about the vision, we agreed on five core values that should define the identity of Calvary. These values are:
- Dependence – on God’s grace alone
- Surrender – in joyful obedience to God and His kingdom
- Christ-Centered Teaching – transformation through study and teaching of God’s word.
- Gospel Shaped Community – fostering redemptive relationships among believers
- Inter-generational Culture – unity across age groups for worship and service to the Lord.
In our next blog, I will take a deeper look at each of these five care values.
By Elder Dennis Prothero
Over the summer, we are planning a series of blogs to explain key components of the vision and show how they fit like puzzle pieces into a comprehensive and compelling vision for the next 10 years at Calvary Bible Church.
In the last blog, we defined a vision statement as:
A statement that gives us the ability to see the future that God intends us to walk into for the next season.
After much thought and prayer, we chose this vision statement for Calvary Bible Church:
Making Disciples Together—in our homes, in the church, among our neighbors, throughout the world.
This vision is intended to be a bridge between the present state of our church with our strengths and shortcomings, and where we would like to be in 10 years. To make this happen we need to paint a compelling picture that will generate a healthy frustration with the status quo and a desire to grow in the direction God is leading us. The end result should be tangible positive change.
Why this Vision?
Because this vision points to our greatest Jesus given mission—making disciples
What if we could see Jesus’ great commission, not as a command to obey, but as a dream job with infinite opportunity? What a joy to work alongside God’s Spirit building Christ’s kingdom for God’s glory through gospel transformed lives! What would Calvary Bible Church look like if each one of us would make His commission our life mission?
There are three spiritual shifts which must occur in each of us to make this happen.
- Christ as Life Planner, not just Savior
If my greatest joy is found in submitting to Jesus’ kingdom, I need to shift my thinking from simply being a receiver of salvation and a Jesus-admirer to becoming a whole-hearted Christ follower. A disciple is one who follows in the footsteps of his mentor and our mentor was focused on making disciples. I need to be willing to let God change my heart so much that I hunger to walk in Jesus’ footsteps more than anything else.
- From learning to preparing
Sermons, Sunday school classes, and bible studies are a strength of Calvary Bible Church. There is tremendous benefit in this kind of learning until it becomes a replacement for pursuing my calling to ministry. I am convinced that we should not view bible study as an end but as preparation for something even bigger—following Jesus in building His Kingdom.
- From consumer to ministry partner
It is easy to start viewing church the way we look at a grocery store. A grocery store is a separate entity designed to make money by servicing our need for food. The church is different. The church is not a separate entity. The church is us. If the church is to be making disciples, I need to make disciples. If the church fails to make disciples it is because I (and you) have not carried out the commission we have been given.
Because this vision deliberately injects Christ’s purpose for community
We have great community at Calvary through LifeStage classes, small groups, and other gatherings. We do community well, but this can be both a strength and a weakness. The best context for disciple-making is a dynamic community with intimacy, transparency and love, but community as an end to itself makes the church into a country club.
Real community is hard to achieve, but once it materializes, we have only just established the soil bed for the real work of making disciples. This vision challenges Calvary to make our strength, our strong community, purposeful.
Because this vision sets the context of our ministry as the entire world
We do a lot of disciple-making within the four walls of our church. We need to continue that ministry and find ways to do it better. But we cannot stop there. This vision challenges us to disciple-making as an every-day, everywhere pattern of life: To make our homes discipling centers. To befriend neighbors so they can see faith in action. To live out (and speak out) our faith in the marketplace. If Jesus wants to grow His heart in us, we need to ponder the heart revealed by the words: “God so loved the world.”
So how about you? What is your vision for a Christ centered, life-impacting existence? There is joy in the pursuing Jesus and building His Kingdom.
In our next blog, we will explore Calvary Bible Church’s values.
Here are three quotations to ponder.
“Vision begins with a holy discontent with the way things are.” John Stott
“The one indispensable requirement for producing godly, mature Christians is godly, mature Christians.” Kevin DeYoung
“Your current situation and workplace are your personal mission field. Why? Because you can reach people a church can't. You're on the front lines!” Jarrid Wilson
If you were at CBC this past January 15, you would have heard Pastor Danny unveil a church vision during the worship service. If you attended the May Congregational Meeting, you heard about some ministry goals that have been established for the 2017/18 ministry year. What you probably didn’t know was that church elders and ministry leaders had spent two years prayerfully developing that vision and laying out yearly goals to help us accomplish this vision.