By Elder Norman Fox
In this blog post, I will cover the first of the five elements of the Vision of Calvary Bible Church: Dependence.
Our vision at Calvary Bible Church is stated as:
Making Disciples Together - in our homes, in the church, among our neighbors, throughout the world.
The core values of a church are short statements that describe the identity of a church and the way the vision will be carried out. They are the key planks that make up the “platform” of the church. Core values define the culture and beliefs that are the distinctives of a church.
So we want to clearly state the values that 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.
Let’s look further at what the vision statement says about the first value of Dependence.
We will be a humble and prayerful congregation with a deepening dependence on God’s grace in Christ and directed by the Holy Spirit.
Dependence is agreeing with God that He is God and I am not. God is the creator of the universe and of me. God is sovereign in all things including my life. He is in control and I am not. My eternal life depends on God’s grace alone. My daily life depends on God’s grace alone. As the Five Solas of the Reformation state: Truth in Scripture alone, by God’s grace alone, in Christ alone, through faith alone for God’s glory alone.
Movement to greater dependence on God starts with the heart (being) and moves into behavior (doing).
Here are some of my favorite verses that draw my heart to dependence on God.
- I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
- In Him we live and breathe and have our being. Acts 17:28
Doing: What Does Dependence Look Like?
Back in September, we moved into our new house, I started a Masters program at UWO, and I started in the position of Interim Associate Pastor of Missions/Evangelism. Any one of these can can be overwhelming to me. My struggle to depend on God shows up in my tendency to panic and be anxious and be paralyzed in what to do next.
But God is gracious, he is bigger than me, and He is in control of all things. I can tell myself these things that I know are true, but my feelings can still run amok. But when I look in Scripture, I see God’s character—He is good, loving, and gracious. Dependence is about choosing to TRUST God over choosing to FEAR, even when my feelings shout differently.
Another way I can stuggle to depend on God is to think, “I can do 80% of what needs to be done, but God, I really need your help for the last 20%.” This is depending on me, not on God. When I study the Scriptures (like the ones above), I see my weakness and God's strength and it becomes easier to not depend on myself but to depend on God. I realize I have nothing, but God has it all.
In dependence, I say, “Yes, I will do all that I can humanly do in taking care of the house, in studying for class, and in doing my new job well, but I depend 100% on God to lead and direct me through the Holy Spirit, depend100% on God for the ability to do act, and depend 100% on God for the results.”
In our next blog, we will look at the core value of surrender.
How about you? How do you depend on God in your life now? Do you see ways you can grow in your dependence on God?
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.
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.
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.