Our Church Culture

Our Church Culture

We live in a context where the wider community does not always share our basic Christian beliefs and values. We have many friends, family-members, and co-workers who are either suspicious or apathetic towards the truth-claims of the Gospel. Culturally speaking, we are increasingly marginalized in the media, politics, and educational academy. We love the North Shore and invest our lives in it, but we’re not defined by the cultural values around us. As we seek to take part in a Gospel Movement on the North Shore we need to align our church culture with the missionary call of God; namely:

We want to be a vibrant, welcoming community. We desire to be people characterized by deep love, acceptance, and the mercy of God. God’s grace makes us want to open our lives and show hospitality to all types people – even those we disagree with morally or spiritually. Because we’re forgiven by grace alone, we can be merciful to one another, transparent about our sin, and quick to seek and grant forgiveness. We can open up our homes and use our “table” as a place of welcome. We worship and serve with a diverse group of people; united by a common experience of God’s costly-grace.

We want to be growing individually. We want to align everything in our life – work, family, ministry, friendships, etc. – to the implications of the Gospel. The death and resurrection of Christ changes everything. We want to be continually growing in the application of God’s Word to our everyday lives. To this end, we commit ourselves to gathered worship, serving together, small groups, Christian education, regular times of prayer, reading the Bible, and other spiritual practices.

We want to value and mobilize the organic church. Beyond the programs and services of the institutional church, the organic church impacts lives through independent actions of individual Christians. Gospel movements are grass-roots, vision-driven and decentralized – every believer freely uses his or her gifts and resources as the needs arise. The institutional church creates structures (pastors, church officers, programs, services, etc.) to support and encourage the growth of the organic church. The more the Gospel impacts our hearts, the more we reach out to others who are struggling spiritually, socially, and physically as they seek to live in a fallen world. This living expression of the Gospel makes our communities stronger and provides a place for everyone.

We want to communicate the Gospel well. As we experience the joy of being awakened by the Gospel in our own lives, we long for others to be transformed by the Gospel. As we share life with our family, friends, and neighbors, we are learning about their greatest fears, hopes, failures, dreams, and challenges. Through discipleship, we are learning how to better share the Good News in a way that connects the Gospel to these everyday life situations. As we develop relationships with those who are skeptical about or unconvinced by the truth of the Gospel, we desire to grow in knowledge and experience of the Gospel so that we will always be ready to effectively share the reason for the hope we have in Christ.

We want to be positive about the area in which we live. The North Shore of Boston is beautiful and has a unique culture. We seek to celebrate the positive aspects of our culture and we work towards the common good of our broader community. Remembering that we daily experience the grace and forgiveness of God, we are willing to challenge the elements of our culture that dishonor God, while at the same time extending grace to those in our community. We desire to relate the Gospel to the needs and questions of those around us, seeking to model our lives after Christ, who reaches out to all people.

We want to be involved with other Gospel-centered churches. Many churches in our area are centered on the person and work of Christ and committed to biblical authority. We seek to proclaim the Gospel to the people of the North Shore by working side by side with these churches. Although churches may differ on secondary issues like church government, end-time views, expressions of spiritual gifts, etc., rather than being tribalistic and competitive, we desire to be on mission together to bring the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ to our neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers.

Our Values

Our values describe the principles that shape us:

God-Honoring Worship

Our triune God is the focus of our worship, the source of our power, and the One for whom we live. Worship is structured around a God-centered theme. The theme approach increases the importance of each part of the service and helps us to be more intentional about what we do. Our worship as believers is participatory and multi-sensory. We are committed to excellence and to an intergenerational, blended worship experience.

Word-Driven Teaching

We are committed to a strong teaching-preaching ministry, which recognizes the Bible as our authority for all of life. We believe that the worship of God by believers and biblically based messages that focus on life change can influence seekers to respond to the gospel, while contributing to the spiritual growth of believers.

Grace-Filled

We are a church marked by grace, not legalism; a church which encourages healing in relationships and reconciliation; a church characterized by forgiveness, love, and acceptance; a church where people are encouraged to ask questions, admit fears, acknowledge temptations and talk about where life hurts.

Ministry-Oriented

The discovery, development and use of our God-given design for ministry, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, honors God and feeds a growing passion to love and follow Jesus Christ. Therefore, we seek to develop all ministries based on people’s God-given ministry shape, including their spiritual gifts, heart for ministry, abilities, personality and life experiences. We seek to develop leaders based on people’s abilities and callings, while also providing opportunities for everyone to develop their gifts and talents.

Disciple-Making

We are committed to a model of ministry which emphasizes biblical instruction, prayer, dependence upon the Holy Spirit and relational connections in order to become more like Jesus in our character and conduct: celebration (where we worship in large gatherings); community discipleship opportunities (such as classes for children, students and adults) where interaction and nurture are stressed; and small groups for growth, fellowship, worship, ministry and outreach. This model forms the structure by which we believe people best minister to one another and grow in Christ.

Kingdom-Minded

We are called simultaneously to serve our neighbors and local communities, while also serving people from different cultures and countries in order to advance God’s rule and kingdom in people’s lives. We seek to extend God’s kingdom through a variety of local and global evangelistic efforts, by promoting social concern and justice, sending out ministry teams, and supporting organizations and career missionaries in keeping with the beliefs, vision, purposes and values of our church.