What Kind of Church Are We?

Kingdom Minded

Jesus taught us to pray… “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:10 (ESV)

Being kingdom-minded means that we’re all about God’s kingdom, not our kingdom.

We’re more about the “Capital C” church (Christ’s church) than our church.

And Jesus prayed, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:23b (NIV)

We believe that unity among Christians is important to God. It signals to the world that Jesus is sent by God because He loves them.

What that means practically is this:

  • We love other Christians and other churches in our city, even if they have some different beliefs and practices than us.
  • They are not our competition.
  • It means when we build a school in Pakistan, it doesn’t have to have the Heritage name on it to make us look good.
  • It means we work for unity in our city and we do things together.

A Heart For the Poor & The Nations

When the Apostle Paul gave a report to the elders of the church in Jerusalem about his missionary travels, here’s what they said: “they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” -Galatians 2:10 (ESV)

Remember the poor.

We are a people of compassion and we help those in need. And the greatest need in the nations is for the gospel, and so we are a missions church.

We are intentional about finishing the task of reaching all people groups in the world with the gospel.

What does this mean for us practically?

  • We give away the first 15% of all of our offerings to missions and to the poor.
  • We don’t hate the homeless in our city, but rather we love them and help lift people out of their poverty. We serve them lunch every Sunday down by the Boys and Girls Club.
  • We ask every Community Group in our church to do at least one outreach in the community per quarter.

A Church of the Word & Spirit

Churches around here tend to come from one of two traditions – evangelical or Pentecostal.

Evangelical churches emphasize the teaching of God’s word.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  – 2nd Timothy 3:16-17

But sometimes evangelical churches can neglect the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”

Pentecostals tend to emphasize the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and be weak in the teaching of the Bible.

Our quest is this: to embrace both – 100% of each. We’re deep into God’s Word. AND, we go after the things of the Holy Spirit. Not just theologically, but in practice as well.

What this means for us practically:

  • We teach the Bible diligently.
  • We encourage all Christians in the Biblical experience called the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”.
  • We believe all Spiritual gifts are active in the Church today.
  • God still uses us to do miracles.
  • God still speaks today through His Spirit, so we listen and respond to His promptings.

Growing But Staying Small

The natural order of life is that healthy things grow. And, it’s also natural that mature organisms reproduce. And so it is in the church. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” – Matthew 28:19

We are called by God to multiply disciples and grow in size. But, it’s NOT our desire to become a mega-church.

For a variety of reasons, churches over about 500 adults become less effective at their mission. So as we grow in size, we stay small by multiplication. We start new groups and new churches.

What this means for us practically:

  • We should be sharing our faith and bringing along others to follow Christ.
  • Our Community Groups should be multiplying and starting new groups.
  • At about 15-20 people, a group should send out some members to form a new group.

Doers of the Word

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22 (ESV)

It is our core belief that if you are a Christian, that it will be evident by how you live your life.

Words are cheap, but your actions will show what you really believe. And your Christianity should be lived out in your day-to-day life. And the result is that together we change the spiritual climate in our city. The Hebrew way of thinking says that you believe something to the extent that you live it.

You say you’re a follower of Jesus. Do you live like it? Your actions will show the world what you really believe. Faith in action changes the world around us.

What this means practically for us:

  • When we teach the Bible, we always emphasize the practical application in your life.
  • You don’t live one way at church on Sunday mornings, but you’re a different person at home.
  • You run your business with Jesus as the cornerstone.
  • If you’re an employee, then you should work as if you’re working for Jesus himself.
  • You’re not ashamed to talk with people about being a Christian, about Jesus.
  • When you go to the polls, you vote first as a Christian, then as an American or Republican or whatever.
  • We are a people of action.

Our Generational Vision

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD…. He decreed statutes …which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God.” -Psalm 78:4b-7

About the year 1010 B.C., David became king of the nation of Israel. He followed God and the nation prospered and Israel’s borders expanded. After 40 years, David’s son, Solomon became king. He was a pretty good king, also following God, and under his rule the nation became vastly wealthy and he built an amazing temple in Jerusalem. After Solomon, his son Rehoboam became king and he didn’t honor God. Israel became divided, Jerusalem was sacked, the temple was plundered.

In less than one generation the splendor of Israel was gone. I believe when we step back and look at our church and our lives from say, a 1,000 year perspective, perhaps the most important thing we can do is pass our faith and leadership on to the next generation.

What this means practically:

  • We keep kids in the service with us during worship, so that the whole family can worship together. Several studies have shown that kids that grow up staying in the worship service with their parents have a higher likelihood of following Christ as an adult than kids that are only involved in kids programs.
  • We involve kids in what we do.
  • Our Children’s Ministry is not about baby-sitting. It’s about discipling children and the Children’s Ministry workers are amazing.
  • We make room for young worship leaders to lead.
  • We have classes to equip parents and strengthen families.
  • Most of our events will be family oriented so kids can build relationships with adults. Why? Because kids that grow up to follow Christ as adults need a minimum of 5 adults friends or mentors.

That’s our generational vision.

A Relational Church

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

What Jesus said is that the most distinguishing characteristic of Christians is their relationships with each other.

The single most prominent identifying factor in our lives should be the quality of our relationships within the church. So Heritage Christian Fellowship was started with this in mind, to help people go deeper in relationships.

What this means practically for us as a church:

The kind of relationship that Jesus is talking about doesn’t happen by just coming to church on Sundays. It requires much more intentional time and effort, and that is why we have small groups. We’d like to see everyone involved in a small group – Whether it’s the Women’s Bible Study, a Community Group, a discipleship group, or whatever. A small Christ-centered group of friends.

Here’s what we think a loving relationship look like.

  • We meet together frequently, not just on Sundays.
  • We are transparent and vulnerable with each other – willing to open up and share our weaknesses, knowing that we’re all hurting and in need.
  • We’re accountable to each other and help each other GROW.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” – 1 John 3:16

Loving means sacrificing yourself for the sake of others.

It’s more than saying, “I’ll pray for you.” And when we create this kind of culture, church will be as close to heaven as you’ll get on earth. And, others will see it and be drawn to God by it. All of this happens in small groups.

Calling People Deeper In God

“Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.” – Hebrews 6:1 (NIV)

Go on, go deeper to maturity in God – this is our calling. And this is a problem facing the church in America. Many churches are so eager to attract people and grow, that they aren’t calling people deeper in God.

What this means for us practically:

  • We’re going to encourage you to constantly grow in your faith and take next steps.
  • We’re going to fight apathy, complacency and spiritual laziness.
  • We have high expectations of what it means to follow Christ.
  • It’s up to each of us to spur one another on to love and good deeds.
  • We’re going to teach the hard stuff in the Bible, even if it’s politically incorrect or offends people.

Go deeper with God – for one very important reason – God is worthy of your deepest devotion.

He is your good, good Father and He loves you.

Don’t give God your partial obedience and your leftovers.

Give Him your all.