1. Christ Centered
Jesus is the Head of the Church, His body. It is not our church, but His (Ephesians 1:22-23). He is the one who bestows and superintends the light in a local congregation (Revelation 1:13; 2:1, 5). All things should be done to please Him (II Corinthians 5:9) and in sustained reliance upon Him (John 15:1-5).
2. Word Centered
The Scriptures are the ultimate authority for all that is taught concerning the proper worship of God and for Christ-like living in our daily lives (II Timothy 3:16). The motive of our instruction is love (I Timothy 1:5) and our aim is to produce mature believers (Colossians 1:28). Teaching the doctrines of Scripture is not only to provide information, but information that results in the transformation of thought (Romans 12:1-2) and conduct, “not only hearers but doers of the Word” (James 1:22). Such teaching should produce a multiplication, i.e., as the truth is imparted to faithful believers they will in turn pass it on to others (II Timothy 2:2).
3. A Spirit Empowered and Directed Ministry
The same God who calls us to minister also enables us for ministry that is supernatural in its inception and results. The ministry of the church is not the mere byproduct of human ingenuity or what people can manufacture in their own power (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 1:19). We are not to make our plans and seek God’s blessing afterward. Rather, we are to first seek wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit for the church’s ministries (Galatians 5:25; James 1:5).
4. A Shared Ministry
All believers are to be encouraged to discover and employ their spiritual gift(s) for the building up of the Body and to the glory of God (Ephesians 4:15-16). Believers should be exhorted to be participants in the life of the local body and not merely spectators. Paid staff is not to shoulder alone the “doing” of ministry but are to serve as facilitators to train, equip, and involve people in the church’s ministry.
People should always be a priority over programs. Programs are useful, but only to the extent they supply the means to effectively nurture people and mobilize them for service. The church is first and foremost an organism, not merely an organization. The analogies in the New Testament for the church portray a “living organism” (John 15, I Corinthians 3:7-9, I Corinthians 12:1-20, I Peter 2:4-5).
5. A Community of Authentic Relationships
There are multiple “one another” passages in the New Testament that depict Christians as family members who are devoted to each other and are honestly and lovingly involved in each other’s lives (Romans 12:9-18 ; I Corinthians 12:22-27).
6. Kingdom Minded
We are to earnestly embrace the Mission Mandate given by Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).
We fulfill this charge by proclaiming the gospel, making disciples, and forming indigenous, self-supporting, self-governing, and self-reproducing congregations of believers in addition to relating to the whole need of mankind, spiritual and physical.
We are to capitalize on our strategic location in a university city to raise up pastors and missionaries and for the planting of churches in our state and beyond.
7. A Culture of Grace and Liberty
Where the Bible is clear in promoting or prohibiting particular beliefs and behaviors, the church should do so as well. But, in areas not addressed in Scripture or where an issue appears “grey,” we should exercise grace with one another and uphold Biblical liberty with an attitude of love and concern for our fellow believer’s wellbeing (Romans 14). Legalism is suffocating to a healthy understanding of freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1).
8. Led by People Whose Character Aligns with the New Testament Qualifications
I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 provide a fairly comprehensive list of character requirements for those who lead in the church’s ministry. These qualifications should not be ignored, minimized, or watered down for the sake of expedience. These character traits should be demonstratively true of spiritual leaders.