What is important about church? These six values are an effort to relate what really matters about church apart from style and culture. What does the Bible say? This is an effort to address these issues.
Faithful Followers of Christ
Paul told Timothy, “Watch your life and your doctrine closely” (1 Tim. 4:16). Just as we are to watch how we relate to others, we are to ensure that we stay faithful to the One who gave His life that we might be sons and daughters of God. This involves staying faithful to the historic tenets of the Christian church and communicating biblical truths to contemporary society in culturally relevant ways.
A Relational Fellowship
Jesus said, “All men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:35). The phrase “each other” or “one another” is used 98 times in the New Testament indicating that the way brothers and sisters in Christ relate to each other is highly important. While relationships within the body of Christ are critical, attention also must be given to how Jesus’ followers relate to those outside the church. Love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion and other methods of grace should mark how a believer relates to the church and the world.
A Multigenerational Congregation
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me” (Mt. 19:14). John wrote to children, fathers and young men (1 Jn. 2:12-14). The early church met in homes (Acts 2:46). All of these indicate that the early church included multiple ages. A healthy church has a mix of ages. While age-specific activities are enjoyable and appropriate, these should be within the context of a multigenerational church.
Using Transferrable and Reproducible
Strategies and Tools Jesus’ message to the church is to make disciples (Mt. 28:19). Rather than a chore, believers have the privilege of sharing their joyous life in Christ with others. It is the goal of every church and every Jesus-follower to make disciples who in turn make more disciples. Just as this cycle is to be repeated until Jesus returns, so individual churches (groups of Jesus followers) should reproduce themselves using simple strategies and tools that can be reproduced by subsequent generations of groups.
A Simple Structure/Organization
One of the great Protestant doctrines is the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:5). A simple, reproducible church is characterized by a minimum of structure and little hierarchy. Individual members are encouraged to discover, develop and utilize their spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church and the world while being accountable to the church to maintain the integrity of the church.
Paul tells us that every member of the body of Christ has a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:7, 11) and, while the gifts and roles are different, every member and his/her gift is important. He goes on to say that everyone has something to contribute when the church gathers (1 Cor. 14:26). Church and worship are not spectator sports. Every member is to be active and engaged with one another and with the Lord of the church.