We believe God has given us a distinct vision of what it means to be a church:
Be a church as diverse as the city we serve.
We believe the church should be a reflection of the entire community, because Jesus loves the entire community. Even more, we believe the cross of Jesus destroys the dividing walls in every community.
Therefore we will work tirelessly to see every race, class, generation and gender of our community represented and reconciled in our church.
Be a church people who don't go to church love to attend.
We believe the church should remove every hurdle that stands between Jesus and those He wants to reach. Including the way we “do” church.
To say it another way, the church is not the mission- the church is established by God to accomplish the mission.
Therefore we place the preferences of those who have yet to follow Jesus ahead of our own.
Be a church that prospers the city.
We believe God not only gives us a command to prosper the city, but that the identity of our church is intrinsically tied to the city. We don’t want to just exist in our community, or even live peaceably with our community, we want to startle the community by the way we meet its needs.
Therefore we will be most-focused on the things most-needed in our community.
Be a church indispensable to the youth of our community.
When UCityNeeds.Me revealed that the youth of our community are the single-greatest concern on the hearts and minds of our community, when began to see one, nonnegotiable reality:
To be a church that prospers this city, we must place a premium on serving the youth of this city.
Therefore we will strive to be the place-of-choice for youth in our community to discover and live out God’s plans for their lives.
1 Tim. 4:12
Be a church planting church.
More churches reach more people.
New churches reach new people.
Different churches reach different people.
The research overwhelmingly shows that starting new churches is the single most-effective way of helping new people follow Jesus.
Therefore, we will optimize our church to plant planting churches.
Do whatever it takes so as many as possible can see Jesus.
When we embrace and live out our mission and vision, we believe in 5 years we will:
Launch our 1st planting church in the greater St. Louis area.
Celebrate our 100th adult baptized as a follower of Jesus.
Worship as 1,000 diverse people for a weekend worship service.
Donate 10,000 hours of service to our city in a single, community-wide service event.
We believe someone like you followed Jesus.
It might sound presumptuous to say so, but think about it- Thousands upon thousands of diverse people crowded around Jesus as He walked from town to town.
Crowds of rich and poor. Young and old. The in-crowd and outcasts. Religious and irreligious. Those convinced about who He is and those unconvinced. Thousands of people all following the most profound and remarkable person they had ever encountered.
So chances are, in that crowd, was someone like you who followed Jesus.
And we’re starting a church because we want to help you ask one simple question: Why?
You may not have the best response when you hear the word church, but it’s probably a bit different than we intend. Because we’re not talking about a building. Or even a religion. We’re talking about the image of a diverse group of people following a person named Jesus and reacting to what He does and says.
Someone like you.
God is a really big concept. So it’s probably best to start with something called the Apostle’s Creed, which are words followers of Jesus have been using since about 390 A.D. to summarize what they believe about God:
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Real simple, we believe mercy is NOT giving someone what they DO deserve, while grace is giving someone what they DO NOT deserve. Hopefully that didn’t sound too wordy, because we think it’s core to considering Jesus.
Mercy – NOT giving someone what they DO deserve.
Grace – giving someone what they DO NOT deserve.
Jesus taught that He was God’s ultimate act of mercy and grace- that God wouldn’t give us [mercy] the punishment our sins do deserve because He would die on the cross on our behalf. Even more, that God would give us [grace] the eternal life we don’t deserve because He would rise from the grave.
In 1517, a revolutionary named Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation, which basically centered around these mysterious and profound concepts of mercy and grace. Luther suddenly realized there was nothing we could do for God to earn God’s mercy or grace. In fact, to do so would make it no longer mercy or grace, and Jesus’ death and resurrection would be, well, trivial.
Much to Luther’s chagrin, those who agreed with his ideas started calling themselves Lutherans. We also follow Luther’s teachings on mercy and grace, not because we follow Luther, but because we think Luther helps us follow Jesus.
We believe baptism is God’s promise to do something for you.
To explain how, we should start by explaining that the word baptize simply means to wash. Like, to wash the dishes or to wash your hands. So there’s nothing magical about the word; it’s just an ordinary word. There’s also nothing magical about the water; it’s just ordinary water.
But the promises and commands Jesus attaches to baptism are anything but ordinary.
Jesus promised that baptism is being “reborn of the spirit” (Jn. 3:4-6), an entrance into your new life. Jesus also described it as a mark of His followers with the promise that, “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16).
Early Christians talked about baptism with a lot of different images. They talked about baptism as a promise of entrance into the Church (1 Cor. 12:3). Or the promise of entrance into the family of God (Gal. 3:26-27). They saw your baptism as a promise to be buried with Jesus into His death so you could rise with Jesus in His life (Rom 6:4). Another early church leader declared baptism now saves you, with the promise of a clean conscience before God (1 Pet. 3:20-22).
These promises are why we think baptism isn’t so much what we do for God, but something that God does for us. In fact, on the day the Church started, 3,000 new followers of Jesus were baptized immediately because “the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off” (Acts 2:38-40).
With such great promises attached to baptism, it makes sense that Jesus would urge His Church to, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19). So we talk about baptism a lot because we take Jesus’ baptism promises and Jesus’ baptism commands to heart.
If you have yet to be baptized, or if you have more questions about baptism, please contact us.