What We Believe
Jesus is Our Center
Jesus declared himself to be way, the truth and the life. This is often communicated in divisive ways. It becomes the trump card for many Christians as a way to prove Christianity and disprove all other faiths. But when Jesus first said this, it was offensive to the covenant people of God – the Christians of their day. For Jesus to make this bold statement is for him to set aside every religion as incapable of giving or being the way, the truth and the life. It is with humility and great joy that we join with the countless number of other seekers who are pointing the arrow of their lives toward Jesus.
The Gospel Is Our Message
When one has stumbled upon the “pearl of great price”, it is most difficult not to let others know, so they too can rejoice with us and in some way benefit from it. The gospel is the story of God coming to earth through Jesus, living, dying, being physically resurrected, communicating in word and deed the good news that we can have a rich, meaningful connection to God, to others and even with ourselves.
The Bible is Our Book
We believe the Bible to be a living Word, comprised of the God-breathed voices of many who have come before us, and trustworthy for revealing God and his ways. We affirm the central truths of the historic Christian faith as expressed in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds, seeing ourselves in a long line of generations taking part in the endless conversation between God and people. The Bible is most effective when it is used not as a sword against others but as a sign that continues to point us toward a relationship with God.
Love Is Our Aim
Our understanding of God and the universe is that it is fundamentally relational. We are best when we love God and others regardless of race, class, age, faith or political persuasion. According to John, one of the New Testament authors, we love others from the motivation of having been loved by God.
Research Professor at Harvard, Harvey Cox refers to the age we now live in as 'the age of belief'. Going to Sunday School, or to a church service is often about taking in more information, or being convinced about some belief we should hold. This however, is quite different to the faith we are invited to have; one that is about doing more than knowing. Jesus invited his disciples to follow rather than to hold a set of beliefs about him.
Experience shouldn’t be incidental but a central part of faith, just as human relationships contain both a belief, and the experience of one another.
For Jesus, his true followers were those who could hear his voice (John 10). So we work on learning to understand the different ways God communicates to us which makes our faith experiential, and so much more real and helpful.
"Come as you are", is an old Vineyard saying that continues to capture our heart as a community. Diversity is not just a nice accessory but a critical component of doing faith. So, no matter how you dress, the color of your skin, your political party, how unreligious or religious you are, all are welcomed to join us in this journey of faith.
For us what makes church, church is not the building or the liturgy, but people gathering together to practice and celebrate their relationship with God.
We believe that our faith ought to be more than theories and concepts. It needs to speak to our everyday lives providing wisdom and guidance in all areas.
There are religious expressions that emphasize a personal relationship with God at the exclusion of social justice and others that emphasize social justice at the exclusion of a personal relationship with God.
Our challenge is to do both. It seems from the Scriptures and personal experience that, the best motivation comes from having first experienced God’s compassion toward us. It is this awareness that gives us a humble perspective toward those in need.