Making Jesus Christ known in Oak Park & around the world
Who We Are & What We Live By
Everything we do, everything we say should flow out of our DNA. These five values shape our identity and our calling in Oak Park and around the world.
Beginning with the good news
What God accomplished in Christ is where we start. But what does it mean to be rooted in the gospel? Or draw life from the gospel?
It means to confront some bad news about the world and about yourself. Things aren't the way they're supposed to be. And we all know it.
But this bad news isn't the only news. Thankfully. Rooting your life in the gospel means embracing some fantastic news: all that God's done for the world through his Son, Jesus Christ. The glorious news we call the gospel.
And you must draw life from it by living in dependence upon it. By living a life of repentance, faith, and hope — rooted in the gospel.
Everyone. Everyday. No exceptions.
We cannot survive, much less thrive, without the gospel.
Finding God so magnificent that everything aligns with him
In our man-centered world God is not central. He's peripheral. Everything orbits around us, not him. Like the sun, we're the center. As for God, he's Neptune or Pluto.
Yet, this man-centered world is an illusion. God is central. He's the center. And we must say so with our lives. To live in a way that declares God as central, not ourselves.
By making much of God all the time. Not just on Sunday, but everyday. Not just at church, but everywhere. And by acknowledging Jesus Christ as preeminent in everything. No matter what the topic or task, seeing Jesus as supreme.
But not in our own strength. Only by relying upon the Holy Spirit all the time — at the grocery store or the gym, at the bank or in the bedroom — continually being dependent upon him.
When you find God so massive and magnificent, everything in your life aligns with him. That's God-centeredness.
Prioritizing the task
The church has a revolutionary task. To make disciples. To help others become followers of Jesus. “Go therefore and make disciples,” Jesus says.
But how easily we're distracted by a thousand other things! And how quickly we lose focus on the task at hand! If we're to maintain focus on discipleship, we must prioritize the person of Jesus. Discipleship is relationship — not following an idea, but a person.
Discipleship means prioritizing the Bible, where we find all that Jesus taught, and responding faithfully to it. We can't do this alone. Discipleship is individual, but not individualistic. We learn to follow Jesus in community, in relationship with one another, where we're nurtured and challenged by one another.
And it's for each and everyone of us. Every follower of Jesus must be a disciple who makes disciples.
Discipleship means being on the field and in the game. There are no bench-warmers. You're in the starting lineup, engaged in ministry to others and mission to the world. That's being discipleship-focused.
In Oak Park, for Oak Park
The gospel’s not a private possession. Nor is God. If the gospel is real to you, and if God's real in your life, then you will find God and the gospel overflowing the bounds of your life into your community.
As a follower of Christ, your community matters. For you are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. So too, as a church, our community matters.
Oak Park must matter. Salt and light in Oak Park, for Oak Park.
Followers of Christ maintain a faithful presence within their communities. They seek the welfare of the city where God has placed them. There they settle, invest, serve, pray, and love.
They partner with others. They proclaim the whole gospel — the beauty, truth, and goodness of the gospel.
Faithfully following Jesus, a countercultural community for the common good. This is what it means to engage the community.
Concentrating on God’s mission
The problem with mindsets is they can easily slip.
As a church, we can slip from being mission-minded to maintenance-minded in no time. And if that happens, the mission of the church becomes the maintenance of the activities of the church.
A mindset of maintenance means death to a church, as it does to a Christian. When we make decisions, lead ministries, use money, or orient our prayers in order to maintain the status quo, our church's days are numbered.
Staying mission-minded is not only necessary; it's absolutely vital.
And this is what it means to be mission-minded – to concentrate every energy on the one great end, the one great goal, before us: the Great Commission. Entrusting ourselves for the eternal good of others and the greater glory of God.
Let's pray to the God of the harvest. After all, it is his mission, and he will see it accomplished.