Below are the seven Core Values of the National and District levels of the C&MA. Number eight is our addition. The commentary below each one is our attempt to personalize them for our church. We, at Bridge Community Church, wholeheartedly embrace these core values. As Rev. Jeff Brown, our former district superintendent says, “I would like these to be not just our core values we believe, but our core values that express our behavior”. While we acknowledge that some of these are not yet a full reality, they are what we desire to become.
What are core values? According to Audrey Malphurs in Advanced Strategic Planning, they are “the constant, passionate, biblical core beliefs that drive the ministry.”
Core Value #1 - Lost people matter to God. He wants them found.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)
Jesus came to make known the nature of God the Father and to die on the cross for our sins and to be raised so that we might be made right with God. This is the gospel, the good news of who Jesus Christ is and what He did in His life and death. We as Christians are stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Great Commission in life from our Lord is to so present Jesus Christ to others, so that the Holy Spirit can draw them into a growing faith relationship with Jesus Christ. As a multiethnic church, we will strive to present the gospel to those people groups God has placed within our community and neighborhoods, as well as to the ends of the earth.
Core Value #2 - Prayer is the primary work of the people of God.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
We realize that praying is what Christians and the church are supposed to be known for. Even Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations…” Mark 11:17 (HCSB). Prayer is not just a Christian practice or part of a Christian worship service, but the visible and demonstrable way we declare that without prayer, nothing of significance happens. Prayer declares that we are weak, He is strong. Prayer declares that we realize our character will not mature unless we are being refined, reproved, and changed by His Word and voice in our prayer lives. Prayer declares that our ministries will be fruitless and Christian brothers and sisters will struggle unless we pray (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer declares that our children, our marriages and families, our communities, and our world will be different when we pray. Prayer declares that we believe we need the supernatural power of God’s presence to see our world changed for His glory and good. For our battle is not just physical, but the battle is a spiritual one. And that requires spiritual weapons (II Corinthians 10:3-5).
Core Value #3 - Everything we have belongs to God. We are only stewards.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!” 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NLT)
The Bible teaches that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him” Psalms 24:1 (NLT). This truth and reality gives us a great hope as we place our trust in God to provide for our needs as we place the needs of others before ours (Philippians 4:19; II Corinthians 8:9). We also know that our eternal inheritance is in heaven, which will not perish (Matthew 6:19-21). Modern day Christian financial counselors like Dave Ramsey, Larry Burkett and Howard Dayton teach these truths to a world that constantly tries to live life as is everything belongs to us. With that mentality, we end up spending, buying and living our lives according to our own whims and pleasures. Since lost people matter to God, and we pray for God’s will in heaven to be done on earth, we also live our lives as stewards of God’s riches. This truth challenges us to believe that God does not own just the 10% of our tithe, but the other 90% as well. He owns not just all our money, but our possessions, our time and our talents. This is why we give so generously to the Great Commission Fund in the C&MA which supports our missionaries around the world.
Core Value #4 - Knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8 (NLT)
The Bible is more than just a collection of 66 books gathered together in one volume. It is the very Word of God that is living (Hebrews 4:12) and able to change our lives (II Timothy 3:15-17; I Thessalonians 2:13; Colossians 1:5,6). For that reason, we teach the Word, preach the Word, share the Word and live the Word of God (Ezra 7:10; John 15:7). Passing on the faith to the next generation is important for us with our families and children. We have a church wide Bible reading program called “Time with Abba” where we read systematically through the whole Bible each year. We encourage Family Worship Times where the Bible is taught and discussed with one another. Our Precept Courses, small groups with youth and adults, and Sunday Connections Time with all ages are anchored solidly in the Word of God.
Core Value #5 - Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)
The above verse is one of the most common verses used in describing the Great Commission. The Great Commission is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with people. When they accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, our task just begins as we baptize them and teach them to grow in understanding of this personal relationship with Christ and God’s Word. The primary place for them to get established is in a local church for further nurture, growth, service and encouraging relationships. This process describes what any church should be doing and underscores the need for each person to sacrificially serve through the use of the gifts that God gives them. It also highlights that we need to have a process by which we can teach and train (discipling / mentoring) each person (II Timothy 2:2; Colossians 1:28,29). The ability for every person to be fully devoted to Christ and to fulfill this great calling will be dependent on our leadership. Our church develops our leaders and unleashes them to train others so that relational discipleship is occurring (Ephesians 4:11-16). This is particularly seen in our focus on the next generation of leaders that God has given us. We must pass on our faith to them.
Core Value #6 - Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing.
“And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NLT)
The prayer life of Jesus demonstrated that after pouring Himself out in service and ministry of the gospel of the Kingdom, He would often retreat to be alone with God. It is clear that in prayer, God replenished Jesus Christ and renewed Him with fresh daily infillings of the Holy Spirit in these intimate times of personal worship and drawing close to the Father. We see in the early church, they often received a touch from God through a renewing of the Holy Spirit’s presence (John 20:22; Acts 2:4; 4:31; 5:32; 8:5-8,12-17; 9:1-19; 10:44-48; 15:8,9; Acts 16:31-34; Acts 19:1-7). This close, meaningful, and joyful relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit is the believer’s great joy (John 15 & 17). Though a church or Christian exists to reach out to the world and the lost, if he either one gets so busy that they begin to forget to abide in the presence of God continually, they will lose their vitality and power. Without the Holy Spirit, we are incapable of living holy lives and effectively ministering the grace of God to people in need of the hope and new life offered in Jesus Christ. As the old catechism saying goes: “We exist to enjoy and glorify the Father”. There is always the balance of the vertical relationship with God in heaven and the horizontal relationship with one another on earth. As we empty ourselves in ministry to others, we must always make sure we are full of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Core Value #7 - Achieving God’s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
Jesus asked the question that when He returns, “…will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) As we look at the gospels, we see the maturation process of the 12 disciples. It isn’t exactly a great success story. They floundered and failed time and again before Jesus. But when they had prayed for 9 days after Jesus’ ascension, God filled them with the Holy Spirit and they had great boldness. They now had the boldness to preach, witness, leave their home lands and to even die for their faith in Christ. We may not see how this applies to us in SE Michigan, but it does. There are cultures that are very different from ours living right next door to us or in the office where we work. Students go to their lockers right next to us every day who are struggling with issues that no one knows but their own beating heart. It takes faith and boldness to begin to speak to others about Christ and eternity. We step out in faith and take risks in relationships because we believe God is at work 24/7 in the hearts of all people before we ever speak. Our hands, our feet, our words, our acts of service are all physical ways God reaches out to others. Let us pray, let us listen to His voice and Word, let us be filled with His Spirit…and then let us go out on a limb…in faith!
Core Value #8 - Grace in relationships will enable us to build each other up in love into the maturity of Christ.
“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)
The church is to be a safe place for anyone to come in and experience acceptance, God’s grace and love, and the warmth and respect of others. School can be competitive and the workplace can be a tough turf to survive. The church is a place where people can grow, to mature in their spiritual, mental, relational and emotional lives. The church should be a place where broken people can be made whole. There is no person or institution that is perfect on earth and the church is no different. However, of all places, the church should be a place where people can be real, fail and fall and still experience the grace and forgiveness that God calls us to extend to everyone. We will strive to build a community where you can be safe in and grow. Becoming whole and maturing is God’s desire for us and to that end, we will labor to see that happen (Colossians 1:28,29; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:11-16).