Values are the core beliefs that direct how we respond or react to every situation. The solution to every offensive situation that confronts a believer will boil down to the discovery and application of particular values that Jesus lived out and taught—as found in the Bible.
Values over Rules
We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:16
We prefer to live by Christ’s values rather than a list of rules. We do not have nor will we ever have a rule book, or even a set of bylaws, because that isn’t what makes a family safe and balanced. What makes a family safe and balanced is when good parents correct bad behavior. Besides, we all know that when relational problems come up in a spiritual community it isn’t just because of bad behavior: Conflict comes out of people’s hearts. As leaders we strive to address the heart of the issue with one another. A rule may prevent a good hearted person from making an error in judgment, but it has never stopped a rebellious person from being disobedient. At Life, we use the Bible to instruct and inform our family of believers through preaching and small groups. We value transformed hearts over regulated obedience. Godly leadership requires leaders to take a rebellious or mistaken person aside and encourage them to repent. It doesn’t require a list of rules. We’ve all heard a child say, “Well, you didn’t say I couldn’t do that!” And we all recognize that the problem isn't an unstated rule, but a child with a manipulative spirit. A good parent addresses the child’s spirit. One additional word: the Lord tells us to protect those who are vulnerable. To that end, as Leaders we will prayerfully approach every discipline issue with soft hearts toward the offender without jeopardizing the happiness and safety of others.
Simplicity over Complexity
Proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don't ever quit. Just keep it simple. 2 Timothy 4:2
Simplicity is the key to peace. As leaders, we believe we have the responsibility to maintain balance and a simplified approach to ministry. This shows up at Life by not overcrowding the church calendar with events that add to the hectic pace of your busy lives. We believe our one weekly gathering on Sunday Mornings for Worship, Fellowship and Teaching is vital while also emphasizing our small groups, called Life Groups. We believe there is nothing more effective than that which is experienced in a simple small group of believers.
Organic over Organizational
"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. John 15:5
The word organic means natural or of the earth. Nature may not appear very organized at first glance, but it certainly is. We value organization, but we value a natural, less formal approach to organization that feels organic. Statements like, “We’re not going to force the issue…” or, “It is what it is…” become pressure release valves for us as leaders as we attempt to offer hope to a culture that is moving in an inorganic, unnatural direction at an alarming speed. As leaders we are praying and searching for wholesome and natural forms of progress. “Organic” shows up here at Life in leaders who are focused on the Word of God personally rather than increasing attendance, growing tithes and building programs designed to attract consumer-minded believers.
Participants over Spectators
Since you're so eager to participate in what God is doing, why don't you concentrate on doing what helps everyone in the church? 1 Corinthians 14:12
We believe Jesus Christ appointed church leaders to challenge and prepare attendees of Life Church to become participants in the Kingdom—not just spectators who “sit and receive” but those who “go out” and participant in Christ’s Kingdom throughout the week. Every believer is a minister called to administer the Spirit of Christ personally in their homes, their workplace and the marketplace 24/7.
Grace over Judgment
Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Matthew 11:29
As a part of this spiritual family you will experience the leadership extending grace to you and not judgment. Grace is the latitude that allows you to draw closer and closer to us and the Lord without demanding change. 2 Examples of Grace over Judgment here at Life:
- Cohabitation is living with a partner without the commitment and covering of marriage. In most Christian communities, cohabitating couples would have to separate before being allowed to participate in that organization. We will continue to teach the importance of making lasting spiritual commitments, but never ostracize you for not making that commitment. Our desire is that you experience more and more of the grace of Christ, confident that grace will eventually bring you to recognize the power that comes through the commitment Christ has made to us, His Church, and motivate you to prioritize that godly commitment into your partnering relationship.
- Tithing: We believe the Lord expects Life people to tithe ten percent of their income to this local church in order to provide for the financial needs and infrastructure of our ministries. Though we teach tithing, as leaders we don’t monitor your giving or require that you tithe. Again, we believe we are to prioritize grace over judgment in the area your finances hoping that our relationship with you, based on grace, will motivate you to be drawn closer and closer to Jesus Christ.
Mercy over Punishment
GOD is all mercy and grace-- not quick to anger, is rich in love. Psalm 145:8
When you become a regular part of this family of believers, you will discover that as leaders we will apply mercy toward you even when you are not living Kingdom values. We believe that as we apply mercy you will be moved by the Holy Spirit to recognize areas in your life that are hurtful and make corrections as you are empowered to make those corrections. Instead of punishing you for wrong behavior, we will apply mercy. This doesn’t imply that we don’t value the importance of discipline. If your wrongful behavior hurts others, we will in mercy insist that you stop. As spiritual parents, we believe this defines the difference between punishment and discipline. However, the first value expressed to you will consistently be mercy.
Restoration over Separation
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Galatians 6:1
In a family, there will inevitably be conflict. We will not all see eye to eye on important issues at times. One important Kingdom Value that we prioritize here at Life Church is to work toward restoration of broken relationships and avoid separation. As conflicts arise, we as leaders are committed to prayerfully seek redemptive outcomes to every conflict, searching for reasonable compromises while protecting the reputation of Christ, honoring His Word and protecting everyone within our spiritual family.
Serving over Authority
Jesus said, “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It's not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant.” Luke 22:25-26
The Leaders at Life Church see ourselves as your servants… not your overlords. We recognize that spiritual authority can never be demanded or presumed, but spiritual authority only comes when you grant that authority to us. You must determine that you need spiritual leaders in your lives and allow us to serve you in that regard. The only authority we have in your life is the authority that you release to us. And we will never assume that authority. Another way serving manifests itself here at Life Church is that we prefer to come in under the radar when we help, give financially or extend grace to anyone here or in the community. We value anonymity. We are only concerned that the benevolent work is accomplished and not that we are credited for it. This is a value that Jesus taught his disciples regarding doing good work in public, and we embrace that value at Life.
Relationship over Religion
In Christ's family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:28
We value our relationship with people over any affinity we have for religious icons or practices that represent our faith. With the exceptions of communion and baptism, we feel at liberty to utilize our facility in any way that might enhance our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and ALSO those around us. That’s why we dress modestly but casually, not using clerical robes, and don’t declare certain areas of the building as more sacred than others. We believe our relationship with Jesus makes our bodies the sacred places and not the physical properties He’s entrusted to with. Our most important value is our relationship with Christ and not our religious exercises. Life Church, like Jesus draws no distinction between race or gender when empowering leaders. We desire to equip everyone for ministry.
Local over Global
"Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." Mark 5:19
At Life Church we believe our first responsibility is at home. We will first minister to one another here at Life before ministering to our local community and only then, based on the resources the Lord provides, will we extend our service and acts of benevolence outward in radiating circles. Jesus taught his disciples to begin at home then to Judea and Samaria on their way to the rest of the world. This plays out most specifically through our benevolence offerings. We set aside more than ten percent of our income for the specific purpose of financially assisting those closest to us with immediate needs. We also use these funds to encourage and equip Life people for the unique ministries God has called each of you to do. We prioritize local needs over regional, national and global needs. This value doesn’t ignore global needs but simply prioritizes our resources and energies at home first. This is an important DNA of every healthy family.
Wellness over Comfort
… They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits. Mark 6:12-13
More and more you will hear us encouraging stewardship of everything with which God has entrusted us, even if this requires sacrifices that stretch us uncomfortable into new areas. Life’s Leadership is very conscious of the importance of wellness in every area of your lives, knowing that our spiritual being is presently residing in our physical bodies. God’s gifts in the areas of Finance, Relationships, Family, Health and Environment are for the purpose of advancing His Kingdom. We will continue to provide, encourage and equip Life people toward health and wellness in every area of our lives. We want to represent Christ in the best possible manner and do everything possible to protect and preserve not only our spiritual person but our physical person, and this environment which He’s so graciously provided.