Define the word “family.” Now, how would you define your family? Surely there are things every family has in common, while inevitably there are those things that mark you off as unique. We hold in common with other churches many theological pillars of the Christian Faith. And at the same time there are those peculiar things that mark us off as unique. Our values are both a mirror and a window – they reflect who we are, and yet we also view the details of our work through them. We can itemize at least five…
The Gospel – a commitment to the Story of Jesus as defining and ultimate: If there is anything that we want people to gain by their contact with Trinity it is the Gospel of Jesus. Our only hope is the Good News of Jesus’ work to come to our rescue. We stake our whole eternity not on anything that we have done, but only on what Jesus has done in our place and on our behalf – dying on the cross the death we deserved to die for our sin; living the life of obedience that Adam and all of us were designed to live. Only by what Jesus has done for us is our guilt removed and is His life imparted to us. And we gain this only by turning away from trying to be our own god (repentance), and trusting Jesus as our God and Savior (faith).
Relationship – a commitment to love each other as Jesus has loved us: Jesus commits Himself to us in an unbreakable, never ending, now and forever love as a Bridegroom commits to His Bride. He has bound Himself to us and us to Him as the closest friends. So by extension, He ties us together with one another as His people. Where before, as self-ruling and willful, we could not get along, now in Christ (by His Spirit working in us) we learn how to truly love, give, serve and stick with one another. Where sin was a life exalting the self, now life in Christ is a pursuit of love that exalts others – God first, and then His people. Never has anyone been so befriended as when Jesus takes him in. And if that is how He has loved us, it redefines and fuels us for how we now treat others.
Openness – a commitment to pervasive transparency and candor in all we do: The Gospel is a story of being loved not when we were successful and impressive. It is instead a miracle! God knows our deepest shame and failures and He loved us there “while we were yet sinners!” Because Jesus knows us at our worst, His love is liberating. And because Jesus calls us out of lies, life in Christ is increasingly honest and candid. Jesus regularly asked hard questions and said forthright things, but always with grace and kindness (He is “full of grace and truth”). So as His followers, secure in His love for us, we grow more courageous to go on record against ourselves; we get better at confessing our sins; and we get better at leading others out into the light away from the shadows of shame and deceit.
Work – a commitment to put our whole selves rigorously into this effort: The Gospel is also a story of how Jesus has worked on our behalf, literally giving His all to advantage us! In our culture, work is often selfish. The main focus is upon work that we like to do, at terms that we approve, and for our own goals. But in the Gospel Jesus has worked at the highest cost to Himself and for our benefit! Really evaluating the cost of following Jesus, it is hard work. It requires discipline and sacrifice and generosity and lots of time and effort. Yet because this is how Jesus has worked for us, it redefines our expectations about how we work and view work. Working with all our heart makes sense. Serving with others (God calls us a Body) and for the Lord is a joyful delight and privilege.
Outward Faced – a commitment to regularly invite, pursue and welcome those who do not yet know Jesus: The Gospel is undeniably a story of God in Christ moving out of His position of highest privilege to seek and save the lost. God’s grace brings people in because He was willing to move out. So at Trinity we want to be intentional and resolute about reaching out. We believe that this church does not exist only for us, but for our friends, neighbors, and associates who do not yet know Christ. We want to be generous and eager to share with those outside our four walls. We want to be a blessing not just to people who commit to us, but to those who’ve never considered being part of a church because we are so amazed at how Jesus came seeking even us.