Core Values | The 9 Principles of Ministry Enablement
1. We are a house of prayer.
In Matthew 21 when Jesus saw that the religious leaders had made the synagogue into something other than a house of prayer, he overthrew their tables and ran them out! The Bible’s teaching on prayer is clear. God’s expects us, as we come together, to pray in unity for the mission He has given us. He then answers prayer, moving us along in his power and provision. We are wonderfully dependent on God for all we have done, are doing, and will do. As we continue to move forward, we must have God’s hand of blessing upon us, or we labor in vain (Psalm 127). Because of these foundational truths Living Faith will always prioritize the importance of personal and collective prayer.
- Living Faith members pray when they meet.
- Praying together, according to God's kingdom purposes will always be priority.
- We will keep an attitude/awareness of desperate dependence on God for all that we do.
2. We are always making disciples.
God has made a way for us to have a right relationship with him through Jesus Christ (John 1:12, Romans 5:1). Upon receiving Christ for our salvation, the Holy Spirit begins to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:10). As we become more Christ-like, we become more focused on the mission of reproducing this transformation in others (2 Timothy 2:2). The "Great Commission" as found in Matthew 28:18-20 shows us this distinct cycle of evangelism, spiritual growth, and reproduction. At Living Faith we have accepted this mission from God as our mission. Plainly put, God’s mission for us is to “Make Disciples". Every ministry we take part of at Living Faith will be in some way intertwined in this all-important mission. In fact, making disciples is all we care to be about! As we continue to make disciples, Living Faith's hope is to be a ministry that plants other works and churches throughout the world.
3. The Word of God is our absolute authority.
At Living Faith we trust in God’s preserved Word as our absolute authority. We believe that the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us as we study the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Bible, not any pastor or teacher, is the gold standard of truth in all matters of doctrine and practice. In reverence we submit to every word and learn to live according to its teachings. Knowing this, we will not challenge the Word of God's authority or attempt to tear it apart with human logic and doubting "scholarly" criticism. The Bible must change us, we are not to change it (Romans 12:2, John 17:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:12-13, Revelation 22:18-19, 1 Corinthians 1:19-2:5).
4. Our members are accountable to the Word of God.
Accountability within the body helps each of us stay faithful to the Word, one another and the ministry responsibilities to which we have committed (Colossians 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:11). Sometimes it's easy to think of accountability as someone enforcing strict rules and regulations, or of some "watchdog" mentality, but real accountability in the local church is a wonderfully edifying experience. When the central focus of Living Faith is to be investing and honoring the Word together a Christ-like heart emerges. With that said, there are many ways to be accountable in the Word. It could be by taking part in our Discipleship 1, Discipleship 2 or Living Faith Bible Institute classes, or possibly by preparing a lesson for Living Faith Kids. Throughout the week you could participate in or lead a home Bible study and of course we come together every Sunday to honor the Lord and hear from his Word. As a side note, if participating in one of our weekly Bible studies seems intimidating, just know that everyone around you is cheering you on for what will truly be a life-changing experience as you learn to study the Bible for yourself. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
5. Our members engage in ministry service.
At Living Faith, the ministry is not intended to be done by a select few, but by all of us together. There is no "them", there is only "us." And yet at times a heart of criticality can creep in and instead of a heart of commonality and camaraderie we find ourselves judging the efforts of others as if we were an observer rather than a member. 1 Corinthians 12:27 tells us, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Verse 18 of the same chapter says, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him”. This is such a comforting and reassuring verse that we are all in this together and that we all have a necessary part in the body. Simply put, the success of Living Faith is not reliant on the Pastor or church staff alone, it is based upon all of us together following God's Great Commission. Just like our physical body must have all its members (body parts) functioning as they are designed to function, the local church must have all its members functioning as they are gifted as well. 1 Corinthians 12:7 tells us that every believer is gifted to profit the rest of the body. This means that you have been gifted by God and placed in this local church (1 Corinthians 12:18) in order to serve God and be a part of furthering His kingdom through service to the church and others. You will find great fulfillment in using the gifts God has given you.
6. Our leaders are servant leaders.
Leadership is a good and necessary thing that God establishes for the benefit of the church (Ephesians 4:11-13). Like all churches, we have leaders and are continually training up new ones. Leadership for a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean you get to "boss" everybody around, but rather that you will serve others (Matthew 20:26). We see beautiful pictures of servant leadership in Jesus (Matthew 20:28), the apostle Paul (Philippians 2:17) and Peter (1 Peter 5:3). It should be our goal to likewise lead in this same manner. Those who seek leadership in the church seek a good thing (1 Timothy 3:1), but be ready to serve, not be served. Moving forward in leadership requires dying to self and thinking of others first. The further you move up in leadership, the more selflessness will be required.
7. We are always training leaders.
Living Faith is committed to training leaders through the structure of our various ministries. We believe that every member not only needs to be trained in the ministry but should also be looking to train others as well. In the Bible we see a dynamic model of mentorship between Paul and Timothy. At Living Faith we like to say that we all need a “Paul” (mentor) and “Timothy” (mentee) in our lives.
Training leaders is not a separate activity, rather training takes place when members are active in the ministry. One main motivation for training leaders is that we believe God has called us to plant churches and send out missionaries. Considering that some of us will be sent out, who will take their place when they go? The answer is that we will train up “Timothy's” and be trained by our “Paul's” so that whether we are sent, or take the place of one who goes, we are ready with sufficient leadership in place.
- Who is your “Paul”?
- Who is your “Timothy”?
8. We protect unity.
Unity within the body of Christ is a beautiful thing (Psalm 133:1) that originates from our Lord (Ephesians 4:1-10). It brings anointing (Psalm 133:2), strength (Matthew 12:25, Ecclesiastes 4:12), and an empowered witness to the church (John 17:21). Unity should be the norm for mature believers who seek to have the “mind of Christ” as described in Philippians 2:1-8. Unity is also under attack. You do not have to look very far to see examples of this. Churches are splitting or dividing over arguments all the time (1 Corinthians 1:10-11). Many churches are powerlessly struggling because of the division within the body (1 Corinthians 11:18-30). The enemy causes division through prideful contentions that are rooted in selfish human carnality (Proverbs 13:10). To prevent this, we must actively protect the unity we have in Christ.
Deliberately protecting unity means there is no place for gossip or the spreading of rumors. We must communicate clearly, frequently and Biblically so that expectations, issues and needs are fully understood and addressed. In the absence of good communication there is a danger of divisive speculation. Good communication is the key to staying on the same page together in ministry. As a rule we only communicate problems or issues up the leadership chain. Only within the right context should you communicate problems “laterally” (to peers, friends, etc) and when doing so it must be in confidence and only when necessary for counsel, biblical accountability, and prayer. Matthew 18:15-17 gives us parameters for how to go to a brother or sister (if you feel you must) when an offense occurs. Likewise, division, whether that be in attitude or action, should always addressed. The attitude we seek to develop at Living Faith is that, “Everyone is better than me.” Philippians 2:1-10 (taking the wrong, forgiveness, erring on the side of grace, etc…) will keep us Christ-like in our attitudes toward each other and will protect our unity.
9. We operate in light of spiritual realities.
Some foremost examples: God is with us (Matthew 1:23, 28:20) and the devil seeks to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8), etc…
Sometimes we get so focused on what we are doing that we forget the most basic and most important spiritual truths. The problem with this is that we are in danger of reacting out of discouragement, doubt, or fear if we lose sight of the fact that God is with us! For example, despite the clear teachings of scripture that we will have sufferings (Romans 8:18), hardness (2 Timothy 2:3), and persecutions (2 Timothy 3:12), Christians sometimes seem flabbergasted when things become difficult for them (1 Peter 4:12). Of course things get difficult--we are part of a spiritual battle for the souls of men! Yet sometimes we lose sight of the big picture when we cannot see past our situations, don’t we?
The accusing liar, the Devil, is trying to get us to quit. Never forget that! Keeping in mind that God is with us (Matthew 1:23, 28:20) and the devil seeks to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8) will help us to move forward in diligent faith to do what God has tasked Living Faith. It is of great encouragement to know that greater is He that is within us, than he that is in the world.
The bottom line – we must always be moving forward in ministry together in light of what the Word of God reveals as the practical spiritual realities around us.