1. EMPHASIS ON JESUS CHRIST
We emphasize our identity in Christ: As Christians, we’ve been given a new identity in Jesus Christ. As his friends and his brothers and sisters, we have been given everything we need in him! Jesus promised he will never forsake or leave us and as he lives in us, we will never leave or forsake him or each other.
We emphasize bringing glory to the name of Christ: Jesus, who died for us and loves us, calls us to glorify him in every part of our life’s experience. Knowing we are secure in his love; we are a people committed to glorify him in all our relationships and activities. Whatever opportunities, challenges or crises we face, we are forever committed to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ.
We emphasize commitment and obedience to the Lord’s call: We believe in the present and active work of the Holy Spirit in leading and enabling Christians to live a godly and obedient life in the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
We emphasize kingdom work based on faith: God has called us to live in his presence and to commit our lives, our hopes, our plans and our passions to him. We are his property, his first fruits, his own people and, more than that, his own children by the blood of Christ. Therefore, we depend on his faithfulness to give value and meaning to our lives and work. We do not rely on ourselves, on our own expertise or intellect or training, but on the Lord our God.
We emphasize sound biblical doctrine: We believe that the essential doctrines of historic Christianity are those upon which Christian faith is based and which have been generally agreed upon in the experience of the universal church. We believe that doctrinal disagreement on peripheral matters, while inevitable, should not be allowed to foster division within the body of Christ.
We emphasize the power of the gospel: Paul wrote: « I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes » (Romans 1:16). People enter God’s kingdom by responding to the gospel. Today, in GCI, by the grace of God, the kingdom is advancing. People are accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior and King. They are repenting – turning to Jesus and doing his work in the world.
We emphasize heartfelt worship: Because we are created to bring glory to God, we believe in praise that is culturally sensitive and relevant. We strive to worship God through a variety of meaningful worship styles and occasions, blending traditional and contemporary in ways that bring glory to the name of the Lord.
We emphasize prayer: Prayer is an essential part of the believer’s life in Christ and is an important part of both public and private worship. We believe that prayer leads to God’s intervention in our lives.
We emphasize family life: The institution of the family has undergone significant change in the past two decades. Single parents, stepfamilies, children raised by one or both grandparents, and a variety of other life situations have become common ways in which children are prepared to face life in our modern world. We value families of every kind and emphasize education in biblical principles for healthy family relationships.
We emphasize children’s ministry: Healthy, growing churches are churches that invest in children through age-appropriate Christian education, a Christ-centered nursery program, children’s church and fun-filled, meaningful Christian activities and social opportunities for children. We value children and place high priority on an active children’s ministry in each congregation.
We emphasize youth ministry: When has adolescence been so challenging and even dangerous as it is today? Yet teens everywhere are making decisions for Jesus Christ and committing their lives to him. We believe that strong, Christ-focused youth ministry is essential to the vitality and spiritual future of the church and our communities.
We emphasize women’s ministry: In a world that can often be painful, unfair and even hostile for women, God calls them to know the peace, comfort and assurance that is theirs in Jesus Christ. He wants women to know that he loves them, values them and calls them to a fulfilling and active life of Christian fellowship and ministry. Through women’s ministry, we seek to support and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord and in their leadership and service to the church and community.
We emphasize young adults’ ministry: Today’s young adults face increasingly complicated life decisions about education, career and family for which they desperately need sound biblical teaching and guidance. We are committed to helping young adults develop a basis for Christ-centered decision-making that will keep them on the road to a life of faithful servant-leadership.
We emphasize men’s ministry: Recognizing the vital need in our families for godly husbands and fathers who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and courageous in Christ, we encourage men to be active in ministry.
We emphasize small group worship: Personal spiritual growth is fostered in the context of small group life. We encourage participation, in a nonthreatening setting at one’s own comfort level, in small group worship. Small groups provide opportunity to get to know other Christians, to worship and praise God, discuss questions, study the Bible, share concerns, pray and receive prayer in a nonjudgmental environment. Small groups are an ideal way for guests and visitors to become familiar with Christian faith and practice in a comfortable, supportive and pressure-free setting.
We emphasize stewardship: God’s people are stewards of his gifts, including our resources of time, energy and finances. He calls us to share generously what he gives us to further the gospel and serve others, just as he has been generous in his grace toward us. Many members practice tithing and giving of offerings as a form of Christian stewardship and worship.
We emphasize the priesthood of believers: Peter wrote: « But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light » (1 Peter 2:9). All members — men, women and children — are ministers of the grace of God. In other words, ordained career ministers are not the only ministers — rather, they are called to leadership for the specific purposes of preaching and teaching the Word of God and for the administration of equipping all members for Christian leadership and works of ministry. Every Christian can help in significant ways, according to the gifts provided by the Holy Spirit, to advance the kingdom of God. The Lord calls his people into church fellowships so they are able to work together, with and for each other (Ephesians 4:16). Every Christian is called to make a difference for the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ.
We emphasize the value of spiritual gifts: The Holy Spirit provides spiritual gifts to every Christian as he sees fit for the effective and unified operation of the church. Paul wrote: « There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good » (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
We emphasize racial reconciliation: God has blessed our church with many racially and ethnically diverse congregations. We value spiritual unity in our racial, ethnic, cultural and social diversity. Scripture declares that all hatred and prejudice, including racial, is contrary to the Christian life. Jesus declared, « By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another » (John 13:35). We are committed to furthering racial understanding, forgiveness and healing in all our congregations and communities.