This Sunday will be part five of our current sermon series, THAT Kind of Church.
No series, in my opinion, could be more important or timely for us as a congregation.
As we near the fall, the work of our strategic planning is almost complete. For the last several months, our four innovation teams have been working hard to prepare a strategic ministry plan for the next three years. In the coming weeks, these teams will present the plan to congregational leaders, and then ultimately, I will present our vision to the church at large in October at my annual State of the Church Address.
The reason our current sermon series is so important to our process is that all of our strategic initiatives, and the goals that accompany them, are rooted firmly in our core values as a congregation.
Each of these previous weeks, we have been taking a very close look at the foundational convictions and values that shape our identity as a congregation.
Week One Summary: The Church’s One Foundation.
Jesus is Lord of all. That’s it. That is the first and will be the final confession of the Church universal. Before we talk about the ways JCBC is distinct, we must first consider our foundation. It is nothing less than, nothing more than, nothing other than the deep and abiding conviction that message of Jesus Christ can transform the world. Hardened hearts can melt. Closed minds can open. Folded arms can open to embrace a radically new way of existing in the world because his resurrection continues to swallow up death and despair. Our church exists to make that transforming message known in the world. We are THAT kind of church.
Week Two Summary: Our Baptist Way.
The key to the Baptist genius is freedom. We do not have a creed. We do not make members sign a doctrinal statement. We have four fragile freedoms upon which all of our church practice hinges. They are Soul Freedom, Bible Freedom, Church Freedom, and Religious Freedom. But as with great freedom comes even greater responsibility. In order to practice a faith in a way that honors the soul competency of each individual believer, it requires that each and every believer be diligent to grow in their faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That takes work. That’s what we do at JCBC. We are THAT kind of church.
Week Three Summary: Excellence in the Worship of God
Believing God is the one and only object of true worship; and further believing that God is deserving of the very best we can offer, we value excellence in all expressions of worship. We especially value worship that is spiritually inspiring and intellectually stimulating–placing our highest value on excellence in preaching and music. In this sermon, I not only addressed what “excellence” is, but also what it is NOT. It is not perfection or impressiveness. Rather, it is bringing our absolute best before the One who is absolutely worthy, both on Sunday mornings, and every day of our week. We are THAT kind of church.
Week Four Summary: Theological Depth and Diversity
With young Christians leaving the church in America in staggering droves, the stakes are high to understand why. Research reveals a few of the top reasons given: In the experience of 18-29 year olds, the churches they have experienced are overprotective, shallow, anti-science, doubtless, exclusive, and repressive. With a Christly call to a costly discipleship, we must be a church that values swimming in the deeper waters of faith. Believing in historic Baptist principles, freedoms, and traditions, we recognize the soul-competency of every individual and affirm the priesthood of all believers. As such, we value theological depth and diversity in all areas of our shared life, believing that spiritual and intellectual openness better enables us as a congregation to marvel at the ineffable mysteries of God. We are THAT kind of church.
I pray you will invite someone to join you THIS Sunday, September 1st, as we examine our next core conviction that makes us who we are at JCBC: Authentic Christian Community.
Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do.
Dr. Shaun King
Johns Creek Baptist Church
JCBC Core Values
Johns Creek Baptist Church seeks to be a free and faithful voice of the Gospel, witnessing with integrity to Jesus Christ and the mission of the Church. The church believes in and dedicates itself to preserving and practicing historic Baptist principles, Freedoms, and traditions. We value excellence in worship, theological depth and diversity, authentic Christian community, deliberate church growth, congregational courage, responsible Christian stewardship, and a missional consciousness where every member is mobilized to serve.
We value Excellence in the Worship of God.
Believing God is the one and only object of true worship; and further believing that God is deserving of the very best we can offer, we value excellence in all expressions of worship. We especially value worship that is spiritually inspiring and intellectually stimulating–placing our highest value on excellence in preaching and music. (Isaiah 6; John 4; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17, 23; Ephesians 5:19-20)
We value Theological Depth and Diversity.
Believing in historic Baptist principles, freedoms, and traditions, we recognize the soul-competency of every individual and affirm the priesthood of all believers. As such, we value theological depth and diversity in all areas of our shared life, believing that spiritual and intellectual openness better enables us as a congregation to marvel at the ineffable mysteries of God. (Philippians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 1,3; Acts 10-11; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9; Hebrews 5; Psalm 133:1)
We value Authentic Christian Community
Believing we are all imperfect people with unfinished stories; and further believing that our Lord welcomed all such people with a radical hospitality, and loved all persons without limitation; we value authentic Christian community where any and all of God’s Beloved may belong. (Matthew 11:28; Acts 2:42-47, 8:26-40; Romans 12:4-5; Matthew 18:20; Galatians 3:28-29;
We value the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Growth of His Church
Believing deeply that the message of Jesus Christ is the hope of the world; and further believing that the Church Universal is the visible presence of the Risen Christ in our age, we value the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the deliberate growth of His church so that this sure and certain hope may endure from generation to generation–unto the end of the age. (Matthew 24:14, 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 2:47, 5:14, 6:7, 11:21, 16:5; Ephesians 3:20-21)
We value Congregational Courage.
Believing God is always calling the Church to new and next steps of faith; and further believing (by remembering our own history) that God’s calling always comes with some risk, we value the congregational courage required to always remain faithful to God’s call—wherever it may lead. (Joshua 1:6, 9-11; Ephesians 6:10; Psalm 56:3-4; Isaiah 41:10; Proverbs 3:5-6; Mark 5:36; Psalm 31:24)
We value Responsible Christian Stewardship
Believing God’s grace to be a generous gift of unmerited favor; and further believing that maturing in faith demands using what God has given to us, for God’s own glory, we value responsible Christian stewardship of all God’s gifts. (Psalm 24:1; James 1:17; Matthew 25:21; Proverbs 3:9; Matthew 25:29; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
We value a Missional Consciousness where every Member is Mobilized to serve.
Believing every member is an integral part of the Body of Christ; and further believing every follower of Christ plays a vital role in the witness and mission of the worldwide church, we value a missional consciousness within our church, where every member is truly empowered and fully equipped to mobilize his or her faith in practical ways for the cause of Christ. Further, we boldly affirm the reality that God calls both women and men into all areas of vocational ministry—with no limitations based on age, sex, race, or station in life. (Micah 6:8; Acts 2:17; Ephesians 4; 1 Corinthians 12; 2 Corinthians 4)