Our vision tells us how we are going to accomplish our mission. The vision is another way of describing our Philosophy of Ministry.
We will build devoted followers of Jesus Christ, extending His Kingdom in St. Petersburg and beyond, through these Biblical strategies:
Worship, Nurture, Mission
We see this vision of the church vividly expressed in Acts 2:42-47.
A WORSHIPING COMMUNITY
Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
We were redeemed, in the words of the Shorter Catechism, that we might glorify God and enjoy him forever. Therefore, the chief function of the Church is not missions or discipleship or mercy ministry, but worship. All the ministries of the church must have the worship of God as their aim.
But what is worship? Jonathan Edwards said that “Worship is setting the affections of the heart on God”. Your affections are not merely your emotions, but your motives, the things that drive you, things that you truly treasure. Because we were created for worship, when we do not worship God, we worship other things like approval, comfort, power, relationships and success. When we set our affections on these and other idols of the heart, we derive our sense of meaning and self-worth from them, which always leaves us unsatisfied. When we worship God we pull our affections away from these things and set them on Him, the Fountain of Life, who alone can fill and satisfy the vastness of our souls.
A NURTURING COMMUNITY
Acts 2:42, 44-45 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
As the early Christians devoted themselves to God’s Word, they also devoted themselves to caring for each other in very practical ways. They loved each other in such a way that it caught the attention of their unbelieving neighbors and friends. God has designed the Church to be a nurturing community, where the power of the gospel is displayed among us in both word and deed, to the end that Jesus Christ is seen and trusted and treasured by those who don’t yet know Him.
Apart from the weekly preaching of God’s Word, we will care for and nurture each other’s faith in Christ through our Christian Education classes, our network of community groups, our men’s and women’s Bible studies and the shepherding care of our elders.
A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY
Acts 2:44-47 All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
God calls His people to be doers of the Word, not merely hearers only James 1:22). Therefore, as God changes us by the power of His gospel, we move outward into the world of lost people, taking the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed. We will seek to do this through personal evangelism, deeds of mercy, and actively supporting missionaries and mission agencies both at home and abroad. We will pray for and encourage members from our congregation to be raised up to take the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the unreached peoples of the world. Because the local church is God’s appointed means of reaching a lost world with the message of the gospel, we will seek to extend His Kingdom by planting other like-minded churches in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.