Vision and Values of First Church
“When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
Jesus Christ had a mission to complete. He came to earth from heaven knowing his purpose. Even at the age of 12 he told his parents, “Did you not know I had to be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) His single-mindedness, determination, and reliance on his Father’s guidance ensured that at the end of his ministry, he would be able to pray with confidence, “I have accomplished the work which you gave me to do” (John 17:4).
Jesus had a vision. He saw the preferable future and the transformed world his mission would accomplish. Jesus knew what he needed to do – and what his disciples needed to do – if the world would catch that vision. He built a community of believers who would be the foundation of a vast network of followers and would, in time, fulfill his mission.
Jesus had a plan. His ministry unfolded in stages. He was selective about the people and possibilities in which he invested. Disciples were chosen from among the many who expressed interest. Workers were trained.
Jesus was selective about the ministry opportunities in which he was involved. He chose those that fit his long-range plan and sometimes moved on to a new opportunity even when people wanted him to stay.
At First UMC we consider ourselves to be Jesus’ followers with a charge to carry on the mission of Jesus Christ so that His vision will be realized. The mission of First UMCis to help everyone on the journey in their relationship with God. Through the various ministries of our church, we seek to provide opportunities for people to not only meet Jesus but also, over time, to grow in their faith so that they live obediently to his commands and become conformed to his character.
While the message of Jesus Christ is timeless, we realize that the forms and ministries used to further his work may be adjusted to time and culture. In addition, First UMC is a collection of individuals who have diverse theological and cultural perspectives and differing values with regard to serving Christ. Yet certain common values unify our efforts and define our distinctiveness. So that we will faithfully carry out Jesus’ mission, vision, and plan, we have identified core values and seek to act consistently with them.
These are the guiding principles – or core values – which define who we are:
God is the Creator of everything and is involved in His creation.
Jesus is God’s Son, who saved us from our sins. By his life Jesus showed us how to live. By his death Jesus accepted our penalty for sin. And by his resurrection Jesus overcame death so that all who believe will have everlasting life.
Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the central focus of our life and the object of our faith. We desire Christian lives characterized by continually seeking to become more fully devoted followers of Christ.
The Holy Spirit lives in us to transform us and work through us.
The Bible is God’s Word. It is our authority and guide for life and the standard of our faith.
Worship is for the honor of God and a celebration of our faith connecting the heart of the worshiper to Him. It is experienced with music, liturgy, and preaching reflecting a style that speaks to multiple needs while being both culturally and biblically relevant.
Membership is a covenant relationship with God and other believers. There is a cost to being a follower of Jesus. The church is to operate as a unified community of servants who are good stewards of their gifts. Members are to be active participants, not spectators.
Prayer is a priority in everything. Prayer keeps us connected with God and is necessary for us to remain focused on Jesus’ mission and vision.
Every believer is called to ministry. The ministries of the church help people to discover their spiritual gifts, prepare for God’s work, and are a means for service. Becoming fully devoted to Jesus and His mission is the goal for every believer.
People matter to God and people matter to the church. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Compelled to do the same, we have a deep concern for all people – the churched and the un-churched. We strive to help everyone on the journey in their relationship with God.
Church family ministries are a priority. “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). We are community-oriented and, necessarily, church family-focused. The ministry we wish to do in the greater community must first be practiced in the faith community. Worship, education, and all ministries demonstrate our commitment to the wholeness of individuals, families, and our immediate and greater family of God.
The church is led by people with leadership gifts. Leaders are driven by God’s vision and voice. Leaders work by faith, leading in their participation, stewardship, and support of the community. Leadership development is a continuing focus.
God deserves our best. We serve an excellent God. Excellence honors God and inspires people.
Growth occurs best in small groups. Small groups encourage accountability, discipleship, and fellowship among believers.