When Jesus announces in Mark 1:14 that “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” The Holy Spirit gives hearing and response to Jesus’ announcement and the church is birthed. It’s Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom that draws our community forward toward the day when God’s reign will be fully established on earth again and calls us to enter into the kingdom now as God’s kingdom people. In this way, the church is a both a preview of what is to come and an agent of renewal as the eternal kingdom of God is established among us. The prayer of Habakkuk captures our heart’s desire as we anticipate the fulfillment of God’s kingdom.
“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” – Habakkuk 3:2
Vision, Mission, Pursuits
Our vision is:
To see the fame & deeds of God renewed & known in our time.
Who we seek to be and all we desire to do is in response to Jesus’ announcement that the kingdom is at hand and the declaration that our Creator God is making all things new. As the Holy Spirit gives hearing and response at Jesus’ announcement we ourselves enter the process of being made new. Discipleship is the word we use for this process of renewal and formation.
And discipleship is the primary way Jesus has invited us to participate in the kingdom.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
Practicing the way of Jesus.
Our mission can best be capsulized in four key pursuits. We will seek to uphold these pursuits as we dwell together in unity.
- Presence of God: We pursue the presence of God through individual and communal spiritual practices.
- Formation of People: We pursue deep change through transformational discipleship focusing on growth and healing.
- Unity of the Church: We pursue the unity of the church family across racial, political, generational, and economic divides.
- Flourishing of the City: We pursue the spiritual, social, and cultural flourishing of our city.
Church of the City (COTC) is a nondenominational church that believes in the authority of the Christian Scriptures for our life and practice. Three documents—the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Evangelical Statement of Faith—embody the tenants upon which COTC is founded.
The first person of the Trinity orders and directs all things according to His purpose and pleasure. He has created humanity to bring Him glory and honor, through His grace. While He is transcendent, He is also actively involved in His creation—offering an eternal relationship with us through His Son, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:9; John 5:19-24; Ephesians 1:3-6; 2:1-10)
Jesus Christ is both the eternal Son of God and virgin-born Son of man. Fully God, fully man, He surrendered nothing of His deity during His earthly life. His sinless, sacrificial offering on the cross satisfied the Father’s justice, offering atonement for all of humanity’s sins for all time. We believe in His bodily resurrection, His physical ascension, and His visible return back to earth to establish His earthly kingdom. (John 1:14-18; Colossians 1:15-20)
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit executes the will of God in this world through humanity by leading, guiding, filling, teaching, and convicting. The Holy Spirit is not merely an impersonal force, but is a person, displaying the qualities of personhood (intellect, emotions, and will). The Holy Spirit equips believers upon conversion by giving them gifts to be used for the building up of the church and by bearing fruit through their yielded lives. (John 16:7-11; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 1:13-14; Galatians 5:22-25)
We are created in the image of God, destined to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him and one another, fulfilling His will here on earth. Through Adam and Eve’s willful sin in the garden, sin entered the world and has infected all of humanity. Due to our inherent sinful nature received from our father Adam, we are separated from God, spiritually dead, and destined for physical death and an eternity removed from God. (Genesis 1-3; Romans 1:18-32; Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3)
Jesus Christ died for our sins as the only sufficient sacrifice, offering atonement for the sin of all mankind through His death, burial, and resurrection. While salvation is available to all, it is only experienced by those who receive His gracious gift by faith, apart from works. As a result of our new relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, we are called to a life of submission to the Holy Spirit, manifesting spiritual fruit, and walking in good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to do. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:10-14; 1 John 5:11-13; Galatians 3:26; John 3:16)
We believe every word in the original writings is inspired by God and is without error. The Word of God reveals God’s nature and will for all of humanity and is to be the foundation of faith and practice. We affirm that while God’s Word is accurate in all matters, it is not given as an end in and of itself, but rather a means to a relationship with God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Hebrews 4:12; John 17:17)
All who place their faith in God through His Son, Jesus Christ, are a part of the universal body of believers known as the Church. The purpose of the local church is to lead people to Christ and bring them to maturity in Him. Members of the local church are to live lives in humble submission to other Spirit-led believers and to the God-appointed leaders of the church. COTC is an autonomous local assembly led by Jesus Christ, who directs as the head of this body through a team of appointed elders. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:41- 47; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
At the end of all things, God promises to make all things new. He invites us, His followers, to join Him in this work of renewal on earth. The signs of His kingdom coming are salvation, joy, peace, justice, God’s presence, belonging, and healing. (Revelation 21:5)
We affirm that the doctrines of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and salvation by grace through faith make up the essential, distinctive nature of Christianity. We acknowledge that there are peripheral, nonessential doctrines that are important to fellow believers but may not be critical to salvation. While COTC may hold positions on these nonessentials, we will not allow these doctrines to cause division within the church. We will accept into our body those who have differing views on the nonessential doctrines but will not allow those of a different opinion to fracture the church.
The faithful Christian life bears witness to the Kingdom of God, offering an alternative expression for how human beings flourish. Christian faithfulness is encouraged in the central themes of Jesus’ 14 teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and as affirmed throughout the whole of Scripture, that the Jesus follower has a countercultural approach to the carnal temptations surrounding money, sex, and power.
In regards to Money, Christians are Generous
In regards to Sex, Christians are Faithful
In regards to Power, Christians Serve Others
GENEROUS WITH TIME AND MONEY
God is a generous God who gives generously to all without finding fault. God demonstrates generosity in not sparing the Son, but freely giving him to us (Rom. 8). Paul says of Christ, “He who was rich became poor that by his poverty we might become rich.” Generosity is at the heart of who God is and it is at the heart of the kind of people he invites us to become. Generosity is about more than money. It is about time and abilities as well. We are stewards, meant to see life as a gift that is stewarded for the glory of God. In the bible, this fundamentally means we take on a vision of abundance over scarcity.
FAITHFUL PRACTICE OF GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX
We believe scripture reveals and affirms God’s design in creation that sex is designed to be enjoyed between one man and one woman inside a covenant marriage, all else are to remain single or celibate.
For those who are unmarried, our church desires to be a place to find intimacy of relationship through the broader household of faith. For those who struggle with sexual addictions or sexual desire outside of God’s boundaries, our church desires to be a place to pursue self-denial in obedience to Christ.
LEVERAGE OUR POWER TO SERVE OTHERS
In our corruption by sin, power is often exercised to abuse and exploit others. We exalt ourselves, claiming superiority of gender, race, or social status. Paul counters all these marks of power abuse with his requirement that those who are filled by God’s Spirit should submit to one another for Christ’s sake. Such mutual submission and reciprocal love is to be expressed in marriage, family, and socio-economic relations. Jesus teaching on power is crucial here. There arose a reasoning among the disciples, which would be the greatest. Jesus rebuked this mentality calling them to humble service. He said of himself, “The Son of man has not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This is the pattern of Jesus for power and he invites us to use any power of status, money or influence for the benefit of others, not ourselves.