We exist to see the Gospel transform people into Spirit-filled disciples, who know they are the beloved of God, because of Christ alone.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is at the center of our ministry. The 'gospel' is the good news that through Christ the power of God's kingdom has entered history to redeem us from our sins and to renew the whole world. In Jesus, God became man, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death and rose victoriously from the grave. In his death, he took our place, paying the penalty for our sins and experiencing the holy wrath of God. He rose again from the dead claiming final victory over sin, satan and death. When we believe and rely on Jesus' work and record, rather than our own, we receive the free gifts of forgiveness, salvation and righteousness. We are given a new relationship with God, new life through the Spirit, a new identity in Christ and a new mission for our lives.
Our Identity: The primary identity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is revealed in His baptism. The Holy Spirit descends on the Son, and the Father proclaims “You are my son, whom I love, with you I am well-pleased.” This is the same identity we receive when we trust in Christ. In that moment, we are united with Christ, and so we too are the beloved son and daughter of the Father, whom He loves, with whom He is well pleased.
Our Mission: Being firmly rooted in our identity as the beloved of God through Christ alone, we are compelled to go out into the world (both locally and globally) to share with others this good news. Christ commissions us when he says, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you (John 20:21).” Our mission is to be the “sent-ones,” who go into our community and our world, sharing the gospel and praying that it transforms them into Spirit-filled disciples who know that they are the beloved of God, through Christ alone.
Our Message: The gospel of Jesus Christ is the core of our message. We are committed to preaching and teaching the entire Scriptures faithfully. Jesus taught that all of Scripture testifies about him (Luke 24:27). Therefore, our preaching and teaching will be centered on proclaiming Christ and His gospel. The gospel needs to be preached to both the unbeliever and the believer. For the unbeliever it is the power of God for their salvation. For the believer is the power of God for their sustenance and their on-going sanctification. We want to teach our people to preach the gospel to themselves daily, as they spend time in the Word and in prayer.
Prayer is a gift made possible by the work of Jesus Christ. As children of God, we now have access to His presence and power. In prayer we recognize our utter dependence on the Spirit to transform us into Christ’s likeness and to empower us for His mission. One of the great sins of today is our self-reliance or self-dependence. Instead of boasting in our weakness and relying fully on His perfect strength and grace, we rely on our own strength. In prayer, this lie is torn down, and we find ourselves fully surrendered to Christ, in a position of humility and submission. At the same time, knowing our standing in Christ, we boldly come to the throne of grace seeking mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We practice such dependent prayer weekly during our worship service, but also during gatherings devoted to prayer. We also want to teach and encourage our people to set aside a specific time and place each day to seek God in prayer.
All of us are created to worship. We were created to worship the one and only true God, but in our sin, we have worshipped created things, rather than the creator (Romans 1:25). Through the gospel, our hearts are transformed, and we are redeemed so that we can worship Christ alone. Worship is not passive or a repetitive routine. Worship that is in truth and in the Spirit, is to be passionate, alive and expressive. We follow David’s example, who worshipped “before the Lord with all his might (2 Samuel 6:14).” We want to do this in our corporate gatherings in the weekend services, as well as privately in our times spent with God. Worship includes, passionately engaging in praise, joyfully hearing the Word of God, gratefully participating in the sacraments and cheerfully giving our tithes and offerings.
We live, as sent-ones, on mission for God wherever we go and whatever we do. Living missionally touches every arena of our lives, as we seek opportunities to share the love of Christ to everyone and in every way. Being missional includes the following:
Missions & Evangelism: Jesus had a passion for the lost. We must grow to have the same heart and passion as Christ. Our passion is see the lost come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, both in our local communities and among the nations. We intentionally share the gospel, both with our lives and our words, as we go into our communities and to the nations.
Mercy & Social Concern: Jesus also had a passion for the “least of these,” including the poor, the hungry, the orphaned and others in extreme need. We are committed to being a light to the community around us. We want to impact and bless our community by identifying and addressing the extreme needs all around us. As part of our strategy, we will seek to partner with existing ministries to most effectively meet the needs of the community in sustainable ways.
Radical generosity: One of the evidences of how much the gospel has changed us is in our generosity. Knowing the “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9),” we are moved to radical generosity, so that others may be blessed and ultimately give thanks and glory to God.
Church planting: We are a church committed to reproducing and multiplying. The goal of our mission is for the expansion of the Kingdom of God, not merely our local church. We want to be a church that plants churches that plants churches. We want to recruit, train and support other pastors, leaders and core team members to be on mission through planting of local churches throughout the US and the world.
This is the ethos of our ministry. Our God is a relational God, eternally enjoying the community and love within the Trinity. Part of being created in God’s image means that we are created to be in a living, dynamic relationship with God and with one another. Our ministry flows from people who are in relationship with their God, and seek out authentic, caring relationships with others. Christ gave us this relational model of ministry, in the way he poured himself out to his disciples, in the way he dined with sinners and in the way he loved those around him. We want to model this same relational ministry.
Fellowship, Community & Discipleship: We seek to do life together the way the early church modeled community. We seek to be intentional about sharing our lives with each other through encouragement, generosity, speaking the Word to one another, serving one another, confessing sins to one another, praying and building each other up in Christ. We will do this through small groups (Life Groups) that will meet regularly. Fellowship comes from a shared identity as children of God, a shared service and mission, and a shared responsibility to one another (adapted from John Stott.) We believe that a significant part of true discipleship happens as believers do life together.
Pastor Dave Johnson graduated from The College at Southeastern with a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy and Biblical Studies. He also earned his Masters of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Julie moved to Chicago from North Carolina following a call to church plant. Dave has ministered to youth and adults for many years in churches in NC. He has a passion for discipleship and for seeing the Gospel transform people’s lives. He and his wife enjoy counseling others in their marriages, relationships, and personal walks with God. They have four children and enjoy raising them in the city. Dave loves colder weather, even Chicago’s winters. He also likes to play guitar, golf, try new food, and traveling to other countries. Dave has become a big Cubs fan since he decided to move to Chicago and believes that his moving here must have had something to do with them winning the World Series.