What We Believe

Our vision statement:church

“Living fully in Christ through His Word, community and mission.”

Living fully

The Christian life is a dynamic, overflowing experience.  Jesus said that He came to bring us an abundant life – one that overflows with a sense of purpose, a central peace, a freedom from crushing guilt, and a joy that comes from being in a right relationship with God and with people around us.  This is the life we were created to have.  It’s what we’re all thirsting for.  Jesus described it to a seeker as a spring that bubbles up within us and never runs dry.

Living fully in Christ

The source of this abundant life, however, isn’t a system of ethics.  It’s not religious ritual.  It’s not a self-initiated morality.  It’s a relationship with the Creator through His Son, Jesus, who stood in our place to receive the punishment our sins deserved.  For those who believe, His death and resurrection restore that connection to God that He desired from the start.  And that reconnection shapes how we live our lives: we find our daily purpose and power in Christ.  We live in Him.  Little by little, we become more like Him.

fromacrossthebridge1What enables us to live this dynamic life in Christ?  We, at First Pres, see three essential components:

His Word

Far more than a simple moral guide, the Bible is the authoritative source for understanding God and how to relate to Him.  It is God’s inspired and reliable Word.  And though it can be challenging to understand, we’re eager to engage Scripture because we see in it God’s great desire to open a dialogue with us – He speaks through His Word, showing us how to rightly respond to Him in prayer and worship.  And the Bible guides our actions as well.  What we learn about God and ourselves through personal study, preaching and small group discussion shapes the way we live.

Community

When we come to Christ, we’re adopted into a spiritual family.  We’re not alone any more.  God reveals Himself in a special way to the community of believers that cannot be experienced by individuals.  His grace is made real through the ways we care and serve each other.  Because we all see ourselves as flawed but forgiven, we can build real trust and accountability. As we share our lives, we experience what the Bible calls true fellowship.

Mission

As God shares His heart with us through His Word and through other followers of Christ, our hearts overflow with a desire to bless those around us.  We realize that the spring of life within us is not meant just for us, but to satisfy the spiritual thirst of people He has put in our lives – not only here in our local communities, but across the world.  He calls us to give and to get involved.  And as we do, we find ourselves drawing closer to Jesus and to each other.

At The Church By the River, we know we’ve still got much room to grow in these areas.  But our vision is of what God desires us to be.  And we’re excited about the journey!