Our Core Values
it is all about Jesus.
the Christian life happens within a community.
it is the parents' responsibility to disciple their children.
1. The first and most important core value is that it really is all about Jesus. We try to express this in all aspects of ministry. For example, the worship services are designed to be a time when He is honored, and He is the central focus of the music and message. We teach that the worship time is not just the singing, but also the proclamation of the Word. It is not a time to get our needs met, but to be a blessing to Christ in our attitudes and actions. We preach expositionally through entire books/letters of His Word with topical messages only given on specific holidays or when guest speakers come. We also stress that all of life is worship. The goal and prayer then becomes a request that we would respond to the circumstances of life in such a way that He is blessed and honored rather than asking God to make life easy, fun, and pain free. The foundation of this is the first and foremost commandment - Love God with everything ... and the second ...love your neighbor as yourself. We hope to be strongly evangelical because we have a Lord and Savior Who is more than worthy to be proclaimed. We have as a focus that evangelism is about proclamation not salvation. We proclaim in His Spirit and it is God Who saves. We have a God and Savior Who is worthy to be proclaimed.
2. The second is that the Christian life happens within a community. His Word is written in the context of community and Christians are in many places referenced as a group ... ie, Body, Bride, a people... The Christian growth and the expressions of worship to our Lord are in many/most cases lived out in the context of community. We try to schedule activities where we can fellowship and serve together. We are not promoting communal/cultish living. We respect and understand each individual's personal rights, responsibilities, and space. We trust in God and His Holy Spirit to lead people/individuals in the decisions that they need to make (i.e., we don't say or believe that anyone can say "I" know God's will for your life.) What we are hoping is that the Holy Spirit is creating a group of individuals who love Christ, and through and in that love, share meaningful relationships in the course of everyday life. The relationships at Stone Gate are far from perfect, but we are learning to forgive one another, overlook one another's imperfections and love one another. This does take time and for there to be time there needs to be commitment. Now, that is scary, and many people run the other direction when they hear "commitment." We view commitment as voluntary and as given unto our Lord. It is hoped for and not demanded, nor expected. With that said, commitment is important for those relationships that are the most meaningful to us are - those that have been forged over a long time through a variety of different circumstances and varying times of closeness. This takes commitment.
3. The third is that we believe that it is the parents' responsibility to disciple their children. The church is to come along side the parents, never to replace them. Thus, we do not have youth groups or college groups or children's church or children's Sunday school. Most all of the activities are designed to be inter-generational; this includes Sunday School. In a systematic theology class, we had ages ranges from 13 to 76. Most of our events are designed so that families and/or individuals/singles can participate. The church is not to be a collection of special interest groups. We want the attitude within the church/people to be, "How can I contribute to the entire body, not just to my own specific age or gender?" (As a parenthetical addition - we do want our children to be active in their worshipping Christ in all of life. They are seen as important contributors, not nuisances or individuals who need to be pampered or catered to. One way this is lived out is to give the kids ... soon becoming young adults... ministry opportunities that they would not normally have.)