God’s Word tells us who we’re called to be as a church. These are the biblical principles that shape and guide all ministry at St. Matthew Lutheran Church and help us understand who we’re called to be as a church. This is our purpose, and this is our passion. This is who we are…
Core Values of St. Matthew Lutheran Church
1. Our faith – who we are in Christ – is the most important thing about us.
We believe that the radically transformational power of grace can change us, and change our lives, opening our eyes to see God’s world and our place in it as never before. Living in Christ changes everything, changes our priorities, our values, our relationships, our very lives. We come to church to recharge and reorder our lives, experiencing recovery, renewal, reconciliation, revitalization, and re-creation as people with a brand-new attitude and outlook on life. When our lives are grounded and centered in Christ, everything else is seen from a different perspective. Jesus is life, the rest is details – almost all the things we worry about in life are mere details compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ. As those who believe in God we find our identity in Christ, not in who the world says we are. It’s not our family, education, career, social standing, financial status, accomplishments or failures that define us because the most important thing about us is what we think about when we think about God. Who we are in Christ – our relationship with Jesus Christ defines our lives.
2. We are called to love ALL people
God’s Word, and our mission statement, proclaims that we are called to “share the love of God with ALL people.” God is love; as followers of Jesus Christ we’re called to put off selfishness and live our lives in the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is who we’re called to be in every relationship we have, and to every person we encounter, for God’s Word says, “They shall know us by our love.”
3. We worship and serve the Lord, not church tradition.
We are not called to teach people to love tradition, we are called to teach people to love God and live in Christ as we ourselves love God and live in Christ. Where tradition helps to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and further the mission of our church, we cherish and embrace it. Where tradition becomes a wall between God and his people, we reject it. Although the good news of Jesus Christ never changes and is for all people of every place and time, the manner in which it’s proclaimed must change for it to be communicated effectively in an ever-changing world.
4. We are called to grow as followers of Jesus.
Church membership – merely having one’s name on a church membership roster – is not what being a growing, life-giving church is all about. What matters most is active participation in a faith community and personal growth in Christ; it’s not about membership, it’s all about being a follower of Jesus! Our mission statement says we aspire to “grow in faith,” meaning me seek maturity in Christ.
5. God calls us to unity in Jesus Christ.
Although we’re all different in our own ways, with varied preference and ideas about what a church should be, we unite and gather around God’s Word and Sacraments united in God’s mission for the life of the world. We strive to be gracious and gentle with one another, remembering that God calls us to love one another.