The Matrix of the Church
As of 2009, the US Census Bureau recognizes over 256,000 churches in America. To most thinkers this would prompt the question, If there are so many churches, why plant more? (This is not an attempt to justify why we advocate planting more churches. For an answer to this question see Tim Keller’s article "Why Plant Churches?")
The simple answer to this question is that churches are different; different in denominational affiliation, theology, and ministry philosophy. To communicate these differences, many churches adopt and display statements of faith, mission statements, and vision statements. But churches are also different in emphasis. To communicate varying emphases, many churches are employing core values. These core values helpfully communicate the “flavor” or “DNA” of the church.
So what is the “flavor” of Cornerstone Church – MB? I’m glad you asked. In lue of a long string of core values that may be difficult for some to remember, we have chosen the maxim: Gospel. Community. Mission. Let me briefly explain.
"Gospel. Community. Mission." encapsulates the essence or DNA of our church. In an attempt to “major on the majors” and “minor on the minors,” our people will constantly see and hear these three words. In our judgment, if we can get these three things right, the rest will follow.
The book of Acts lays out the establishment of the early church and in Acts 2:42-47 we see a deliberately descriptive portrait of the church.
Gospel. “And they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching…” The Gospel is the God-Centered good news that Christ has satisfied the wrath of God and that through faith estranged sinners may be made right with God. It is the means for salvation and has massive implications for daily living.
Community. “And they devoted themselves… to the fellowship…” Community is the fellowship of the redeemed and recognizes that Christ died for a People and intends that they should share “life together.”
Mission. “And the Lord added to their number daily…” Mission acknowledges that the Church has been given a task. Our task is to proclaim the news of salvation and to make disciples of all the peoples of the world.
The Matrix of the Church
One might say that Gospel, Community, and Mission are too closely related to differentiate. Well we agree, that’s why we identify it as a matrix. If we get Community and Mission but don’t get Gospel, then it all falls apart. If we get Gospel but don’t get Community or Mission, then we don’t really get Gospel. Need I keep going? We also would note that any more specific core values such as God-centered, discipleship, Biblical counseling, healthy families, church discipline, or right doctrine fit within one of the three emphases.