Vision– Putting the light of Jesus Christ on display in every dark corner of Nashville by mobilized believers who are transformed into their identity in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, connected in love, and moved by compassion.
Mission– Mobilizing every believer to be a transformed disciple-maker, connected in love to take the gospel to every person and to be the church in every place.
- Strong in the Word and Spirit– We don’t just study the Word. We do God’s Word in the power of God’s Spirit. We love the Word of God and the Holy Spirit who writes that same Word on our hearts to make us living letters. We recognize the Holy Spirit by the Word, and embrace all He does in the Scriptures for our lives today.
- De-centralized Ministry through Every Believer– We equip every believer to be an effective a ambassador for Christ, and a fully empowered disciple-maker. We aren’t trying to bring the world to church. We are going into all the world. We aren’t trying to gather spectators or to be super stars. We are servants mobilizing disciple-makers.
- Multiplying Christ-centered Communities. We don’t live individualistically. We connect relationally to share the life and mission of Christ together. We keep ministry simple, relational, and Christ-centered.
- Christ-centered Understanding and Transformation– We aren’t chasing our best life now. We pursue Christ’s life now, that He may be formed in us and displayed through us in every situation. Jesus is the Word made flesh, our clearest picture of the fullness of the Father, and the full display of the life He lives in us today. We are being transformed into His image as we evaluate everything, not by our traditions or personal experiences, but according to Christ. We don’t change Him. We are letting Him change us to be like Him.
- Engaging the community through wholistic Kingdom Mission– We don’t sit back and wait for God to move. God moves through us. We maximize every opportunity to bring His Kingdom into the whole world, especially to the last, the lost, and the least. We value every believer as a minister of the gospel, a maker of disciples, and empowered priests in Christ’s body. We embrace our vocations as our part of our calling represent Jesus in this world. We champion all that God wants to do through one another.
- Christ-centered Freedom, Harmony, and Unity– We don’t do manipulation, pressure, and control. We honor the freedom we have in Christ as we support one another in our pursuit of holiness before God and harmony with one another. We major on the majors and minor on the minors to give one another the respect and support we would want for ourselves as we grow together in Christ. We may play different notes, but through Christ we harmonize.
- Passionate love for Jesus expressed in whole-hearted redeeming love for people– Spiritual maturity is not measured in faithful attendance, Bible knowledge, or rigid rule-keeping. We focus on keeping the fire of our hearts burning bright with flaming hot love for Jesus Christ that is expressed in sacrificial redeeming love for all people. This is more than warm fuzzy feelings during the worship service or a ministry strategy. This is laying your life down to pour out the life of Christ to others as worship to God because Jesus is worthy!
Tactics are methods, the practical means or methods of carrying out the mission and vision. Methods are flexible and may change and be adapted. What follows is therefore a starting point that will develop and change over time.
- “Love” is our only ministry. Identity is established in Christ, not through ministry– While we do talk about “methods” or “tactics” of ministry, two things which are really only one have to be established. Our only ministry is to love others in the love of Christ. Without love there is NO ministry, no matter what spiritual gifts we may possess or tactics we may use. God’s love flows through us as we become established in our identity in Christ. We don’t get our identity from our ministry, our gifts, or how God may use us. We get our identity from Jesus Christ. Ministry is a practical overflow of God’s love that flows from being rooted in Christ to help establish and encourage others in this same gospel reality.
- Reproducible, Relational, and Participatory Ministry Methods– We model ministry that every believer can attain and emulate at all levels to promote the multiplication of the Kingdom through the ministry of every believer. We are Word directed, Spirit led, and relationally responsive, not program driven. Our priority is not to use people to serve in programs in the church. We are equipping, connecting, and releasing people to serve Christ in the community.
- Intentional Mentoring– Every new person receives a “sponsor” to help them get established in foundational discipleship. Mentoring involves more than just teaching. Mentoring is personal training in the context of a supportive personal relationship that provides Modeling (show them), Explanation/Equipping (teach them), Observation (watch them do it with you), Release (support them from a distance as they do it on their own). Mentoring is serving, supporting, and encouraging believers to develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ through dependence upon the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
- Mobilize De-centralized/ Relationally connected ministry in Groups of 2 to 4 and Life Teams. Foundational discipleship takes place in groups of 2 to 4. Ongoing discipleship takes place in Life Teams. Life Teams support disciple makers as they mentor newer believers in groups of 2 to 4.
- Rapid Disciple Multiplication by Foundational Discipleship through personal relationships- Every believer will be equipped with a solid foundation and begin to repeat this process with others within one year through personal mentoring. Foundational Discipleship establishes new believers with the truths and skills to 1. Start in Christ, 2. Grow in Christ, and 3. Reproduce in Christ. Implementation and lifestyle change, not mere knowledge, is the focus for Foundational Discipleship. (It is not uncommon to stay on one lesson for several weeks until implementation has taken place.)
-Advantages of Multiplication through mentoring:
1. Relevance- foundational equipping essential for new believers, adapted to the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual
2. Relationships-Enhances personal support and personal pastoral care and solidifies assimilation into the body of Christ
3. Rapid- New believers can quickly become self-feeding, empowered, and equipped for ministry.
4. Responsible- Matures the body of Christ as believers become disciple- makers
- Life Teams-Ongoing discipleship will take place in de-centralized Life Teams that function as spiritual families, brothers and sisters in Christ that are watched over by spiritual fathers and mothers. Life Teams are lay-led Christian fellowships, spiritual families, made up of trained disciple-makers (believers who have completed and implemented foundational discipleship training) that meet for ongoing growth, support, encouragement, and mission. Life Teams work together to fulfill the mission of the Kingdom and to multiply disciples.
- Three Third Meetings- We utilize Three-Thirds Meetings to foster healthy growth in our Discovery Studies, Life Teams, and in Groups of 2 to 4. In a “Three Thirds” meeting, we divide meetings across three areas of focus to cover the following:
- Look Back: Prayer and Praise, Review, Share Highlights (for praise and thanks and Challenges (for prayer and support)
- Lesson: Vision Casting, Participatory Bible Lesson
- Look Out: Practicing Ministry Skills, Goal Setting/Planning for Ministry Outreach, Prayer
- Lesson: Vision Casting, Participatory Bible Lesson
- Look Back: Prayer and Praise, Review, Share Highlights (for praise and thanks and Challenges (for prayer and support)
- Leadership Multiplication through Apprenticeship– Every believer will be mentored to become an effective disciple maker. Every Life Team leader will have a goal to apprentice at least 2 future Life Team leaders, spiritual “Fathers and Mothers” who are looking after their spiritual families. Life Team leaders and apprentices will be part of a leadership community which supports ongoing personal development for leaders and connected/coordinated corporate growth.
- Family and Hospitality– We support the nuclear family and relate to one another as God’s family. We will encourage hospitality. We don’t choose between family and ministry. Ministry starts with family. Ministry also includes the family. We do Kingdom living with our families and include them in a lifestyle of mission, service, and connection in the body of Christ to the degree that it is appropriate and possible.
- Intentional Compassion– We intentionally engage those trapped in darkness without fear to bring liberty and life to the captives, the helpless, and the hopeless. Every Life Team and/or group of 2 to 4 will be encouraged to prayerfully set goals and to execute a regular plan to advance God’s Kingdom among the lost.
- Intentional and Diverse Evangelism, Outreach, and Service. Every believer is included in the command to preach the gospel, live as an ambassador of Jesus Christ, and to make disciples. Therefore, we equip believers in a multitude of approaches to share Jesus intentionally and as a lifestyle to enable every believer to find their unique style.
- Some of the approaches & skills equip believers to employ include:
- Starting and Leading Discovery Bible Studies
- Sharing Testimonies
- Power Evangelism
- Simple Gospel- 3 Circle Gospel Presentation & Good Person Test
- Friendship Evangelism
- Interactive Prayer Walking/ Stranger Evangelism
- Service Outreach/ Evangelism
- Crisis Intervention/Support Evangelism
- Basic Apologetics (Answering Objections)
- Permeating society with the gospel by working through (not against) existing relationship networks- In the New Testament, the gospel spread primarily along the lines of pre-existing relationship networks (friendship circles). We equip believers to saturate new pockets of society with the gospel by adopting this same approach. In other words, instead of trying to pull seekers and new converts out of their pre-existing relationships to get them to come to church (which disconnects them from pre-existing relationships) we place a higher priority on coming alongside seekers and new converts to bring the gospel into “their world” through these relationships, resulting in new groups of disciples, expanding the church organically as an ever increasing network of spiritually and relationally connected believers that permeate all levels of society with the light of Jesus.
- Congregation of Spiritual Families- We believe our spiritual families (Life Teams) are central to our congregational life together. Rather than a congregation of individual attenders, we will be a congregation of disciple-making teams (Life Teams). In other words, the congregational meetings exist to strengthen and support the Life Teams and not vice versa. Congregational gatherings are supplements to the main meal, which we “eat” in our life together in spiritual families (Life Teams). As such, we will adjust the frequency and focus of our congregational gathers to maintain this focus.
- Celebration and Testimony- We will encourage regular public sharing of testimonies to highlight what God is doing through regular believers out in the world as a means of provoking one another to love and good deeds and as an opportunity for celebration, praise and thanksgiving to God. We celebrate steps of love and obedience, not merely “success”.
- Unleash the Power of God’s Word by employing a balanced mix of preaching, teaching, and practical equipping. As a general practice, we will preach through complete books or longer sections of Scripture to help us to be faithful and balanced in our teaching by requiring us to address passages and topics in context as they arise in the Word and not merely play to our own biases. Furthermore, we will have regular opportunities for Questions and Answer sessions so that issues that are important and relevant to the congregation can be addressed. Lastly we will also have regular sessions of hands-on-training that will impart skills that are important to the Christian life and ministry so that we are practically equipped with the know-how to be effective in our faith and not merely people who hear the Word.
- Christ-centered ministry- Jesus Christ is the center of God’s plan, the fullness of God’s self-revelation, as well as the foundation, center, head, supply, and connection of His body, the church. Paul said, “I preach Christ, to present everyone complete in Christ.” We don’t merely preach Bible verses, or Scriptural principles. We preach a living and present Savior, a glorious fully divine and amazingly human person, who is our Lord, our Savior, our Prophet, our Priest and our King, the one through whom and for whom all things exist, who is Alpha and Omega, in whom is hidden all the wisdom of God, who has become to us righteousness, sanctification, salvation, healing, deliverance, provision, protection, and joy, the one who now, by the Holy Spirit, dwells in us to live through us, our hope of glory, the one whom God says IS our life, our true identity to the Father and one another, in whom are all the promises of God fulfilled, through whom we have been redeemed, adopted, and eternally blessed… we preach Jesus Christ, that we may know Him and be found in Him, in the power of His resurrection, in the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to sacrificial obedience to the Father and love for His enemies… He is our ALL in ALL. As such, Jesus Christ shall be central in our lives, our ministry, and our messages, so that every topic from every verse in Scripture is seen in it’s connection to Him, for He Himself is the very Word of God made flesh.
- Christ-centered Authentic Contemporary expressions of Musical Worship, Media, and Arts- We are not in the entertainment business and congregational assemblies are not a show. However, creativity can be a powerful expression of God’s glory when done in the right spirit and combined with authenticity, virtue, and truth. We will worship God in Spirit and truth with songs, hymns, and spiritual songs with percussion, strings, all manner of instruments, and voices. Songs that express God’s Word through the Holy Spirit must also flow from our heart. Therefore, we value corporate musical expression that fosters, supports, and expresses authentic heart-engagement with God over the performance itself, and value spiritual substance over tune or technique. Dance and drama can also have a place in expressing our hearts to God and portraying Biblical truths to illustrate the gospel. Visual arts (painting, graphic arts, videography, photography, etc.) can also inspire devotion to God. We embrace it all but allow all artistic expression to be directed, governed, and limited to the degree that God’s glory rather than our performance, remains the focus. We will remain ever dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit through the gospel to grow the church and refuse to be caught up in “entertaining the flesh”, or trying to attract attenders by a “good showing in the flesh”, nor on the other hand will we be held back in our congregation by fear of man that is rooted in religious tradition. Rather, as the Holy Spirit leads, we use our talents to freely express our love for God, to encourage the body, and to demonstrate God’s glorious grace with godly freedom.
- Body Ministry- We will equip and deploy the body of Christ so that Jesus can express Himself through His people to respond to God and to minister effectively to one another in love not only as we are scattered, but also as we are gathered corporately. Centralized expressions of the body are important but the primary focus of our energy will remain focused on living in Christ and the ministry of believers out in the world. We will adjust our corporate gatherings to maximize our effectiveness at making disciples.
Both Centralized and De-centralized
- Love One Another as Christ Loved Us- We seek to live in contrast to the self-centered, consumer oriented, program driven, personally disconnected version of “church” that is often prevalent in today’s modern American church. Instead, we will make growing in the love of Christ our chief aim, which requires authentic Christ-centered relationships and the determination to believe the best of one another, serve one another, to speak the truth in love to one another in the Spirit of Christ, and the determination to forgive one another for our short-comings as we grow in this endeavor. We seek to be vessels of Christ to one another and to treat one another with the honor the gospel requires at all times.
- Develop Lifestyle of Worship, Communion with God, and Prayer– Without prayer, we work. Through prayer, God works. Prayer, worship, and enjoying fellowship with God is central to our corporate and personal lifestyle. We are priests unto God and living sacrifices of worship.
- Radical Generosity- Because God is amazingly generous and people are incredibly selfish, our journey towards godliness involves a radical shift in our hearts that will result in spontaneous, cheerful, and a purposeful lifestyle of generosity with our money, our possessions, our talents, and our hearts. We will foster a lifestyle of overflowing generosity by walking in freedom from greed and selfishness by developing a congregational culture and individual lifestyles in which generosity is clearly motivated by faith and love, not guilt, and empowered by joyful freedom, rather than pressure.
- Connect and Serve the whole body of Christ Rather than Compete and exclude- We are a relationally connected movement that transcends organizational and denominational boundaries by focusing on “off campus” expressions of the church, decentralized ministry in homes, coffee shops, the streets, and the market place. We promote Christ, not ourselves, and the building of His Kingdom, not “our own” ministry. We happily connect, serve, and honor believers on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ regardless of whether they are “part of our ministry” or not. While many who participate in this ministry identify this as “their church” others remain connected in their won local churches. We encourage people to remain part of their current local church and to participate to whatever degree they want and to freely implement what they learn from us in their own context. We build up and bless the whole body of Christ with a Kingdom-minded perspective and expect the “water level” to rise for the whole region as a result.