Traditionally when someone finds a “what we believe” link on a church website they find an abbreviated, “canned” commentary on various doctrines that church adheres to. We, at Church by the Glades, are not very good at being “canned.” Instead, we value being original, creative and, above all, honest. Read on to discover what we believe and who we honestly strive to be.
It all begins with God. We believe He is the Creator of all. That He is unlimited, unchanging and that He needs for nothing. And yet in needing nothing, He chooses US. Personally and individually He seeks out His creation – You and me. In His pursuit He shows Himself compassionate and merciful, though sometimes our view of this is clouded because our world is broken – A result of our choices not His. But even in the midst of our failed choices, He chooses redemption. He is Active. Involved. The sum of which is unconditional, unrelenting LOVE.
Jesus Christ is the heartbeat of all we do. He is the most extraordinary and exciting presence to ever walk our planet. This is amazingly profound because for 2000 years He has wonderfully, radically and eternally changed people’s lives. And…He used a cross to do it. A cross where He died in order to pay the price for my brokenness and yours. Simply put – He paid what we owed. But it didn’t end there. He was resurrected and eternally lives to bridge the chasm between God and us. Though He walked the earth over 2000 years ago, He still desires to have relationship with the people of today. He is God’s Son and He IS God. Virgin born. God with skin on. Savior to anyone who believes His message. We view His full humanity and full God-ness as gloriously mysterious, yet simple enough for anyone who says, “I want to know YOU”.
All people are God-made which means all people are God-valued. We are filled with unlimited potential, yet tragically flawed. Calvary (where Jesus Christ died on the cross) proves people matter to God—they matter to us, too.
Disillusioned, disenfranchised, skeptical, and bored, this generation is spiritually hungry yet often untouched and unmoved by what it experiences in its limited encounter with church (more on this below). The world is full of broken people. Cultured orphans. Skeptical of the “absolute” yet longing for a standard. Broken hearts rail against truth, while desperately seeking it. They constantly strive for something more, hoping that just “one more thing” will suffice their craving – not knowing that their hunger is for Christ…The only One who can satisfy.
You and I suffer from a spiritual disease called sin. Minimize it, excuse it, deny it; it’s real and it’s a big deal in the eyes of a just God. Yes, humankind is made in God’s image and is filled with potential, but we are also simultaneously flawed beyond the point of being able to fix ourselves (anyone who has tried, knows). Given this irreparable problem of sin – apart from God – we are in a hopeless state. Appraised in a divine economy, it’s spiritual treason. You and I are rebels. Depressing, huh? Sounds hopeless? It is…except for the fact that this same God has a soft spot for rebels.
Finding God is not something we initiate; it is Someone we respond to. Though we were unaware, He loved us first. He sought US out. We know this because He has given us an entirely trustworthy revelation, a divine book – HIS BOOK. The Bible. His words tell us of His original love. Though written by human authors, its ultimate author is God Himself. He supernaturally inspired every word from beginning to end using the pens of different authors from different generations in different cultures. Through all of this, it is the most current and relevant book the world has known and will ever know. It is perfect in its truth. It is wholly consistent in its theme. It has stood the test of time. It is a book for the nations, yet simultaneously a personal love letter to you. In a word, it is our standard.
Though possessing the ultimate truth, the Church is often guilty of dumbing down and dulling down the life-altering message of Jesus Christ. Lost in confusing jargon, bogged down in doctrinal minutia – simply said – the church has not stayed current. Though not perfect, we seek to be authentic. We desire creative community that presents God-truth in uncompromising but culturally relevant ways. We seek to promote spirituality and acceptance without the trappings and pretense of organized religion. We adjust to what morphs – styles and methods. We fiercely cling to the sacred and unchanging – our God and His Gospel. To stay relevant we remember: “God is; Church evolves.”
A FAITH NATION
“Diversity” is a word commonly used to describe the people who attend our worship services. And we love it! We are one people, yet profoundly different. One family, yet culturally diverse. All with unique backgrounds, burdens and baggage, yet with similar dreams and desires. Though we are all uniquely created individuals, we believe that everyone longs for relationship with their Creator. We are spiritual beings, therefore we crave spiritual relationships, both with God and one another. We believe in fostering these relationships by celebrating our God-given differences (culture, race and gender) AND our God-given commonalities (a deep desire to connect with the One, True God, and with one another). Simply put, we seek to cultivate community.
You and I were created to live forever. Some treat Heaven like a fairytale, a myth that Christians conjured up to bolster excitement when life on earth seemed too bleak or drab. The Bible presents Heaven very differently: A place that is perfect, amazing and very REAL. More real than anything you can touch in this present realm. The problem is you can’t get there on your own (remember that “rebel thing”?) Try as you might through morality, religion, charitable activity, positive thinking – it’s not enough. Christ is the only way. His cross is the cure for our sin. And the best part, receiving salvation (forgiveness, acceptance, Heaven, God’s Spirit) is as a gift. It’s not something you work for. It’s not something you can earn. You can’t buy it. It’s purely a GIFT. Far from cheap, but FREE. It’s as simple as putting your faith in Christ.
A GLOBAL MISSION
Jesus saves. This is a truth too amazing to keep to ourselves. It is a truth that houses eternal life, purpose, cleansing, peace, and acceptance. It is a righteous revolution that is for all people – hope, healing, heaven. Because this truth can only be found in a relationship with Christ, we are not ashamed to share it with all we know…It is a truth so transforming we will take it to our neighbors; we will take it to the nations. Some see this as narrow and small-minded; we see it as so gracious and revolutionary, to keep it to ourselves would be criminal.