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On Gospel Centrality
Why we must be Gospel-centered:
- Romans 1:16-17; I Corinthians 15:1-11; Romans 5:1-2; II Corinthians 5:16-20; John 14:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15; II Peter 1:5-9; Ephesians 2:8-9
- The Gospel is at the center of everything we do at Harvest, from our worship, to our teaching, to our prayers, to our missions, and in all of our discipleship communities.
- Our focus in each of these contexts will be on who we are IN Christ and not what we do FOR Christ. We want to be a people who love, serve, and minister FROM approval and not FOR approval.
- If we ARE a Gospel-centered people, then we WILL be a people moved by the Gospel to love one another, serve the least of these, grow together in grace, cherish diversity, care about all nations, make disciples, and plant churches. But if we lead with any of those things, and as follows the Gospel is secondary, then we will inevitably compromise the beauty and centrality of the Gospel for the salvation and joy of all peoples.
Why we are so intentional about disciple-making:
- Matthew 4:19, 28:16-20; Romans 12:1,2; 2 Timothy 2:2
- In His Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations…”
- We believe, by God’s grace, every member of the church is to be a disciple of Christ, and every disciple of Christ is to be a disciple-maker.
- We believe people transformed, and being transformed, by the Gospel, will desire to love God and love others as the natural response to the work of the Gospel in their own lives. The church is to then equip them for the work of the ministry! (Ephesians 4)
- In other words, the Gospel’s work is to move us to make disciples. The church’s work is to equip us to make disciples.
- We are therefore committed to preaching the Gospel, and letting the Gospel do its transforming work in the context of our community, as we love, shepherd, and equip one another for making disciples.
The Church as a Family of Families
- Genesis 1:26-28, 2:15-25; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; Psalms 78:1-8; 127, 128, 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6; 31:10-31; Ephesians 5:21-33, 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4
- We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of society and the primary context for discipleship.
- Families are composed of people related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Husband and wife are both made in God’s image and have equal value before God; while at the same time possessing distinct roles in the marriage. The husband is to gently lead and sacrificially love his wife as Christ loved the church and the wife is to graciously submit herself to her husband as the church willingly submits to Christ.
- We believe that children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and inheritance from the Lord. Parents are to patiently lead their children in the ways of Christ by intentional instruction, gracious discipline, and consistent example based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents for the glory of God and their ultimate good.
- We believe the family is not only the first context created by God for making disciples, but the primary context for the discipleship of our children. Therefore, a core value of Harvest is ministering to families in a way that helps them to “raise their children in the training and instruction of the Lord”. (Eph.6:4) We want our church to serve as a compliment to the ministry happening in each of our homes.
- We see the church not as an institution, organization, or business, but rather a family of families.
On Expository Preaching
Why we preach the Word:
- Romans 1:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12
- We believe the Bible is the inerrant, authoritative, infallible Word of God.
- We believe the Word of God, enabled by the Spirit of God, has the power to change lives. We do not desire to promote the latest and greatest ideas for life-improvement; rather, we seek to preach the Word, giving light to the God-breathed, life transforming eternal truths that we desperately need to hear in order to have life, hope, and freedom in Christ.
On Authentic Community
Why Community is vital:
- Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:24-25; Galatians 6:2; II Timothy 2:2
- We believe the church is a family, and the life-breath of any healthy family is transparency, intimacy, and grace.
- We seek to build a family and not merely an organization, in which people can be truly known and genuinely loved.
- We believe transparency is key for intimacy and intimacy among our community is key for bearing one another’s burdens, being united in love, being on mission together, and growing in the grace of the Gospel.
- We encourage participation in a one or more of our Discipleship Communities, which include Sunday School classes, Harvest Groups, and Core Seminars, all of which are great opportunities to grow and connect, and build authentic community with those in our same season of life as well as across generational lines.
On Being a Missional Church
- Matt.25:35-40; Acts 1:8
- We desire to share the love of Christ with those in our immediate context of the greater Memphis area by any strategic means possible. We want to have compassion on those who are hurting, and consider it a great privilege to be able to respond in love to those in need around us just as Christ has first reached out in love to us in our great need.
- We hope to adopt ministries that already exist and create ministries that are needed but do not exist in order to engage in ministry to the least of these in our community. (This would include prison ministry, adoption, human trafficking, recovery ministries, mercy ministries, international ministries, etc)
- Harvest Groups provide a great opportunity for our church to embrace local missions right where we are. These groups come together bi-monthly to pray and plan for missional opportunities that they can pursue together in a specific community in the greater Memphis area.
- Psalm 96:3; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14; Acts 1:8; I Thessalonians 1:4-8; Romans 10:14-15
- Jesus said “Make disciples of ALL nations”.
- We want our vision and strategy at Harvest to align with His.
- Our strategy will be to come alongside indigenous leaders across the globe with our prayers, service, financial support, and theological and discipleship training so that they might more deeply love Jesus, and more effectively make disciples of Christ.
Prayer as fuel of our church:
- Psalm 145:18; Matthew 7:7; James 5:14-16; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7
- We believe prayer is our great privilege as children of God. We believe prayer not only allows us to lay our hearts at the very throne room of God but allows God a special fluidity to bend our will to His; thus, we believe prayer is vital to our growth and humility in Christ.
- We desire to see thousands of people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and this a work of God, and thus the greatest weapon we have in order to see our desire become a reality is prayer. We plead with God for the salvation of the lost and the glory of our God to be made known among the nations.
- We believe that being a praying church will allow us to be an expectant church, believing that God hears our prayers and desires to answer them according to His Sovereign pleasure and for the sake of His glory.
- Acts 1:8; Revelation 5:9-10, 7:9-10
- If Revelation 5 is where the Great Commission is complete, then we want to pursue that end with great intentionality in the present life of our church.
- We see the great privilege and redemptive witness of a diverse community that is ONE in Christ.
- We recognize that part of our witness to the world as the Church is our unity amidst our diversity. We are a people transformed by the Gospel into a family who love one another despite our differences. Our love for a common Savior overwhelms that which commonly divides. The more diverse the community, the more powerful this witness. Thus we cherish diversity in our Body.
On Church Planting
Urgency for Planting:
- Acts 1:8; Acts 11; Acts 16 and following…
- There are currently between 600,000-700,000 non-churched people in the greater Memphis community.
- We believe that healthy church planting is the most effective strategy for reaching lost people and seeing the Name of Christ exalted among the nations.
- Therefore we want to be a church that plants churches.
- We believe it to be the aim, the privilege, and even the responsibility of the local church to raise up leaders and plant churches for the peace of the city and the advancement of the Gospel.
- We hope to plant churches both in our city and around the world.