Our Core Values
What are Core Values?
They are fundamental priorities, biblical principles that help guide us as we seek to fulfill our mission.
It may be helpful to think of core values as navigational tools. In the days before people had compasses (or even more sophisticated equipment) sailors when out on the high seas relied upon their knowledge of the stars to steer their ship. Out on the ocean, surrounded by water, the only fixed reference points are up in the sky. Therefore by considering the position of their boat in relation to the North Star, for example, they could tell which way to steer so that they could make progress in their journey.
Our core values are something like that. In the church and in our world there are many opportunities that we could be involved in, many different things we could do - how do you decide which is best? Our seven core values help guide us.
A High View of God
Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.
– Revelation 4:11
God in created mankind for His own glory (Isaiah 43:7). Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to seek always to lift Him up and magnify His name. Practically speaking, this has tremendous implications for how we approach our lives, individually, and our ministry, corporately.
The primary issue is not us, and our needs, but rather, it is God and His glory. We exist for Him and not, He for us! This desire to exalt and honor and glorify God should fuel every single thing that we do.
As the Apostle Paul makes clear in I Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
A High View of Scripture
All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
– 1 Timothy 3:16,17
As followers of Jesus Christ we should also follow our Lord in His view of the Scriptures. It is clear that Jesus believed the Bible to be inerrant (John 10:35, "and the Scripture cannot be broken" and of eternal, binding authority (Matthew 5:18,"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law until all is accomplished") for all time.
Because we believe in the inerrancy and authority of the Bible, we are convinced that we must also believe in the sufficiency of God's revelation in Scripture.
The Bible is totally true in everything it affirms.
When Scripture speaks, God speaks.
When Scripture speaks, God speaks.
The Bible speaks to every single issue of life and religious practice either directly or in principle. The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is under assault as never before, and in the most unlikely place - the evangelical ("Bible-believing") church.
While on the one hand, there is a great deal of talk defending the inerrancy of the Bible in the church today; on the other hand, there is a growing tendency to ignore and abandon its teachings. In theory the Bible is affirmed to be the very word of God, but in practice it is treated with disdain and contempt.
This ironic tragedy is seen clearly when we consider two prevailing trends in the modern church.
First, there is the tendency to see the Bible as insufficient in equipping us to care for the spiritual and emotional problems of people. There has been a mad rush over the last few decades to follow the models of psychology rather than expending the effort to mine the transforming truths of the Bible.
Second, a destructive tendency is seen in the church's growing infatuation with "business models" and "marketing strategies" to show us how to build Christ's church. Again these new authorities replace the powerful truths of Scripture.
The end result of our departure from the word of God is that the church, though characterized by activity and apparent growth, demonstrates little power and even less holiness. How sad, especially when we consider the present reality against the backdrop of the Bible's own portrait of a God-honoring attitude toward the Bible:
This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles at My word.
– Isaiah 66:2
The Importance of Authority
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.
– Hebrews 13:17
The Bible clearly teaches that God has ordained and works through authority. God has ordained parental authority (Exodus - the fifth commandment), governmental authority (Romans 13:1), and spiritual authority (Acts 20:17, 28). The fact is that, despite our natural, sinful distaste for it, we all need to be under authority.
Nowhere is this more true than within the church. The New Testament makes clear that Christ is the only Head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15) and He mediates His rule primarily through the Scriptures, and secondarily through godly elders (I Thessalonians 5:12, 13).
To be spiritually healthy a church must be governed by elders who stand under the word of God, and who take seriously their calling "to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). The Bible lays great emphasis on the high moral character required to be an elder (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
The Urgency of Sound Doctrine
My people perish for lack of knowledge.
– Hosea 4:6
A church rises or falls with the quality of its doctrine. That is why the Apostle Paul lays such great stress on it in his letters, particularly his "pastoral epistles" (letters written to young pastors, Timothy and Titus, to provide them a blueprint for how to build the church).
In Titus 2:1 he writes, "But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine". "Sound" translates the Greek word hygainouse, from which we get our English word "hygiene." This word means that which promotes and protects health. Sound doctrine promotes spiritual health and wellness. Moreover, it is impossible to be spiritually healthy if you are not learning sound doctrine.
Sadly today many Christians are confused about, or disinterested in, doctrine. The trend in modern preaching is away from solid, meaty exposition and toward warm, fuzzy, motivational "talks." We at Providence are committed to teaching and expounding the rich and soul-satisfying truths of the Bible.
The Necessity of Holy Living
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who in in heaven.
– Matthew 5:16
A key ingredient in being an effective church is godly living. The New Testament makes clear that those who are truly saved will demonstrate the reality of their faith by the way they live. Jesus said, "every good tree bears good fruit" (Matthew 7:17).
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the righteousness of our lives has a great impact on the effectiveness of our witness. In Titus 2:10 we are exhorted to live godly lives so that we may "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect."
Here the Greek verb translated "adorn" is very instructive. The word is kosmikas, from which we derive our English word "cosmetic," and it means to make attractive or pleasing. The idea then is that we are called to live holy lives so that we can make the message of the gospel attractive to those who are lost.
The Primacy of Relationships
By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
– John 13:34,35
Another key building block in our ministry is our priority on building strong relationships within the body of Christ. This commitment flows from an understanding that God places great value on relationships. Jesus summed up all of the priorities of life in two relational commands, love God, and love others (Matthew 22:37, 38).
The goal of all of our study and worship and service is to know and love God in a real and personal way. As we grow in our love for God we reflect His character in the quality of our relationships with one another. When we love one another with God's love suddenly we make the invisible God known - "no man has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us" (I John 4:12).
What an amazing reality! The world begins to see the goodness and love of God in the loving relationships of His people!
A Passion For Outreach To Unbelievers
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I commanded
– Matthew 28:20
A fundamental component of being a God-honoring congregation is an intense and fervent focus on sharing Christ with the lost. As we grow in our knowledge of the truth and in our love for Christ we inevitably develop an ever-increasing compassion for the unsaved.
In II Corinthians 5:11 Paul writes, "knowing the fear of God we persuade men." It is our understanding of God's holiness and justice (our fear of Him) that should result in urgency in our witness. We know that He is holy and true to His word, so that those who are still in their sins are heading for eternal judgment.
This clear knowledge must motivate us to a fervent mindset that beseeches those around us to be saved (II Corinthians 5:20).