WHY WE EXIST - We exist to display God's glory by becoming a gospel-centered community that works for the gospel renewal of Tampa Bay and all nations.
Display God’s Glory
We organize our church after the pattern that God has shown us in His word and by living for Him with a life of holiness and love. We exist not for our name’s sake, but for God’s glory. Ours is a ministry of magnification - making God’s glory appear to the eyes of the world as big as it really is. This is done by bringing His glory into closer view and sharper focus in the form of the local church.
To be a Christian means being gathered out of isolation into the corporate life of the body of Christ. In Christ we belong together. As we commit ourselves corporately to the gospel, authentic fellowship will mark our lives.
Faith in Christ restores people to God and to one another. We care for the wellbeing of our city - and a host of related issues - because we first love God. This leads directly to loving our neighbor. As people are restored to God, they become agents of restoration in the city.
EXPRESSION OF MISSION
Gospel - The Gospel Changes Everything
The gospel is literally the “good news” of God’s grace (undeserved kindness) to sinful people through Jesus Christ. The gospel announces that our Creator has become our Redeemer (Rom 5:6-11). Jesus Christ has shielded us from God’s wrath by becoming our representative substitute, receiving the wages of our sin in our place, and by conquering death in His resurrection (1 Cor 15:3-4; Rom 4:24-25). We believe this gospel of grace to be both the starting point for the Christian life and the way that we grow at every point. The Gospel possesses the power to renew individuals, families, communities, cities - even the whole world (2 Pet 1:3-8).
Sound Doctrine - The Gospel Testifies to what and why we teach
God’s word is Truth and thus authoritative over every aspect of our lives (2 Tim 3:16-17). This leads us to teach Scripture expositionally, always making the point of the passage the point of the message (Matt 4:4; Jn 17:17). We believe that right-thinking fosters right-living. Therefore, we are committed to theological training. Holding firm to the trustworthy word as taught, we are able to give instruction in sound doctrine and to rebuke those who contradict it so that we are not tossed about by false teaching (Eph 4:14-15; Titus 1:9).
Biblical Community - The Gospel Creates a New Community
The gospel transforms our relationships with one another. It creates a new community where we as the church grow together in the knowledge and wisdom of God (Eph 4:11-13). The restoring power of the gospel creates a diverse family from all cultural, social, ethnic backgrounds, and political preferences (Eph 1:4-10; Eph 2:13-22). As a family, we seek to guard one another against the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13), always considering how to stir up one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25). The presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer. Therefore, we pursue authentic life together daily (Acts 2:42-47).
Family - The Gospel Transforms and Redeems families in our culture
The gospel does not only reform people – it restores them (Rom 6:4). We are restored as individuals, as families, and therefore, as the church. While the church is called to make disciples, it is clear that God has given the family as the primary unit of discipleship (Deut 6:4-9). God’s word has established clear roles within the family through which discipleship takes place. As Christ is the Head of the church, so also are husbands and fathers to humbly serve their families as pastor, protector, and provider (Eph 5:25-26; Eph 6:4). As the church is subject to Christ, wives are to submit to and support their husbands (Eph 5:24). Motherhood is a high and honorable calling with extraordinary responsibilities – loving their husbands, nurturing their children, and serving their families (Titus 2:3-5). Children are a blessing from the Lord, entrusted to parents for their physical and spiritual nurture (Ps 127:3; Eph 6:1-4).
Our City - The gospel brings restoration to our city
The gospel gives us a deep love for the city and a great hope for its restoration. We believe that nothing promotes the peace and restoration of the city like the spread of faith in the gospel (Col 1:19-20; 2 Cor 5:18-19). Christ compels us to become generous servants by committing our time, talents, and money to meeting the needs of our city. We believe that the gospel has a vital impact on the arts, business, government, media, and academy of our city. Therefore, we are committed to helping the church work with excellence, distinctiveness, and accountability in their professions, as well as in these spheres of our city (Eph 2:10; 1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:17).
Movement - The gospel calls us to pLant churches
The gospel leads us to display God’s glory through church planting and church reformation among all peoples (Matt 28:18-20). We recognize that our single church is not sufficient to renew all of our city spiritually, socially, and culturally. Therefore, we are committed to planting (and helping others plant) new churches, while at the same time working for a renewal of gospel vitality and unity in all existing congregations of the city (Eph 4:1-6). This is not only our desire for the city, but for all the nations of the world. It is our hope that the truth of God would reach to all the people groups of the world and that these groups would worship the one true God (Rev 5:9). To that end, we are committed to go, to give, to send, and to pray (Rom 10:14-15; Jn 17:18; Acts 13:1-3).