As we begin a new year, it is time to look forward to our vision for the
future. Looking ahead, here’s what we’ll be working toward:
Spring Meadows Presbyterian Church exists to bring the resources of the historic Christian faith to bear on the city so that Christ may be known, loved, served, and worshipped, resulting in a spiritual, social, economic, and cultural difference in the quality of life in Las Vegas.
The challenge in Western culture is to address the sheer ignorance of the Gospel on the one hand (Neo-Paganism and Postmodernism), and the distortions and caricatures of traditional stereotypes on the other (Moralism, Legalism), by teaching and embodying the Historic Christian Message (the Gospel). Our emphasis will be that only in Christ are we finally right with God and have the answer to our pathologies, our dashed hopes and dreams, and our deepest longings for acceptance, significance and approval.
We exist for the purpose of preaching the Gospel, believing the Gospel, incarnating the Gospel and living with one another and the world by the implications of the Gospel. We believe the only interpretation of the meaning of the Gospel is a community of men and women who believe it and live by it.
All problems are fixed and all goals are achieved by continual repentance and continual application of the Gospel. The Gospel is not a message about power but rather the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). The Gospel is not merely the gate to enter the Kingdom of Christ but is also the pathway we walk that empowers and motivates. It is not simply the ABC’s of the Christian experience but the A to Z of the entire Christian life.
A balanced and deeper understanding of the Gospel will provide the city with a church that serves as an alternative to two very common extremes: legalistic, ingrown churches that withdraw from culture through moralism and works-righteousness, creating a sub-cultural, ghetto mentality, and liberal, relativistic churches which conform to the culture by uncritically submitting to the spirit of the age. The Gospel and its power is thus lost, either through an under-adaptability or an over-adaptability to culture.
Our ultimate concern will be to be and remain outwardly focused. We will endeavor to create a culture of evangelism. We will attempt to evaluate everything we do in the light of the mandate of our Savior to “make disciples of all nations.” We will be passionate about addressing unbelievers in an intelligible, warm, winsome and respectful way. We will remember what it was like not to believe and will refuse to be shocked or scornful. We will not take the speck out of their eyes until we see the log in our own eyes.
CHRIST EXALTING WORSHIP
Worship is seeing what God is worth and then in response, giving God what He is worth. God is both transcendent (awesome, beyond, other) and immanent (intimate, present, personal). Therefore, worship that is balanced is filled with both awe and intimacy. Postmodern people hunger for a
spiritual encounter that is greater than their personal experience and yet is culturally accessible. Thus, as we exalt Christ, the God/Man (transcendence, immanence) we have balance.
To that end we will aim at worship services that both edify the believer and challenge the spiritually skeptical, curious and uncommitted. We will use both tradition (liturgy) and contemporary (music) forms to make our worship both awe-inspiring and intimate. The focus will not be on style but on Christ. We want people to leave our worship services impressed with Jesus and His beauty, glory and attractiveness. We want them to go out having their hearts moved toward Him.
To effectively minister in a postmodern culture, the Church must remain firmly rooted in the timeless truths of historic Christianity. To be “Reformed” is to have a paradigm for life and the world that is God-centered, with the historic Sola’s (Scriptura, fide, gratia, Christus, Deo Gloria) given their proper emphasis. We will be consciously Reformed without it being our functional righteousness. We will teach the doctrines of grace that have been used by God to equip and advance His Kingdom in all kinds of cultures. We will also remember that the “Church Reformed is always reforming.”
We will not privatize or individualize our faith (Pietism), but instead work with excellence and a Kingdom mentality that engages the culture. We will encourage Christians to neither retreat from the culture, nor create a Christian subculture, but rather to engage mainstream culture at every turn. We will affirm the essential “goodness” of creation and that the redemption Christ has accomplished is cosmic. We will encourage believers to excel in the arts, sciences, aesthetics and cultural development. We will decry asceticism in all of its forms and emphasize a world/creation affirming lifestyle.
The Gospel is not only the answer for our personal problems, but also for society’s problems. We will attempt to show the world that the Gospel can transform a city no matter what evil structures or oppression exists there. It lifts up the poor, reconciles races, classes and genders, and destroys the collective idols that enslave the human heart.
Christianity is highly relational. The Gospel creates new communities. The early Church survived in a hostile, pagan culture in large part because they met together in small support groups (Acts 2:42-47). City dwellers are often isolated and have few significant relationships outside of the workplace. Many are turning to the Internet for some sense of connectedness or belongingness.
We will intentionally develop small communities meeting in homes, apartments etc. that will be the central nervous system of the Church. This will be the primary place for pastoral care, assimilation, discipleship, and leadership development. This is where the concrete “one another” commands of the New Testament will be fulfilled in face-to-face relationships.
We want to be more than just a church. We want to be a catalyst for a movement of churches and innovative ministries in and around Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. We will discourage turf consciousness. We will encourage and equip Christians for entrepreneurship in ministry. We will serve as in incubator for new churches, new ministries, and corroborative efforts between creative Christians. We will have a Kingdom agenda driven by the Gospel.
This is our vision. Pray together with me that by God’s grace it will become reality.