Core Value #1: Bible as True Word of God
Is the Lord among us or not? In the beginning when the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. The Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. And God spoke, “Let there be light.” The Word of God spoke into creation, and light entered our world. There is hope and promise in the ministry of Our Shepherd because there is the Word of God. Central to our understanding of anything we do as a congregation is the promise that God’s Word speaks into this world and brings about His promises. Whenever we gather as a congregation, this should still be our question, “Is the Lord among us or not?” With the presence of the Word of God, we can answer with joy, “The Lord is with us.”
Core Value #2: Engaged Worship & Prayer
We are not an audience in worship or prayer. We should not be passive observers in what God is doing. At this congregation we celebrate the amazing dynamic of worship. God connects to us through His Word and Sacraments. We receive these gifts and respond with praise and thanksgiving. God promised in Deuteronomy 31:6 to never leave nor forsake His people. Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations with the promise that He will be with us to the very end of the age. The worship life of Our Shepherd is about delivering the gifts of God in such a manner that people are engaged and connected in a relationship with God. We need to know the people whom God has placed in our lives and help them see where they are in God’s plan. Worship and Prayer is not simply about learning when to stand, sit, kneel, or bow. Engaged and connected worship reveals Jesus. When our community sees Jesus, then we will respond in both fervent love for God and for all those whom God loves.
Core Value #3: Educating all Generations
St. Paul promised to his friend Timothy that all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, reproof, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). At Our Shepherd we trust the Holy Spirit to be at work through the Scripture to sculpt us into being the community of God’s people. So we encourage lifelong study of God’s Word as we remain humbly always in need of God’s wisdom and encouragement.
Core Value #4: Meeting People Where They Are
Meeting people where they are – We make an effort to meet people where they are coming from, and where they currently are spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.
Witness is the work we have been given to do as the church scattered. We have opportunities to speak of Jesus with the people in our everyday lives who are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, family members, etc. Outreach is the work we have been given to do as the church gathered. It is in our ministries, services, events, and other activities as the church we do which we invite and include others into Word and Sacrament ministry. At Our Shepherd we encourage using the L.A.S.S.I.E. approach: Listen – Ask – Seek – Share – Invite – Encourage.
Relational and contextual witnessing trusts that God will be at work in us and through us as we meet people where they are.
Core Value #5: Courageously Sharing Jesus
Jesus told his followers that we will be His "witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Jesus calls upon us to be His witnesses in our local neighborhoods, communities, or even among our enemies, and so we courageously share Jesus. People desire authentic relationships, deep conversations, and honesty from individuals as well as the church. So as we meet people where they are at spiritually and emotionally, we will find opportunities to courageously share Jesus.
There are no code words that will make it easier to engage in a conversation that purposefully shares the good news of Jesus, and that should be a comforting thought. We don’t have to memorize a script of specific words in order to share Jesus. The Holy Spirit will work through us as we are witnesses to the good news of hope we have in Jesus. The courage to take our relationships past a superficial level grows as we trust God to be at work in us.
Jesus took upon Himself every reason we have to be terrified of God and our enemies. Now in Christ God is for us. And, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32)
Core Value #6: Living Life Together
The meeting ground of Christianity is the presence of Jesus Christ. St. Paul wrote the Corinthians about the unity we find in the Lord’s Supper, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).
Jesus receives us in this meal with forgiveness and in His love we receive each other. Our life together is most clearly illustrated in the Lord’ Supper and in the promise of Jesus Christ we find our meeting ground. We live In a time when partisanship and suspicion increasingly becomes the shield against true relationships. By faith in Jesus Christ we have an honest and true relationship with God.
Jesus lived life together with us as the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1). As we live together as the body of the Church, we use our gifts to support the body of believers and work through this body to reach out in our community.
Core Value #7: Serving the Community
The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to convert nonbelievers, and this good news of Jesus Christ also builds up believers. Our experience with the grace of God inspires us to courageously share Jesus, and also this grace of God is our compass leading us to sacrificially serve our community.
Jesus told his disciples, “love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). We declare and deliver the goodness of God in diverse ways when we serve our community. Our church’s ministry in the community is a witness to the community of the transforming love of Jesus. We trust that Jesus makes a difference.