Values and Beliefs

Mission


-Our Mission: Loving God by Loving Others as Yourself.


Jesus taught us that there are two equal commandments that stand out above the rest: love God and love people.  We believe that Jesus is teaching us to Love God BY Loving People.


-Loving God...We are here because God first loved us through Jesus Christ, therefore our first priority is to love God back with the love he loved us with first.


-Loving Others...Christ taught us to love one another, to love our neighbor, and to love our enemies. That kind of love comes not from within, but from God. We share God’s love though acts of service, sharing the gospel, acts of mercy and justice to our community and our world.


-Loving You...The love of God is personal. We see each person as a child of God whom we are called to love- just as you are. We value each individual as uniquely created and gifted for God’s purposes and seek to nurture your growth into the person God calls you to be.


Our Distinctives


-Soul Freedom – We believe in the priesthood of all believers. We affirm the freedom and responsibility of every person to relate directly to God without the imposition of creed or the control of clergy or government.


-Bible Freedom – We believe in the authority of Scripture. We believe the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, is central to the life of the individual and the church. We affirm the freedom and right of every Christian to interpret and apply Scripture under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.


-Church Freedom – We believe in the autonomy of every local church. We believe churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their beliefs, membership and leadership. Every church seeks to follow Christ in the affairs of worship, service and teachings. The church as the body of Christ will seek to be a welcoming place to learn about Jesus, worship God and love our neighbor.


-Religious Freedom – The freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion, and freedom FROM religion, insisting that Caesar is not Christ, and Christ is not Caesar.


Beliefs


Jesus-Centered

We believe Jesus shows us what God is like. When Jesus’s disciples asked him to show them, God, he said that “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus reveals to us a new way of being in the world and asks us to follow him and his way of love. We believe Jesus commands our priorities to seek justice for everyone. Jesus is the center of our community.


Grace-Saturated

We believe grace is the oxygen of a healthy Christian spirituality. The sum total of God’s activity towards humanity is found in the word ‘grace’. God is “doing a good work in us and will bring it to completion”. All of life is a gift, and every good and perfect gift is from God. It is ‘on the house’ from start to finish. This recognition of grace informs our commitment to welcoming everyone into full participation in the life of our church.


Kingdom-Oriented

We believe Jesus orients his work, purpose, and his very person in what he calls “The Kingdom of God”. We don’t privatize or shrink the scope of the good news Jesus comes to proclaim. We seek what Jesus described as ‘the renewal of all things’. Jesus claims all of the cosmos as the theater of his redemptive work. It’s a big idea. We seek to join Jesus in this work, and all are invited to join us.


Biblically Grounded

We believe the Bible to be “the territory in which Christians expect to hear God speaking,” as Rowan Williams put it. It is the source of our story. We read it through the lens of Jesus, Grace and Kingdom. Scripture’s role is not unlike John the Baptist, not existing for itself, but pointing us to Jesus. God invites us into honest and authentic engagement with Scripture.


Ever Reforming

We believe the nature of Christian faith is one of continual growth. We expect ever-expanding vistas of understanding and growth as God’s Spirit leads us. Because of this, we remember that as Paul taught us, ‘we see through a glass dimly’ and hold our convictions with loving humility and ongoing curiosity in hopes that God will continue to refine and reform our understanding.


Intellectually Honest

We believe whatever God found worth creating, we should find worth studying. We encourage disciplined, rigorous inquiry as a means of fulfilling Jesus’ great commandment to love God with our minds. We believe there is no conflict between faith and science. We expect to learn from everyone because all truth is God’s truth. Doubts, questions, and new ideas are encouraged.


Communally Designed

We believe Christian faith is inherently plural. All of our values are meant to be lived out in community. We get this from a belief in a God who is love and invites us into the circle of inter-trinitarian love. This community exists not just for itself, but for everyone, so the constant invitation to step into this circle is offered to all. The love of God comes to us to go through us to the world around us. We are truly better together.



Core Values


-Wildly Inclusive

Jesus is wildly inclusive, so we are too. Everyone who desired it had a place with Jesus, and everyone, regardless of race*, religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation* is welcome at Faith.   Because of what Christ has done for us, we see no need to pretend to be anything other than who we are. We seek to speak the greatest truth of love and avoid thinking too highly of ourselves. Our goal is to create a space where people can be open and vulnerable without being frowned upon or judged.  We seek to make generous space for all to come and follow Jesus together.


-Firmly Grounded

The Bible is our sacred text to interact and guide us as we live in the way of Jesus. We are rooted in Scripture, which reveals the love of God to us in the face of Jesus the Christ.  At the center of the Christian faith and Scripture is the notion that God is love. Jesus – who is the visible image of the invisible God – exemplified this love by laying his life down for the sake of others.  This is why we are committed to loving our community, because following the path of Jesus means following the path of love. As a church, we want to be an answer to Jesus’ prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Loving our community isn’t just a part of what we do, it’s the heart of everything we do. We walk together in love as brothers and sisters in Christ; exercising Christian care and concern for our world, for each other, sharing each other's joys, and bearing each other's burdens and sorrows.


-Collectively Growing

The Christian life is about growth, service, and transformation. We follow Jesus and discern the Holy Spirit’s call together in community. We are rooted in an ancient faith but we are progressive in action. We have a faith that is 2000 years old, but our thinking is not. We are still growing.  There is intrinsic value in every person. Biblical unity becomes all the more important and beautiful in the light of the wide-ranging differences in personalities, cultures, races, languages, talents, and perspectives. Finding unity and mutual love in Christ eliminates devaluation and deprivation of life to one another.




*A few Resources to Help Discover the spirit of what the Bible has to say about Same Sex relationships

 *Generous Space Ministries

* Respectful LGBT Conversations by Harold Heie

*Scripture, Ethics, and the Possibility of Same-Sex Relationships by Karen Keen

*Torn:  Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs. Christian Debate  by Justin Lee

*To Melt a Golden Calf:  An Evangelical Case for Same-sex Relationships  by Peter Aelred

*Unclobber:  Rethinking our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality  by Colby Martin

*Homosexuality and The Bible  by Wink


Here are a couple of books that deal with the subject of racial reconciliation:

*How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

*I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Borwn




Faith Church

331 Silver Street

Greenfield, MA 01301

413-774-6438