Practicing Discernment: Core Values of Hope Evangelical Free in Fertile, Minnesota

A discernment exercise from an EFCA Church in NW Minnesota that is about one hour away from Grand Forks, North Dakota. This is about the Core Values of Hope Evangelical Free in Fertile. Is this healthy or does this problems? Or is this contain little concerns? 

Street car from New Orleans 

“Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned.”

Edward De Bono

“To live is to think.”

Marcus Cicero

That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

Acts 17: 10-12 NLT 

We are going to look at a small EFCA church in NW Minnesota. Its actually not far from the Northern Plains District which encounters two churches in Minnesota, North Dakota, northern South Dakota and one church in Eastern Montana. The nearest large community to Fertile is Grand Forks, North Dakota. Moorhead is a little farther south.  Hope Evangelical Free is led by Dennis W. Wadsworth Jr. They have their core values on their webpage. Please look it over and ask yourself. Is this a healthy place? Does it have concerns? Now please know that not every church that I will post up here will be bad. There are good ones and bad ones that have issues. Examples of that are churches like South City Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California; or Del Rey Church at Playa del Rey, California. So I just want to state that as I write about some of these churches. So give a look at the Core Values which I have listed below and let me know your thoughts. Have a great day! 

Core Values
We believe:

1.    The Bible is inerrant and the authority
for our lives.

2.    We are dependant upon God for all

3.    In a personal relationship with Jesus

4.    Prayer is the foundation in our
relationship with God.               

5.    That we honor God in our worship.    

6.    That obedience to God is central to
our growth in Christ.         

7.    Relationships with other people are
built in Christ.         


6 thoughts on “Practicing Discernment: Core Values of Hope Evangelical Free in Fertile, Minnesota

  1. # 3 seems to be a sentence fragment. These could do with some editing attention!

    But seriously, as to the content, none of this really surprises me. This is what I would expect to see from a standard fundamentalist church. What I can’t tell from any of this is how their “values” actually translate into what they do and what they support. Does “obedience to God” equal “obedience to the church” or “obedience to the Pastor” or “obedience to the Pastor’s political agenda?

    And I see nothing about giving money in either the beliefs on the website, or the “core values”. That could be a good sign, or it could just be that they don’t want to advertise how much they emphasize it.

    The list of sermons on the website is more telling. There’s a long series of sermons that start with “Let FREEdom Ring”, and a couple named “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” and “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare”. That’s telling me that there is a push here to conflate religious devotion and nationalism, and to view their relationship with the rest of the world outside of their own group as a war. Not good.


  2. I’d like to see #7 fleshed out a bit, or at least clarified. “Relationships with other people are
    built in Christ.” Does that mean that our relationship with Christ informs and guides our interactions with others? If so, great! Or does it mean that our relationship with others is conditioned on their relationship with Christ? If so, then that opens the door to some potential issues, including fostering a separatist or adversarial attitude because of not wanting to be interacting with “the worldly.” Which, of course, makes it pretty darned difficult to be “salt and light” to the world.

    I mention this specifically because of so many evangelicals now seeing everything in society through the prism of an “us-versus-them” culture war, where everyone not on “my team” is an enemy to be fought and destroyed. Too many evangelicals see anyone who is not ideologically/theologically aligned to be nothing but hostiles to be targeted and wage culture war against, rather than as creations of God to be loved, witnessed to, reasoned with.

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  3. As listed, sounds like standard Evangelical/Born-Again boilerplate. Like any nondenom or Calvary Chapel clone. A lot depends on the detailed applications of 1, 6, and 7; depending on the “Plain Meaning” not described in the list and the church’s actual culture, these could break very good or Very Bad.


  4. The statement of Faith is the standard EFCA statement. I have found that vision statements, core values, and mission statements really say nothing about the church. They are purposely nebulous especially if they think you might find what they actually practice a little unacceptable. I never really did see the purpose of all that wording. The titles of the 2017, 2018 sermons I find a little scary. Not sure if he is trying to attract listeners by being creative with titles or if there is a strange obsession there.

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