Practicing Discernment: Community Evangelical Free Church in Soap Lake, Washington Vision Statement

This is a discernment exercise from Community Evangelical Free Church in Soap Lake, Washington. This is their vision statement. How would you analyze this? Is it standard or are there any red flags of a toxic church?

“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

Glacier National Park in Montana

This is a discernment post that comes from an Evangelical Free Church in Soap Lake, Washington. This EFCA Church is headed by Derek Olson. On their website they have a vision statement on what they wnat Community Evangelical Free Church to be. So look this over and study it. Is this doable? Is it legalistic? Is it reminiscent of a cult-like situation? How would you analyze this calling? Feel free to discuss below.


Understanding the VISION of CEFC
“Calling Our Community to Christ”

“We, at Community Evangelical Free Church (CEFC) gather together with an aim to…
GLORIFY God, remain GOSPEL centered, and GROW in Jesus.
We Desire to GLORIFY GOD:
I. The Bible is clear that glorifying God should be the aim of every believer’s life.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 “… whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
  • Other references ~ Psalm 115:1; Matthew 5:16; Revelation 4:11
  • To “glorify” God means to ~ Bless, Honor, Revere, & Praise Him.

II. We at CEFC would agree with the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s statement:

  • Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever

III. HOW we seek to glorify God at CEFC:

  • Through Bible based, & God honoring preaching & teaching (2 Timothy 3:16-17;             2 Timothy 4:1-5)
  • Through encouragement in putting God’s Word into action (James 1:22-25)
  • Through biblically sound singing & prayer (1 Thess. 5:17; Colossians 3:16-17)
  • Through dying to self & living in accordance with our new lives in Christ (Romans 12:2;    2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20)


We Desire to remain GOSPEL Centered:
I. We believe the gospel to be of first importance & from which godly living flows.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you that of first importance, the gospel…”
  • 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I decided to know nothing … except Christ & Him crucified.

II. We believe that the power of the gospel has a profound impact on all areas of Christian life:

  • Marriage ~ Ephesians 5:22-33
  • Parenting ~ Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:1-4; 20
  • Loving Others ~ Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 4:10-11
  • Forgiveness ~ Matthew 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13
  • Suffering ~ 2 Corinthians 4:13-18; Philippians 3:10-11
  • Mission ~ Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
  • Works & Service ~ Matthew 20:25-28; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 2:8-10
  • Fruitfulness ~ John 15:4-5; Galatians 5:22-25
  • Generosity ~ 2 Corinthians 8:9, 14
  • And on, and on we could go…

III. HOW we seek to remain gospel centered at CEFC:

  • Consistently, and clearly proclaiming the message of the GOSPEL – magnifying Christ!
  • Allowing the GOSPEL to shape how we do church, relationships, & all areas of life, etc.
  • Engaging in & training people FOR GOSPEL MISSION in our community & world.
  • Remembering that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what binds us together as the Body of Christ – from every nation, tribe, & tongue!

We Desire to GROW in Jesus
I. The Bible teaches that growing in Christlikeness is essential to the Christian life:

  • Romans 8:29 “… predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son…”
  • Ephesians 4:11-16 “… we are to grow up into Him who is the Head, into Christ…”
  • Philippians 1:6 “… He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…”
  • Philippians 3:12-16 “… I press on towards the goal of the upward call of God in Christ…”
  • It is our PRAYER that God would continue to make His people more & more like JESUS!

II. HOW we seek to seek grow in Christlikeness:

  • By recognizing & submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit in us (sanctification)
  • By placing emphases on learning & applying the Word of God
  • By being involved in & serving the local church (using gifts,working w/others, visiting widows & shut-ins)
  • By being involved in & serving our community (service projects, food bank & less fortunate)
  • By intentionally gathering together in Life Groups, Prayer meetings, etc. (fellowship)
  • By purposefully engaging in the ordinances of the faith (Baptism & Communion)
As God leads us here at CEFC, it is our prayer & aim according the will of the Father, the grace of the Son, & the direction of the Holy Spirit, that the vision listed above would be accomplished in our gatherings. We do not claim to be the perfect church, but as C.S Lewis once declared in his book Mere Christianity:

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

 
May our progress as a church family continually be rooted in the truth of God’s word, the power of the gospel, & the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And where we falter, may we repent & fix our eyes on Jesus once again.

 

2 thoughts on “Practicing Discernment: Community Evangelical Free Church in Soap Lake, Washington Vision Statement

  1. “Glorify GOD” and “Gospel-Centered” are also common buzzwords of a lot of really toxic HyperCalvinist churches. That sets off a red flag above and beyond the sheer Trendiness of “Vision Statement”.

    “Vision Statement” itself is something that sounds like it originated among the Shirley MacLaine set and then the Christians jumped on the bandwagon yelling “ME, TOO!” WHEN ARE WE GOING TO BE THE ONES STARTING THE TREND INSTEAD OF JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON AROUND THE TIME IT JUMPS THE SHARK?

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  2. If you are a Bible centered church, what is wrong with this statement? I see no conflict between one’s salvation and glorifying God (sanctification). What I observe in Calvinist churches that irks me, and maybe this is where we differ, is stating that by not doing the things in this list to a “T” means you may never have been saved or oNe oF thE EleCT ™!! Conflicating behavior with questioning salvation is toxic and Calvinist (but I repeat myself). I see no issue at all telling your congregation to honor and glorify God by following xyz items straight from the Bible.

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