At Immanuel, we desire to see the following values shape who we are as a Church:
“WE DESIRE TO LIVE A LIFE OF ASSIGNING WORTH TO JESUS”
We assign “worth” to Jesus as we worship him. We recall what He has done (Psalm 143:5), recognize what He is doing now through the work of His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18), and what He will do as time continues on (Philippians 1:6). Worship is far more than what takes place during a Sunday service. Rather, it is best described as a complete orientation of one’s life to Jesus, by the help of the Spirit. Paul described worship as a life lived as a “living sacrifice” unto God (Romans 12:1). To love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40) characterizes all of those who live a Spirit-filled life of worship unto God.
“WE DESIRE TO BE A CHURCH UTTERLY DEPENDENT ON PRAYER IN ALL WE DO”
Prayer is the natural product of worship. It is the very means by which our relationship with and our knowledge of God is cultivated (Ephesians 1:18) and nurtured (Jude 1:20). It's also the vehicle by which we invite His Kingdom-work to break into our lives and the lives of those we pray for - and with it, bring Kingdom-oriented change, to His glory (Matthew 6:10). Indeed, prayer is an expression of the confidence we rightly have to approach Him through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (Hebrews 4:16). A church that does not pray is an engine with no battery, a light bulb with no electricity, or a pen with no ink. It is a city constantly invaded without walls, a broken leg without crutches, a boat without a compass or a sail. It will effectively leave a church operating in its own strength, and not in the power and in the will of God.
Knowing the Scriptures
“WE DESIRE TO BE A CHURCH THAT ALLOWS OUR LIVES TO BE SHAPED BY THE HOLY SCRIPTURES”
For thousands of years, the Church has recognized the Bible, as we know it today, as the inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), living and active (Hebrews 4:12) Word of God. We pay close attention to Scripture, as Peter warned of the destruction that would come to us if we were to twist its meaning (2 Peter 3:16). We are to find His scriptures continually on our lips, treasuring His words more than our daily bread (Job 23:12). The Scriptures are the primary source for which we gain truthful knowledge of who God is, distinct from knowledge of Him that can be found in nature (Psalm 19:1-6). Yet, as James warns, there is a responsibility that comes with knowing His word - we must not merely be hearers, but doers of it (James 1:22-25). We don’t want to fill our heads with information about God, but rather we desire our lives to be shaped and formed by knowing His inspired Scriptures.
“WE DESIRE TO BE A BODY OF COMPANIONS IN CHRIST, UNITED BY THE SPIRIT"
The word “fellowship” has largely fallen out of use in our modern day English. It refers to not just a community of people together, but rather a community of people who are “companions” (fellow + ship). The church is called to be a diverse body of Christians (Galatians 3:28), brought into unity (Ephesians 4:4-5), despite our sin and differences, by the Holy Spirit. When we gather together, we come beneath the teaching of God’s Word, enjoy companionship with one another, and regularly remember Jesus through the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42). The idea of the church as a “fellowship,” i.e. the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12), runs up and against the American spirit of individualism, only amplified throughout our current Covid-era. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, we must not neglect to meet together (Hebrews 10:25) if we are to fulfill our calling to the “city on the hill” that Jesus asked us to be (Matthew 5:14-16).
“WE DESIRE TO BE A GENEROUS CHURCH TOWARDS GOD, ONE ANOTHER, AND TO THE NEEDS OF THE CITY AROUND US”
Generosity is at the very heart of God. He sent his own Son, and He sent His own Spirit down to earth (Luke 11:13) to lavish us with gifts that we did not deserve (Ephesians 4:8). In sum, our God is a generous God (Isaiah 40:29)! His generosity was one of the first things we saw flow out of His early followers (Luke 8:2-3) and out of the early church (Acts 2:45). Jesus regularly taught on the blessings that come through generosity (Luke 6:30-38), and the Hebrew Scriptures speak of the wisdom and flourishing that grows from the seed of generous living (Psalm 41:1-3; Proverbs 11:25). Even the Law of Moses taught of the need to support and help the poor and needy among us (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). We are commanded to be generous to support the ministry of the church (1 Timothy 5:18), and to be generous with a cheerful heart, not out of compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:7). We seek to raise disciples at Immanuel who are financially generous towards the ministry of the church, to one another, and to the needs of the city around us.
FILLED BY THE SPIRIT
"WE DESIRE TO BE A CHURCH THAT INVITES GOD TO FILL AND EMPOWER US WITH HIS SPIRIT ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, WHILE CULTIVATING THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH FAITHFUL AND HOLY LIVING"
All throughout the Scriptures, we see God's people engaging in powerful work and ministry after an unique filling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Exodus 31:3; Isaiah 11:2; Micah 3:8; Luke 1:67, 4:1; Acts 2:4, 4:8, 13:9) - we can call this kind of filling completely and totally as belonging to God, according to his will. As we see God doing such work through his people, we also see elsewhere commands to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) - work that (certainly by God's Help) has been entrusted to us to nurture and cultivate. We at Immanuel seek both of these realities: we desire to be a church that cultivates the filling of the Holy Spirit in our lives through faithful and holy living unto Jesus that we may be conformed into his image (2 Cor. 3:17-18), while praying for God to uniquely empower and fill us by his Spirit according to his will and work, outside of our own. Come, Holy Spirit!