Our mission is simple: to engage residents of Albany, NY in a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ.
The following ten values quantify the DNA of our church body’s effort to achieve the above goal:
When we say we are Bible-driven, we mean that we aren’t going anywhere unless God shows us the way. We value Scripture because in it we hear God’s voice and are given His direction. It is easy to declare that the Bible is true, but to bring one’s life and belief into conformity with it takes discipline and commitment. Hard work though it is, we unabashedly want to go where the Scriptures take us and abstain from deviating from their path. While written by various authors at various times before the internet existed, we believe its message is just as relevant today as it was when written.
The Glory of God
If the Bible is the map that directs our steps, God’s glory is the destination we have in mind. When we say we are God-glorifying, that is in direct contrast to man-glorifying. Today’s empires are tomorrow’s ashes. That is to say, the things made by finite humans may inspire awe, but at the end of the day they tarnish and spoil. Conversely, God is infinite in perfection and beauty. His glory is eternally worthy of our worship and admiration. It is the end we seek. If we make monuments to humanity (ie: ourselves) they will crumble, but if we seek God’s glory first we find ourselves wrapped up in Someone bigger than our own minuscule attempts at meaning.
The Supremacy of Christ
With the glory of God as our destination, we cherish God’s fullest revelation of Himself which was made in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the center of the universe, not just the destination we are looking to arrive at, but the initiator and sustainer of our faith. As such, we value a vibrant and unashamed intimacy with Him and seek to make Him the center of everything we do. When we say we are Christ-centered we mean that He is the engine that powers everything we are and do. The order is important here as we don’t simply desire to “do” things in the name of Jesus, but to abide in relationship with Him. He defines us as human beings and we draw our identities from our connection to Him.
The Power of The Holy Spirit
With the supremacy of Christ as the engine that drives us, the Holy Spirit is the fuel that powers us. When Jesus ascended to be with the Father He did not leave His followers alone but left them with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Since God is One but exists in three distinct persons, the presence of the Spirit within gives the believer communion with Christ even as He sits at the right hand of the Father. When we say that we are Spirit-empowered we mean that He enables us to better understand and love both God and our neighbor. We would be incapable of even shallow pursuits at keeping the commands to love God and neighbor apart from the Spirit and hence rely on His power to humbly pursue those ends.
The Good News
Seeking to love God and neighbor is a lofty and noble task—but an impossible one for those who are committed only to sin and selfishness. That is why we love the Gospel. The Gospel simply means the “Good News.” What is this Good News? It is a cure to the greatest of human ailments. But since most people do not seek a cure unless they are first convinced they have a disease, let us first share with you the bad news. The bad news is this: you are going to die. In fact, you are already dying. The only guarantee in life is that you will one day die. The reason for this is that you are a sinner. Sin, simply put, is a violation of the nature, character, and law of God. We are all sinners by nature and choice. This means we rebel against our maker and He has every right to judge and punish us for our rebellion. This penalty is death. Some object and say this is unfair, but a creature is not in a position to object to its Creator—he does so only by stealing the breath given to him by God. That brings us to the Good News. The Good News is that God didn’t give us a program or a procedure to save us from this predicament—instead he gave us a person. This person’s name is Jesus Christ and he came as God in the flesh and dwelt among us. He never sinned, yet died the death that all sinners deserve. He suffered the full brunt of the wrath of God so that anyone who trusts in His name and accomplishment on their behalf will be spared the wrath of God and given eternal life instead. When we say we are Gospel-loving this is not simply a theoretical statement. To love the gospel is to love God as an outpouring of gratitude for Jesus Christ’s self-giving sacrifice. To the objection that it’s not fair to be condemned to a life of sin and death, God answers: it’s not fair for Christ to die for your sins, but love pays the cost regardless of what is fair. Love knows no bounds and we are convinced we cannot exhaust the depths of God’s gospel in Christ. That is why we love the gospel.
The Redemption of Humanity
Given the inexhaustible depth and breadth of this gospel it inspires in us a desire to see other hell-bound humans redeemed and reclaimed by God. This can only be accomplished one person at a time, so we seek to share our hope of redemption with individuals as God brings them into our lives. No person is “too-far gone” to be outside the scope of Jesus’ radical redemption. We know this because we have seen in our own lives Christ’s ability to create spiritual life where there was once only sin and death. When we say we are People-redeemingwe mean that we seek to see those being crushed by sin and suffering made alive to God and freed from bondage. We long for the renewal of creation and humanity and believe Jesus is the greatest need of every human heart. We want to see reconciliation with God and across the races, sexes, and nations of the world under the banner of Jesus Christ. We seek justice for the oppressed and mercy for the oppressor as anything less is an offense against our maker.
The Multiplication of The Kingdom
As people are redeemed the kingdom of God is multiplied. The kingdom of God is a commonly misunderstood term from Scripture. God’s kingdom is not the Church, but the Church is the closest one can get to it in the current state of the earth. The kingdom is in our midst when people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It exists now in seed form but will be fully realized when Jesus returns in person to abolish all sin and enstate His perfect kingly rule. What this means practically for us is that we are committed to seeing the kingdom advanced. We believe the most effective and biblical means for pursuing the advancement of the kingdom is by contributing our resources to the planting of more gospel-centered churches. That is what we mean when we say we are Kingdom-minded. We seek to partner and fellowship with other like-minded churches and see the kingdom advanced through church-planting.
The Ever-presence of Hope
Because God is on the throne and Jesus has risen from the dead, hope is an ever-present reality. It is true that many things seek to rob us of hope and joy but our faith makes it possible that these can always avail through prayer and communion with God. Things are not how they should be, but our hope does not waver because Jesus will soon make all things new. What we mean when we say we are Hope-filled is that we will strive to overcome any sense of doubt or discouragement that we face in this life because our hope is not in the present state of the world but in the coming kingdom of Christ where He will make all things new and wipe away all of our tears. In hope, we long for the day when every corner of this current dark world will be overcome by the light of Christ. In hope, we long to see even our enemies overwhelmed by His perfect love and invite them to join us as family.
Unity of Belief
Within the bounds of these values and standing on the shoulders of two millennia of Christian teaching we are united with a great cloud of witnesses that came before us and are even now represented in faithful churches throughout the world. While we may have certain emphases or understandings on matters of secondary importance with other churches throughout the centuries or the world, we stand in unity with those who have followed the Christian Scriptures to the best of their ability and consciences. When we say we exemplify Unity in belief we mean that we seek to prevent matters of secondary importance from dividing our fellowship within the Church. We will diligently pursue love, grace, and charity on matters over which Christians in good conscience differ.
Diversity in Belonging
Finally, what that unity in belief means in action is a diversity in belonging. The people of Jesus are to be made up of people of all tribes, peoples, and languages. What unites us is not our color, culture, or class but Christ. We strive to exemplify that eclectic community that the Church was originally named after and to reflect the demographics of the community in which we are located. Diversity is not only welcome, but belongs here. If you agree on the essentials, far be it from us to bind your conscience on the non-essentials. When we say we exemplify Diversity in belonging we mean that we value equality among all humanity. Everyone is equal at the foot of the cross and at the altar of God’s love.