“TO SEE A GREATER WORSHIP OF JESUS AS HE RESCUES AND RESTORES ALL PEOPLE TO HIMSELF THROUGH DISCIPLE MAKING AND CHURCH PLANTING”
This vision statement is the driving force behind everything we do at Aletheia. Each phrase of this statement will be unpacked below in two ways for greater clarity and understanding. Firstly, the biblical and theological foundation for each phrase will be described, and subsequently, the application and practical function that flows from this understanding will follow. More content available in our full Vision Statement Document, for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
“TO SEE A GREATER WORSHIP OF JESUS”
The good news of Jesus Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection means that he is worthy of all of our worship! True worship happens when our hearts are changed by this love of Christ and as God makes us into new creations (2 Cor. 5:17-18). As we are known and loved by God through Christ (Gal. 4:9), we can rightly know God and experience him truly, leading to a greater worship in our lives. God empowers us to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24) as he redeems and draws us back to Himself through Christ and the internal work and witness of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, as a local church body hoping to make much of Jesus Christ, we desire to see an increasing worship of our worthy Savior! Whether it be a person coming to experience the saving work of Christ for the very first time, or a redeemed man or woman repenting of their worship of anything outside of God, Jesus is glorified as people turn in faith to him in greater worship.
PSALM 95, ACTS 17:22-31, ROMANS 12:1-2, HEBREWS 12:28
If worship is “an act of ascribing ultimate value to something or someone in a way that engages our entire being,” _then we desire for every single part of every single person at Aletheia to be captivated and drawn towards a worship of Jesus, and for our identities to be fully rooted in His gospel of grace (His pursuit of rescuing sinners through His death, burial, and resurrection). This means that the goal for every man, woman, and child is that all of their life will be lived solely for the glory of Jesus (1 Cor. 10:31).
“AS HE RESCUES AND RESTORES”
The “grand narrative” of Scripture follows the progression of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. This overarching storyline to the Bible places Jesus directly at the center and focus of all of human history.
The biblical account of creation opens with a beautiful picture of a perfect world spoken into existence by God. The fall of mankind immediately brings shame, separation, and death into our once perfect world. All of creation and our souls long for a return to a perfect Genesis 1 & 2 world. God provides redemption through sending his son Jesus to rescue us in our active rebellion against him! We long and await for the restoration of all of creation. The second coming of Christ has been promised, and this time he will come to set everything crooked straight as heaven comes to earth and all of creation is perfectly restored to the original design of Genesis 1 & 2.
GENESIS 1-3, LUKE 15; 19:10 ROMANS 3:9-20; 5:8-21; 8:12-33; 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17-21, REVELATION 21:1-5
“ALL PEOPLE TO HIMSELF”
Since the beginning of creation, God’s heart has been for all people and all nations, not simply one group of people. In Genesis 12:3, God promises that Abraham will be a blessing to “all of the nations of the earth.” This is rooted in the truths of Genesis 1 & 2, that all human beings, regardless of race, gender, culture, social status, or intellect, share a common trait as image bearers of God. He has uniquely created every human to bear His image on earth and this truth is revealed throughout the biblical narrative. The people of Israel were not meant to be the only recipients of God’s grace, and hints of Gentiles being included in the people of God are sprinkled throughout the prophets of the Old Testament (see Ps. 22:27, Isa. 49:6, 56:7, Zech. 2:11, Mal. 1:11 for a few examples).
GENESIS 12:3, ISAIAH 60:1-5, JOHN 3:16, GALATIANS 3:27-28, EPHESIANS 1:3-10, 2:11-22, 1 TIMOTHY 2:3-5, JAMES 2:1-9, REVELATION 7:9-12
A greater worship of Jesus cannot happen unless Jesus rescues and restores people to Himself. If Jesus’ rescue is true in our lives, then we will live like people who have been saved from death. We will have a strong passion to place Jesus first in our affections, our ambitions, and our all (Luke 14:25-33). Our lives will not be marked or defined by our circumstances. The temporal things, when viewed through the lens of our rescue, will seem insignificant. By God’s grace, we will seek to live humble lives, devoid of entitlement and expectations, realizing that we deserve death but have been brought back to life. Our relationships will be more selfless; our attitudes more joyful; our motivations more pure; our perspectives more grace-filled. If we have been rescued, then we will desire for everyone around us to be rescued also.
The aim will be for each of us to have a right relationship with God in Christ and if this is true, by God’s grace, we will seek to pursue a right relationship (if possible) with all of those around us.
Sanctification: We will also understand that God’s rescue and restoration plan for us is a process. Theologically, because of the good news, we have been fixed once and for all (justification). But functionally, what this looks like is that we daily need rescuing and fixing. We need the grace of Jesus every single day, not just the day we are saved. We need His grace to continuously bring us back into a right relationship with God so that we can be growing and changing. This process is called sanctification (the process of being made holy; being conformed into the image of Christ – 2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29).
A Global rescue and restoration plan: We desire for this to happen not only for the people in Tampa, but also all over the world. We will be a people who have a burning passion for the nations. Since God’s redemptive plan involves the entire world (Is 49:6), we will be a church committed to seeing the entire world rescued and reconciled to God by the grace of Jesus. We will accomplish this through our partnerships (Acts 29, International Mission Board), by giving towards global church planting efforts and towards specific needs (poverty), and by going to the nations to hopefully see rescue and restoration happen in the lives of so many around the globe.
“THROUGH DISCIPLE MAKING”
A disciple, most simply, is someone who has been saved by the grace of Jesus. A disciple is someone growing in their worship and enjoyment of Jesus as they are in the body of Christ. Our desire at Aletheia is to see more disciples made that in turn make other disciples, so that a greater worship of Jesus will continue to multiply.
The measure of a disciple’s growth can be seen through the lens of four categories:
- Identity: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17).
- Worship: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1)
- Family: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
- Ambassador: Declare – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the
excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9). Display – “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your
good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Pet. 2:12)
MATTHEW 28:18-20, 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17, ROMANS 12:1-2, ACTS 2:42-47, 1 PETER 2:9
We will view discipleship not as a formula or system, but rather as the overflow of worship. As a greater worship happens in our lives, discipleship happens. Then, as right relationships with God and others are formed, we will become disciples who in turn make disciples.
Discipleship is an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is best designed to be accomplished within the local church body and context. This means that the discipleship process here at Aletheia take place the moment a person walks through the doors of our church, and it continues throughout their entire experience. We never “arrive” as disciples, and we are always and continuously being transformed further into the image of Jesus as his Spirit enables us to worship Him in a greater way in all of life.
Being Discipled: What does it mean to be discipled? As we have established, a disciple is someone who has been rescued and restored by the grace of Jesus and their identity and worship reflect that. If this is true of a person’s life, they will desire to be a part of the family (local church community) and to be ambassadors in spreading the fame of Jesus to a lost world.
- Air War: Sunday mornings are a great way to be discipled. Not only do we hear the gospel preached weekly, but we also gather with our family to worship our King together. Sundays give us an opportunity to worship Jesus through our service, through singing, giving, partaking of the Lord’s supper, and fellowship.
- Ground War: City Groups are the primary way discipleship happens on the ground. Discipleship happens best within the natural rhythms of life, and City Groups help to facilitate this growth. Whether it is through Bible study, prayer, breaking bread, or fellowship, City Groups allow for intentional relationships to occur in our regular weekly routines. The hope and prayer is that the overflow of these relationships encourages deeper gospel friendships, which results in a greater worship of Jesus experienced in our communities.
Making Disciples: What does it mean to make disciples? The goal is the same as it is with being discipled: To see a greater worship of Jesus within the life of every individual. Our part in this is to be sent out as ambassadors of Christ to the people that God has brought into our spheres of influence.
We can make disciples on Sunday mornings by being present and serving the body of Christ faithfully. We can make disciples on the internet by interacting on social media and posting gospel-centered thoughts from Sunday’s sermon. We can make disciples on the ground by committing to a City Group and pursuing relationships within these groups. We can also make disciples by opening our lives and homes up to the people around us; being hospitable and looking for ways to reach out to our church community, our neighbors, our co-workers, and our classmates, and by finding ways to be generous towards them in meeting their needs. Through this picture of the gospel, others will be drawn to a greater worship of Jesus.
Discipleship Tracks: Aletheia has created various discipleship tracks for individuals within our family to develop their gifting and calling within our local church context. These tracks are listed and explained below.
(The idea behind the following tracks is that discipleship is an ongoing process. This process will continue as long as a person is committed to this church. These tracks are not designed to be stepping stones and there is no hierarchy for discipleship. The goal is the same for everyone: “A greater worship of Jesus.” We just understand that according to gifts, callings, and passions, not everyone’s journey of discipleship will look the same.)
1. Mission Member
2. Mission Leader
5. Church Planting Apprentice
“AND CHURCH PLANTING”
The book of Acts in the New Testament is a historical work tracking the growth of the early church as Jesus expanded his Church outward from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, all the way to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). After the conversion of the Apostle Paul, recorded in Acts 9, the primary focus of Acts is on the missionary journeys of Paul and his companions. These men had one goal as they engaged people all over the known world with the gospel: they desired to see Jesus save people through the planting of churches.
Church planting is the means of reaching lost people in the New Testament. Since Jesus is rescuing and restoring lost people to Himself in the Church, we desire to plant more churches in which God can be increasingly worshipped and glorified. Although many worthwhile and meaningful causes should be pursued and started in our city, the planting of more gospel-centered churches is of the utmost importance. Jeff Medders comments, “The chief need of every city is the gospel of Jesus echoing from a planted church.”4 God has specially called some to be elders within the body of Christ, so we also desire to identify, equip, train, and send out these men for the work of ministry through church planting.
Church planting has for 2,000 years been the vehicle by which Jesus has expanded His gospel reach to cities and nations. We believe in church planting and desire to be a church planting church. We believe the vision of seeing a greater worship of Jesus ultimately leads to church planting. If a greater worship of Jesus happens through the planting of gospel-centered churches, then we are resolved to seeing more churches planted. Why? So that more glory, honor, and praise can be brought to Jesus. Additionally, we understand that we live in a metro area that includes more than 3 million people with hundreds of different neighborhoods [i.e. Seminole Heights, Lutz, Suitcase City, New Tampa, etc.], Tampa is in need of more than just a few new church plants. If we are resolved to seeing every man, woman, and child brought to a greater worship of Jesus, primarily accomplished through church planting, then we ultimately want to plant as many grace-filled, Jesus-centered churches as our Savior allows. This will ultimately lead to more glory being brought to our King!