Total Christ

Total Christ Church

We want to be a church that truly represents Christ. Augustine called it a “total Christ church.” He believed that a church like this reflects Christ’s presence in the world. According to Augustine, such a church can be recognized by these characteristics:

First, Gospel-Centered

In a Gospel Church we see:

 – People feeling certain of God’s love because of his grace in Christ alone.

 – People whose identity comes from being children of God, not from what they do.

 – People who are are open about confessing their wrongdoings or sins.

 – People who see suffering as a way to grow and learn instead of as God’s punishment.

 – People who are motivated to serve out of personal gratitude instead of just feeling like it’s their duty.

 – People who are more and more set free from a self-promoting, self-defending, self-justifying, blame-shifting approach to life.

 – Instead, these are people who love following God’s laws and find that it helps them and their community to flourish.

 – People who enjoy taking a break on the sabbath day and trusting that God will provide for them.

The gospel isn’t just the A-B-C’s of salvation, but the A-to-Z of the Christian Life. 
Tim Keller.

Second, Missionally-Present

Being a church that is centered on the gospel is very important. However, in our individualistic culture, we often only think about our own relationship with Jesus and forget about the importance of being a part of a community of believers. We believe that the gospel isn’t just about our own personal salvation, it’s also about being connected to Jesus and to other believers as a part of His Body, the Church. This is what we mean when we talk about the church being a representation of Jesus in the world.

Instead of just being a place that sends people out to do good things, the Church is where we come together to be like Jesus and show His love to the world around us. Our understanding of the Church is different because we believe that we are a part of Jesus’ Body on earth, which is made possible through the Holy Spirit. This changes everything about the way we think of “church!”

We believe that local, Christ-centered churches are the center of Christ’s saving presence on earth “against which even the gates of hell cannot prevail!” and that the church’s presence is God’s missionary strategy to the world (Mt. 16:18, John 1:14, 20:21 with Eph 1:22-23, 2:18ff)!

In a church that sees itself as the Missional Presence of Christ we see:

 – An emphasis on evangelism as sharing the good news about Christ with people in ways that are helpful to them, not just try to win arguments.

 – Welcome of people who are not Christians into the life and worship of the church

 – Worship that participates in the mystery of Christ’s “transcendent otherness” and also accessible, through the incarnate presence of Christ, in local styles and customs.

 – A willingness to make personal sacrifices for the sake of the “elect” – both the ones who already go to church and the ones who don’t.

 – A confidence that the outward means of grace (Word, prayer, sacraments, community) are important ways to reach people with God’s message.

 – A church that thinks of themselves as missionaries, both locally and globally.

 – A church that knows itself to be God’s strategic presence in its city or town.

Third, Scripture-Driven

A Scripture-Driven church bases its teachings and practices solely on the Bible. We want to hear God’s voice in our appreciation and experience of Biblical theology and expositional preaching. While the Scripture governs our faith and practice, we want to read and interpret the Scripture within the consensus that the church has passed down through time using Confessions of Faith. Our consensus is reflected in the Westminster Confession of Faith; we strive to apply our beliefs to all of life (Luke 24:13ff, Acts 20:27, 2 Tim. 3:16, Titus 2:1,7).

In a church that is Scripture Driven we see:

 – A high regard for the Christian Scriptures as the final source of faith and practice where the church, acting as a whole, is careful to teach the entirety of God’s Word through discernment.
 – A high regard for the Scriptures in preaching that is careful to discern the original intent and Christ-centered.
 – A culture of humble submission to Scripture by engaging in biblically regulated worship and practice.
 – A humble regard for the church as “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”, studying the Bible in community, including the use of historic creeds and confessions, rather than only individually in order to be conformed together into Christ’s image.
 – A church that is careful to consistently teach and apply biblical theology to bring about Christian renewal and sanctification.
 – A church with a theology that has the goal of making confessions of faith.
 – A church that bears the burden of proving our faith from Scripture, rather than merely quoting Scripture.

Fourth, Sacramental

Being the Priestly presence of Christ means sacramentally connecting to Him through Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, while also acting on behalf of our community: praying, serving, and seeking to live as the presence of Christ and embodiment of His Love in our context.

Fifth, Community Creating

Christ is our King and when we are with other believers we are reminded of what we were made to be. Because God is Trinity, He is a community in Himself, so being in a community helps us reflect Him. This means loving, serving, and spending time with each other: helping with moves, watching kids, sitting together in loss, caring in crisis, or just relaxing around a bonfire and talking. A big part of how we experience the presence of Christ in our lives is through the love and friendship of His people.