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Values & Distinctives

 

Values

Our values play a leading role in executing the mission of our church. They were the central practices of the early church and we aspire to see them actively displayed in our local body. The values do not guarantee that we are a healthy life-giving church, but they are reflected in every healthy life-giving church. Our vision is to see them carried out on 3 levels: the corporate gathering, small group gatherings, and in the individual life of each member as they gather personally with the Trinity. Acts 2:42-47

Teaching We value God’s Word, the Bible. Reaching un-believers and teaching those who are already believers necessitates the faithful proclamation of the entire contents of His Word.

Fellowship We value biblical community. This goes beyond friendships and activities. It requires believers who are invested in the lives of one another for the purpose of God’s glory being displayed.

Prayer We value praise, confession, petition, and intercession expressed through prayer. God desires his house to be one of prayer and we envision this as a reality in Gathering Church.

Ministry We value members using their spiritual giftings to build up the Church for the common good. The role of our Pastor(s) is not to carry out the works of ministry, but to equip and encourage our membership to do so. We believe every member of our church is called into full-time ministry.

Unity We value the spirit of unity. This is not the result of a feeling, but a choice. It is not the result of lacking differences, but of displaying Christ-like love that supersedes them, even celebrates them.

Giving We value stewarding the finances God gives us in a way that reflects our love for Him and other people. In a society dominated by materialism, we understand that our money is on loan to us by God and our responsibility is to use it how He sees fit.

Worship We value the exaltation of God with our lives. This includes a Sunday morning gathering in which God is the ultimate leader and center of our focus. However, our worship does not end there. True biblical worship extends beyond a Sunday gathering to a life of sacrifice and praise.

Mission/Witness We value being a witness for Christ. It is God’s desire that all people know Him as Savior, and our mission is to live for that cause. The day our church ceases to place its focus on reaching the un-churched is the day we no longer are a church, but merely a religious service provider.
Core Distinctives

We are not the only “good” church in Fort Walton Beach, nor do we desire to be so. We do maintain secondary distinctives that give our church uniqueness. We believe these distinctives help us add value to the Commission of Christ in our city.

Focus on Reaching the Un-churched Almost every church will affirm the need to reach the lost, but few actually invest themselves in it. Our heart is to love the gospel, value the Churches role in preaching the gospel, and invest ourselves in the lives of the un-churched to see them receive the gospel.

Relevance to the Next Generation We do not aspire to be a “trendy church,” but to be a church that always has its eyes on reaching the next generation. We pursue this for three reasons. First, statistics reveal that every new generation sees an alarming rise in the percentage of un-churched people. Second, the older an unbeliever grows the more set they become in their views and are less likely to abandon them for the authority of Christ. Third, as members of our church grow older and mature in their relationship with Christ, we expect them to become more sacrificial and willing to forgo their personal preference for reaching people.

Expository Preaching We believe the healthiest method for preaching begins with a text, articulates principles from the text, and then applies those principles with stories and illustrations. This is in contrast to Depository preaching, which begins with a story or illustration, develops a principle based on the story/illustration, and then deposits scripture from the bible to proof the principle. In an effort to faithfully divide the Word of God, we favor expositional preaching. On Sunday mornings we predominantly walk through books of the Bible, or selected passages.

Complementarian Men and Women are both created in the image of God, with equality in His eyes, and gifted for the works of ministry. However, we do not believe that gender equality means gender neutrality. God has designed men and women with unique differences and functions within the family and church. God’s distinctions in the sexes were intended to compliment, not compete, for the purpose of greater oneness.

Elder Led Gathering Community Church is Jesus’ church. The Bible teaches He is the ultimate Shepherd of the Church Universal, and its local expressions. It also teaches God’s design to place a plurality of called, capable Pastors to oversee His local churches. These Pastors share equality and jointly labor together to faithfully shepherd matters pertaining to the whole of the church. Amongst this plurality is a lead Pastor, who will take a leading role. The Lead Pastor is often spoken of as a first amongst equals, likened to James in the Jerusalem church.