DISCIPLESHIP STRATEGY

Our mission is to Love God passionately by helping people find and follow Jesus Christ!

There are three phrases in that statement that need to be unpacked. First, we believe, as disciples, we love God passionately by helping others find and follow Jesus. It’s not just that we love God passionately and help others along the way. We love God by dying to our own comforts and priorities in order to make the manifold glories of God known to everyone we come in contact with!

Second, we establish the priority of holding up the gospel as the only answer to and hope for everything our hearts long for; that’s what we want people to find. We believe everyone is created the image of God, and as image-bearers, tainted by sin, the only all satisfying treasure everyone is ultimately seeking is God. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ lived sinlessly in our place, died shamefully in our place, rose victoriously in our place, is returning to renew all things, and by faith in Him, we can be reconciled to God, completely righteous in His sight, with the result that we can enjoy Him forever. 

We want to celebrate this message, proclaim this message, teach this message, counsel with this message, and live out the ethical demands of this message. We hope it stands at the center of all that we do as a church. We believe that by lifting up the gospel, in as many ways as possible, we can best exalt and worship God, edify and equip the saints, and engage and evangelize the lost.

Lastly, our aim is to help others follow Christ and all that He commands! It is a gradual process of transformation, over time. It’s about the steady, consistent, day by day growth that takes place that we’re after. We believe this transformation takes place by constant exposure to and feeding on the gospel of Jesus Christ: namely that we are accepted by God as sinful men and women by faith in His finished cross work for us. Our aim in the process of discipleship is maturing into the image of Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that, over time, we reflect the character and priorities of Jesus in all that we do.

The question we want to answer is, “How would we be able to tell if someone is being steadily transformed by the gospel over time into the image of Jesus Christ?”

We believe a disciple is steadily transformed by the gospel over time into the image of Jesus Christ through: Gathering Together (Worship), Growing Together (Community), and Going Together (Mission). The emphasis is on our Life Together!

We want to be a church that brings the hope and encouragement of Jesus Christ to the surrounding area through gathering, growing, and going together!

By God’s grace, we want to see discipleship happen in all that we do at SLEFC. 

We want to see people move from darkness to light (Colossians 1:13-14) by coming under the Lordship of Jesus, receiving baptism, and learning to follow Jesus and make much of Him in all things through all of life. 

The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose.
— C.S. Lewis

DISCIPLESHIP VALUES

We desire to treasure, above all else, the reality of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection on our behalf. We want to know, through faith, we can live restored lives with God. We want to know that following Jesus is worth whatever cost we may face. We want the gospel to have a practical and observable outworking in every facet of our lives. As a result, here are a few values we’ve landed on that we want to be known by:

God-Honoring Worship

We want to see and savor God in His majesty and live in obedience as a result.

We desire to be captivated by and respond to the beauty and splendor of God’s majesty with worship in our own personal devotion as well as gathered times with others. We want to move beyond thinking worship only happens at church as we sing together, but is a far more radical, all-encompassing activity that includes every single aspect of our lives.

Every aspect of the individual disciple’s life should be one pointing toward the magnificence and supremacy of God. Corporately, we gather together to sing, to pray, to confess, to sit under the preached Word, to partake of the Lord’s Supper, to celebrate baptism, to bring our gifts and give financially, and to selflessly and sacrificially serve one another through the various ministries of the church. We want SLEFC to be a church where, when all of these things are taking place, the gospel is held up as the most beautiful news in all the world. When that takes place, the believer will be fueled and the non-Christian will be captivated. 


Authentic Relationships

We want to create a culture of unconditional love and grace based upon God’s love for us. 

We desire to live genuinely transparent lives amongst other sinner-saints which displays the beauty of the gospel, our desperate need for continued grace, and our humble dependence on others, through loving sharpening and refinement, to be further conformed into the image of Christ. With our security squarely and firmly rooted in the gospel, we can wade into relationships with others with great hope, vulnerability, and confidence. 

We can approach relationships authentically, with a humble willingness to call our sin what it really is so it can be dealt with while making gracious accommodations for others in the midst of their sin knowing that we are all works in progress. We can love others and forgive as we have been so loved and forgiven in Christ. The gospel is our motivation for loving others.

Intergenerational Disciple-Making

We want to invest in each other’s lives across multiple generations over the long haul.

We desire to sacrificially put others before ourselves, intentionally and strategically develop leaders across all generations, and use our gifts and abilities to serve and build up the Body of Christ and strengthen the family in fruitful and creative ways.

Having been created in the image of God, who exists in community, we want SLEFC to be a church of and for one another. We believe that the vehicle through which discipleship is most primed for effectiveness is a church of loving disciples, striving to obediently live out the Great Commandment of loving God with every fiber of their being and loving neighbor as self. We need to be surrounded by a community of disciples who will remind one another of the rugged simplicity of the gospel, which we are all prone to forget or complicate, as Paul did so wonderfully with Timothy. 

Risk-Taking Obedience

We want to live adventurously on mission to impact our world by seizing every opportunity. 

We desire, both individually and corporately, to be committed to people far from God, both in our circle of influence as well as those around the world by being actively involved in service, mercy, compassion, evangelism, and mission for the sake of the gospel. We want the gospel to have a practical and observable outworking in every facet of our lives, regardless of the cost.

We want SLEFC to be a church constantly breaking new ground in the tilling of human hearts, preparing for the seed of the gospel to be preached. We believe this takes place through acts of mercy, service, compassion, and love. Doing these things allows us to enter into someone else’s story.

We also believe that those who are skeptical to the truth claims of Christianity need to be lovingly engaged and shown the beauty of the gospel with gentleness and respect, not arrogantly and dogmatically.