At Oakwood Church we value . . .
…preaching and teaching that is both biblical and practical (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Since the Bible is God’s Word, it is essential that its preaching and teaching be a central part of our church’s life. By practical we mean that the Bible has wisdom for everyday life and must be presented as such. By biblically based we mean that preaching and teaching must be taken from and true to the Bible. This includes clearly identifying the difference between Bible truth and personal opinion.
…helping lost people recognize their need for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
There is no question that attending church and learning practical Bible principles can improve a person’s life. But becoming a better person is not the first need of those who are lost. Our first priority is to provide both an atmosphere and a message that clearly presents every person with his or her need for salvation through Jesus Christ.
…challenging and training believers in Jesus Christ to become His committed followers (Colossians 1:28).
Growth is a normal part of the Christian life. Believers must have opportunities to learn about and deepen their faith. They must also be directed toward obedience and service to the Lord.
…building healthy families who can pass on a godly heritage (Mal. 2:15).
We think church should contribute to a healthy family life. We try to help people balance priorities between home, work and church. We encourage them to turn to their church for encouragement and support when their family is going through tough times. And we provide biblical instruction to help children of all ages learn to honor their parents, to help married people develop strong relationships, and to help parents pass on the heritage of God’s truth to their kids.
…team leadership by godly, servant leaders (3 John 12).
While there are situations which call for decisive, solo leadership, the New Testament pattern for the church is team leadership. Among the many benefits this provides are accountability, as well as the combining of the gifts and wisdom of many.
…character over performance (2 Corinthians 4:1-2).
Many human organizations are interested only in ability. People are sought after because they can throw the farthest, sell the most, or sound the most impressive. While there is no doubt that God can use ability, character comes first. Integrity matters most. Among other things this means that our church should expect believers to live consistent Christian lives both at church and everywhere else. It means that they should admit it when they are not, and that they should not respond self-righteously when others admit they are not.
…a spirit of love, acceptance, and forgiveness (Romans 15:1-2).
Religion is inherently self-righteous. People join together based on shared feelings of moral superiority. Genuine Christianity is not like that. When a believer remembers what it cost Jesus Christ to forgive his or her sin, it only makes sense to extend love and forgiveness to others. Though wrong is always wrong and right is always right, a Christ-like spirit of acceptance and love is also always right.
…unity based on shared beliefs and values (Colossians 2:1-3).
Some churches enjoy conflict. There is no other way to explain why they continue in it. Spiritually healthy churches are unified churches. This does not mean that everyone sees eye to eye on everything. It means that they share the same values, goals and devotion to the Lord. For this reason they view fellow believers as coworkers with whom they are unified to carry out their calling, and treat them with love and respect.
…excellence in ministry (Colossians 3:23).
Examples of excellence exist in almost every category of human endeavor. Whether in business, entertainment, or athletics, people sacrifice greatly to be the best. Many do these things in exchange for earthly recognition. Since the church exists to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, of all people we ought to do everything to the best of our ability in order to please Him. This means that in every area of ministry we will seek to pursue quality and excellence. This also means we will not attempt to start a new ministry until qualified leadership exists to carry it out.