"To see people gathered in Newton to worship God, to be a blessing to our community, and to seek our own as well as our community's transformation through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
THEMES: GOSPEL, COMMUNITY, HOSPITALITY, EVANGELISM
Our starting point is the Gospel, the 'good news' of God. We understand, from the Bible, that this Gospel is an event--the coming of God in the person of Jesus into this world torn apart by our shared human rebellion. He came to effect reconciliation between himself and his creation through his perfect life, his death as the payment for our rebellion, and his resurrection as proof of God's satisfaction. This event communicates the message of God, which focuses on his love which we were made for, joined with his justice which we long for, resulting in the great news of his forgiveness, freely offered to all who believe. Finally this Gospel is the power through which human beings are both made right with God and are changed - all according to God's unmerited kindness.
Community is the immediate result of this Gospel. Through it, we find ourselves reconciled to God and to each other. The Bible teaches that the source of this community is God Himself, who has always existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are brought into this community of God by our connection to Jesus. Jesus also brings us into community with each other. This community is most fully and powerfully expressed and experienced when we worship God together. This community continues as we share life together, reminding each other of our new identity because of Jesus.
As worship is the apex of our communal expression of the Gospel toward God, our practice of hospitality is the height of our communal expression of the Gospel toward each other. Like community, hospitality finds it source and definition in God, who seeks out estranged people and draws us to himself. Likewise, our practice of hospitality, directed toward all people, seeks to welcome the other and together move toward Jesus. Hospitality incorporates boundless examples of acts of compassion to a desired end.
Evangelism is simply the telling of the 'good news' of Jesus. It is directed toward the Christian as much as it is directed toward any who have yet to believe. The need for the initial proclamation followed by the constant reminder of the gospel simply recognizes that we all struggle to believe and apply the message of the Gospel--that God has moved toward us in love with forgiveness, through Jesus. Evangelism depends on the gospel's inherent power to change us. Because Jesus is the end, evangelism is necessarily relational.