Guiding Statements

Introduction: DNA

DNA is a set of instructions encoded in each living cell that tells it what it is supposed to be and
do. DNA makes us who we are.
We want the DNA of Forest Hills Bible Chapel — our Mission, Vision, Core Values, and Core
Activities — to serve as a governing code that defines all we are and all we do as a spiritual
body. We understand that we do not have the authority to define our church because it belongs
to Christ, who is the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18). Documenting both who we are and
who we want to be as a church is an exercise in asking God for direction, seeking it in His Word,
and listening to the Spirit.

Therefore, this document is a reforming expression of our controlling conviction that we are
under the authority of Christ. We fully acknowledge that we move forward as earthen vessels
and learners with a sober realization that in some cases we will try, fail, revise, and try again.
However, as we listen to Christ, endeavoring to discern the instruction and guidance of His
Word and the Holy Spirit to us in these matters, we believe that Christ is calling us to be the
church outlined in these Guiding Statements, and that as a particular local body of believers we
are called to use the unique gifts God has given us to proclaim His Kingdom and bless His
Church. We look to Christ because He is our Head, and as we hold fast to Him, our whole body
will grow with a growth that is from God (Colossians 2:19).

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is
that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Branches can only
bear fruit by abiding in the Vine. May it be so of Forest Hills Bible Chapel.

The Elders
Forest Hills Bible Chapel

 

Purposes of Guiding Statements

  • Mission – A brief, overarching statement that answers the question: “Why do we exist?”
    A tool to unite and direct the church.
  • Core Values – Short explanations of the foundational things we value as a church. A
    tool to define and remind us of what is most important.
  • Vision – A detailed description and brief summary statement of the answers to the
    questions: “What will the future look like as we fulfill our mission?” and “What will be
    different?” A tool to develop a common concept of where we are going and who we want
    to be. Flows from our Mission and Core Values.
  • Core Activities – An organizational framework to direct the work of the Chapel
    members, especially our leaders, as we determine what we will do to carry out the
    mission and reach the vision. Will be applied and expanded in the forthcoming
  • Implementation Plan.

 

Mission

Forest Hills Bible Chapel exists to proclaim the excellencies of God, who called us out of the
darkness into His wonderful light. [1 Peter 2:4-5,9-10,  1 Tim 3:4-5, 14-15,  1 Thes 2:7-12,  Gal 4:19-20]

Core Values

We are passionate about…

God – We believe in the only true and living God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – our Creator,
Redeemer, and Sustainer. Our hope, faith, and salvation are in Him alone. [Deuteronomy 6:4; Acts 17:24-31; Titus 3:4-7]

Church Family – God calls people to belong to Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, and to
join with one another as members of His household.  [Romans 1:6; Ephesians 2:14-22; 3:14-21]

People – All people matter to God, and He is seeking to reconcile them to Himself. As people of
God and ambassadors for Christ, God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  [2 Corinthians 5:19-20, John 3:16-17, Mark 12:28-34]

Scripture – God has spoken and continues to speak in and through Scripture about Himself
and His will for us. The Bible is our final authority for life and faith, teaching us the truth about
God as Creator, our rebellion, His work to restore us, and our new life with Him now and
forever.  [2 Timothy 3:15-16; Romans 3:19-26; Revelation 21:1-4]

Gospel – The Good News of Jesus – His coming as Messiah; His death, burial and
resurrection; and His return as Judge and Savior – is the only door through which we can enter
into a relationship with God. God calls all people to repent and believe in His Son Jesus.  [John 3:16-18; Acts 2:22-41; 4:8-12; Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10,13]

Worship – God is worthy of our enthusiastic praise. As we come to know God, we are moved to
display ever-increasing gratitude and love for Him by our words and our lives.  [1 Peter 2:4-10; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 13:15]

Prayer – God hears and acts when we pray. He invites us to approach Him as children
approach their father: in dependence and faith and with persistence.  [Luke 11:1-13; Colossians 4:2-3,  1 Peter 3:12, 5:7]

Priesthood of All Believers – God calls all Christians to intercede for each other, to serve one
another with our gifts, and to be His witnesses in the world around us in word and life.  [1 Peter 2:9,12,  1 Timothy 2:1-4; Hebrews 13:16; Ephesians 4:7-13; Romans 15:15-16]

Maturity – God calls us to be fully devoted followers of Jesus. We seek to become people of
Christlike integrity in our character and conduct.  [Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:13,  1 John 2:3-6]

Unity and Diversity – God calls believers to be united in their faith, in their pursuit of Christ,
and in their acceptance of all those whom God has accepted. “In essentials, unity. In
nonessentials, diversity. In all things, charity.”  [Ephesians 4:1-6; Romans 14:1-15:13]

Vision

Introduction

We believe God is calling us to a specific vision for our church family. While by His grace we are
doing some things well, we recognize that God is always challenging us – asking us to boldly
follow Him wherever He leads. God has given us an idea of where He is taking us, and we
greatly desire to go there with Him.

The concept of the priesthood of all believers provides a helpful framework for understanding
our vision for our church. As a body of priests, we relate up to God the Father in Christ through
the Holy Spirit, we minister to and intercede for one another in the body, and we reach out to
the world around us as ambassadors for Christ and His kingdom.

In 1 Peter 2:4-5, the apostle Peter tells us, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men
but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up
as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ.”

To explain how this concept of the church works, evangelical scholar Timothy George writes,
“We stand before God and intercede for one another, we proclaim God’s Word to one another
and we celebrate his presence among us in worship, praise, and fellowship. Moreover, our
priestly ministry does not terminate upon ourselves. It propels us into the world in service and
witness.”  [“The Priesthood of All Believers” First Things, October 31, 2016]

As we follow God, we envision Forest Hills Bible Chapel being . . .

. . . a church that reaches up.

. . . a God-honoring church family that is fully devoted to Him. Jesus taught us that a life of
devotion is marked by love of God and a joyful and worshipful relationship with Him, and love of
others and a merciful and compassionate relationship with them.

. . . a Christ-centered church family that passionately seeks and celebrates our relationship with
Jesus. We will fervently strive to allow Christ to be Lord over every sphere of our personal lives
and corporate existence.

. . . a Spirit-filled church family that recognizes we can do nothing without His involvement and
empowerment. We will open our hearts to His leading, equipping, convicting, and counsel.

. . . a worshiping church family that seeks to lift God’s name high in ways that are deeply
meaningful for all. We will praise God in awe and reverence, both individually and corporately.
Our celebration of the Lord’s Supper will center our services on Jesus Christ each week.

. . . a praying church family that approaches God as children approach their father: in
dependence and faith and with persistence. We will pray together, corporately and privately, as
a church and in small groups, as families and as couples, as friends, and as individuals.

. . . a Scripture-anchored and Scripture-shaped church family that holds firmly to the Word in a
culture that is increasingly antagonistic to God’s truth. We will equip and exhort families and
individuals to engage with and be transformed by the Bible.

. . . a church that reaches in.

. . . a shepherded church family in which the Elders will serve, teach, equip, guide, counsel, and
discipline the body faithfully. The Elders will communicate clearly and consistently. The Elders
will continue to raise up succeeding generations of shepherds and pass the torch to them.

. . . a committed church family that takes ownership of our distinctive practices. Our teachers
and leaders will explain the Scriptural roots of these practices, teach our members our particular
way of practicing them, and provide opportunities to participate in them.

. . . a discipled and discipling church family where each member is a disciple of Jesus, is
following and learning from more mature members, and is leading and teaching other less
mature members to obey all that Jesus commanded us. Our older fathers and mothers will add
teach and equip our younger fathers and mothers to lead and serve their families. We will
faithfully try to engage and guide our children and youth in discipling relationships.

. . . a grace-saturated church family in which all people are valued and shown Christlike love.
We will share our lives with one another, comforting those who are hurting and helping those
who are struggling. We will build relationships of trust where we can expose our weaknesses
and failures, for this is the path to true healing. We will accept, forgive, encourage, serve, and
love one another. We will heal broken relationships.

. . . an inclusive church family that cultivates unity, cooperation, and friendships within our
church body across all inessential boundaries (age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family,
etc.). We will work to open our families and cliques to new relationships and to draw in both our
new members and those on the fringes. We will be hospitable to one another.

. . . an equipping church family that offers support and guidance to individuals and families. A
primary means of this guidance will be the teaching of the truths of Scripture, as God’s living
Word transforms our hearts and minds to His likeness. We will also encourage one another in
this process of spiritual transformation through biblical counseling, strategic mentoring,
seminars, and small group discussions.

. . . a serving church family where 80% of our members are actively working toward the mission
of the church while 20% are being refreshed and restored. We will encourage and equip our
people to use their spiritual gifts so that we may be a flourishing local instance of the body of
Christ.

. . . an alert church family that recognizes our enemy in the schemes of Satan and the desires of
our flesh. At this time we recognize accommodation to the world’s presuppositions,
pornography, entertainment, consumerism, disengagement from face-to-face relationships, and
complacency in matters of mercy and justice as threats to the spiritual life and witness of our
body. We will address these issues head-on with truth and grace.

. . . a church that reaches out.

. . . a mission-directed church family that sends out members and outreach partners locally,
nationally, and to the ends of the earth. We will cultivate a culture of involvement in missions
wherever God has placed us corporately and individually.

. . . a collaborative church family that builds long-term connections with other churches and
ministries to proclaim and apply the Gospel. We will build these relationships across as many
inessential boundaries as we can, practicing hospitality with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We will encourage the existing ministry involvements of our members.

. . . a proclamation-oriented church family focused on sharing the good news about Jesus,
especially with those who live in Forest Hills and with children. We will also encourage and
equip families and individuals to present God’s love and truth in their personal spheres of
influence. We will nurture and cultivate our gift of evangelism and lift up our evangelists to lead
us in our proclamation of the Gospel. We will be hospitable to our neighbors.

. . . a caring church family that extends mercy to and seeks justice for those who are suffering
and oppressed, especially those who live in Forest Hills and children. We will use our most common
spiritual gift of helping to serve our neighbors. We will practice collaboration as
envisioned above.

. . . a growing church family in which we regularly welcome a harvest of new believers who join
our body as members. We will strive for congregational growth, acknowledging that
regeneration is a work of the Spirit and that we must be faithful in our commitment to the Great
Commission whether or not it results in numerical growth.

Core Activities

These core activities are a framework to help us organize the work of the church. Some of these
activities are essential for every church while others are distinctive to the pursuit of the specific
mission and vision that God has given us. These activities will be explained and expanded in
the forthcoming Implementation Plan.

  • Overarching
    1. Holding Fast to What the Bible Teaches
    2. Eldership
    3. Ministry Leadership
  • Upreach
    1. Worship
    2. Prayer – Up, In, and Out
    3. Lord’s Supper Celebrated Weekly
    4. Teaching from Multiple Voices
    5. Baptism
  • Inreach
    1. Congregational Care
      1. Church Membership, Shepherding, and Discipline
      2. =Counseling
      3. Caring for the Vulnerable
      4. Bearing One Another’s Burdens
      5. Rejoicing Together
      6. Weddings and Baby Dedications
    2. Edifying and Equipping
      1. Christian Education
      2. Leadership Development
      3. Equipping for Cultural Engagement
      4. Small Groups
      5. Discipling and Mentoring
      6. Stewardship of Resources
  • Outreach
    1. Individuals, Families, and Small Groups
    2. Corporate
    3. Sending and Supporting
  • References

    Previous Statements

    Outside Resources

    Five Models of the Church

    New Testament Metaphors for the Church

    What is the Church

    Mission vs. Vision

     

    — Issued on 10/27/2017