At St Johns there are a number of values that shape us, that define who we are and must shape our priorities.  Yet these values are not all equal.  Rather they have a definite priority.

Christ Centred

The very name Christian shows that before else we are defined by Jesus Christ.  We don’t simply believe in  God, we believe that God is fully revealed in Jesus Christ.  Indeed, it is only through Jesus Christ that we can come to God the Father.  We are a trinitarian church but we understand that trinity to be focussed on the person of the Son.  We glorify the Father and the Spirit by glorifying the Son.

Jesus is the central figure of the Bible, he is the focus of all the plans and promises of God and indeed he is the reason this whole world exists.  His glory must be our first concern and his mission our driving motivation.

 

The central value we place on Jesus then gives rise to the following:

Gospel Driven

At St Johns what drives us is the desire for people to hear the good news about Jesus.  Jesus’ purpose is to reconcile people to God, undoing the damage of human attempts at independence from God (sin).  His death and resurrection enable sinners to be forgiven and have new and everlasting life.

Jesus has commissioned us to take that good news to all people.  It is the most vital work in the world, more important than any personal, political or social agendas we might have.

All that we do, whether cleaning, mowing or supporting an overseas missionary, must be shaped by this concern.

Biblically Faithful

The primary way we get to know Jesus is through the Bible.  We believe that the Bible is God’s word – that is, the Bible is the message God has for his people.  As we read the Bible we encounter the living, active voice of the living God.  As the word of God the Bible over-rules all other authorities including our own desires and dreams.  The Bible is God’s message to the human race and is both trustworthy and relevant.

Because of this:

  • We expect teaching to be predominately expository, i.e. unpacking the message of a single passage.
  • The core activity in our home groups is the study of the Bible.
  • Our children’s and youth ministries are centred on the Bible.
  • We seek to encourage and assist people in reading the Bible for themselves.

Intentionally Prayerful

Because we are agents in God’s work we need to be in constant communication with him.  Prayer is a privilege and an important discipline.  It is a privilege because we have access to God the Father who cares for us and hears us.  It is an important discipline because it teaches us to depend on the sovereignty of God rather than our own delusions of control.  It also helps us realign our priorities around his.

Prayer must be our first action not our last resort.

Because of this:

  • We seek to be informed in how we pray.
  • We look for opportunities outside regular service times to come together in prayer.
  • We encourage and assist people in regular personal prayer.
  • We are committed to upholding each other and the ministries of the church in regular prayer.

Relationally Connected

In saving us Jesus did not call us to a life of isolation but community.  Even the word church refers to a gathering of people not an institution or building.

To use Paul’s words from 1 Thessalonians 2:8, we want to love each other so much that we share not only God’s good news but our own lives too.

Because of this:

  • We look for opportunities to enjoy being together.
  • We want to model and encourage a generous hospitality intentionally seeking to build relationships across all community boundaries.
  • We seek to ensure every member of our church community is cared for.

Jesus is invitational and his community is intended to grow. Therefore, that hospitality has to be looking for new opportunities to build connection.

 

These values in turn give rise to the following:

Holistic Discipleship

Jesus’ command was to go and make disciples.  Disciples are those who learn to follow their master and imitate their master.  All people irrespective of social status, nationality, age or gender are called to follow Jesus and to imitate him.  Discipleship is not just about learning, it is also about doing.  The goal of discipleship is maturity.

Because of this:

  • We create opportunities for all people to learn more about what it means to follow Jesus.
  • We place a high emphasis on home groups as the best environment to grow and develop as disciples of Christ.
  • We place a high emphasis on children’s and youth ministries.
  • We encourage people to be active as Christians.
  • We seek to develop relationships of honesty and security so that we can be safely open with one another.

Consciously Engaged

Churches are not ghettos for Christians, nor are they chapels for the pious.  Churches are communities that gather to grow, support and encourage one another while we are about the gospel work of calling all people to follow Jesus.  That means we need to be an active part of our community not a fortress shutting it out.  Likewise we are set amid other churches also about the work of the gospel.

Because of this:

  • We look for opportunities to be involved in the community, not just for the community to come to us.
  • We look for opportunities to work with the churches around us, encouraging them as we go about the mission Jesus has given us.
  • We are an active member of the diocese in which we are placed.

 Developing Gospel Workers

Working for the gospel in this world is not an option for the especially committed or the extra spiritual but part of being a Christian.  Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12 that we are like a body where each member needs to be fulfilling its part else the whole body suffer.  Developing as gospel workers involves not only biblical knowledge but a degree of practical training and the opportunities to put that training into practice.

It is particularly important that we raise up people who are willing and suitably equipped to lead areas of ministry or even commit their lives to full time gospel work.

Because of this:

  • We will run regular training for all ministry areas.
  • We will seek to raise up people gifted at training others.
  • We see ministry as something every member of the church is involved in rather than relying on the goodwill of an overburdened few.
  • Ministry leaders will work with another who is learning to take over the leadership of that ministry.
  • Parish staffing will include people with a potential future in full time gospel work who work in a ministry apprenticeship.

Exporting Leaders

Jesus’ commission demands that we not only strive to build the work here in Wishart but that our concern be global.

Because of this:

  • We will actively support those who are working in ministry outside the parish.
  • We will encourage people to be involved in mission opportunities such as beach missions and camps.
  • We will regularly send out a small team to support the work in churches either in the bush or overseas.
  • We will strive to be a net exporter of leaders – that is, we will strive to send out more leaders to work outside the parish than the number who come from other parishes to work in this congregation.
  • We will actively support overseas mission endeavours not only with our prayers and our resources but by calling our members to be part of God’s global work.
  • We will support those from this parish who we have sent out to train for ministry in the wider church.

Celebrating Giftedness

Just as all are called to take up their role in gospel work, so also God has equipped every believer to serve.  These gifts can be as simple as a skill with numbers or as complex as a medical degree.  They can be spiritual in nature – such as Bible teaching or discernment – or they could be something more common such as musical ability or practical skills.  The important thing is that God has given you those skills for the benefit of his purposes.  They are there to be put to work for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Because of this:

  • We want to encourage people to try new things so that they can understand how God has gifted them and put their gifts to work wisely.
  • When planning, we will consider how God has equipped his church at St Johns rather than simply grabbing at things that have worked elsewhere.