Priorities describe how we spend our time, energy, and money. Priorities grow out of the things we value and believe in.
1. Exalting God’s Presence (Worship): The highest priority of God’s people is to worship Him, that is, to give to God the worth that He ought to have in our lives. In the Bible, one meaning of worship is to draw near. Thus, in worship we give ourselves to God in love and He comes to us in the fullness of His Spirit. We believe that an intimate relationship with God is the basis of all that we do as Christians.
2. Expressing God’s Love (Ministry): Ministry at the Vineyard flows from two basic assumptions. First, it is based on the compassion and mercy of God. Jesus was the embodiment of God’s compassion and mercy toward those in need. Thus, through the imitation of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, we seek to minister out of hearts which are filled with Christ’s mercy and compassion.
Second, Jesus Christ as the Messiah came to establish the Kingdom of God, that is, God’s right to rule in the world (Matt. 9:35-10:10). This kingdom rule and reign of God is extended through the world in, among other things, the following ways:
Preaching the Gospel with the aim of making disciples
Praying for the healing of the sick
Teaching believers to follow Christ
Feeding the poor
Counseling those in need of God’s wisdom
Giving to the work of Christ
Building up families
3. Enfolding God’s Family (Fellowship): Vineyard exists to care for and to build up people, not programs. Fellowship begins with our relationship with Jesus. It also involves our commitment to Christ’s body.
We believe that this commitment to Christ’s body can best be expressed by being involved in small groups (i.e. small groups at church, kinships, home fellowship groups, special interest groups). We must know one another in order to love one another and to share one another’s burdens. Small groups are the basic structure in the Vineyard for comfort and counsel, service to one another, intimate relationships, healing and prayer. In these groups, we stress such things as honesty, integrity, reality, acceptance, and love.
4. Edifying God’s People (Discipleship): The New Testament calls Christians to a radical commitment. We believe that we are called to an unconditional surrender of our whole lives to Christ. We do not do this in a legalistic way or to impress or judge one another. Instead, our surrender to God springs from a response of love and thanksgiving to God who loved us and gave Himself for us.
As a church we stimulate one another to discipleship. One meaning of disciple is pupil or learner. It involves binding oneself to another so that the disciple does what the master does. In Christian discipleship our aim is to be bound to Christ and to imitate Him. We believe we are to imitate Jesus in all He did—preaching, healing, praying, delivering the demonized, caring for the poor, etc.
5. Evangelizing God’s World (Evangelism, Church Planting and World Missions): Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (I Tim. 1:15). He accomplishes that salvation through the witness of His people accompanied by signs and wonders (Mk. 16:20).
Studies in missions, evangelism, and theology show that a chief way to evangelize nations and peoples is to plant churches. Therefore, local, regional, and global church planting is a Vineyard priority.
©1997, 2010 Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Gadsden – Revised July 31, 2013
The Simple Version
Gadsden Vineyard Church, GVC, is built upon the foundation of conservative, evangelical Christian theology (see GVC's Statement of Faith). We actively stress certain ideals and attitudes that govern our choices about how we use time, energy and resources. These are our values.
Our primary value can be stated in one word - RELATIONSHIP. We hunger for growth in intimacy with God and His family - extending His kingdom throughout our community and the world. (Look in a Bible at Matthew 22:37-39) Therefore, God and His children are not to be used to meet our own personal ambitions. We prefer rather to learn to relate to Him and to them in a way that will bring wholeness to our lives. From this basic value come all the other things that we value (this list in not in any order):
A. We value the PURSUIT OF GOD. We want to know God’s presence, to hear His voice, and to follow hard after Him. (Psalm 63:1-3)
B. We value CHRISTLIKENESS. We desire that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ love, mercy, grace, righteousness, truth, purity, power, and integrity would show through all that we do. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
C. We value BEING SPIRIT-LED. We honor Jesus as our head and the Holy Spirit as our counselor-teacher who has come to live in us as our constant companion. We seek to be responsive to the Holy Spirit in everything. (Galatians 5:22-25)
D. We value PRAYER essentially because it is our primary means of communing with God and because it is God’s primary means of accomplishing His purposes in the world.
E. We value DISCIPLESHIP and aim first to grow as disciples of Jesus ourselves and then offer what we’ve learned to others. To enable people to learn more quickly and with greater awareness, we use a "clinic model" of teaching and demonstrating in everything we do. (Philemon 6; Matthew 28:18-20)
F. We value THE KINGDOM OF GOD. We believe that when we meet people that don’t know God and serve them, that God will back up our message with His power and authority. (We would call this Power Evangelism.) Many times we see God meet their needs through our actions and prayers, and we see God heal and work wonders through His mighty presence and His Spirit’s gifts to all. (Mark 1:14-15)
G. We value the MERCY OF GOD. We aim to extend mercy to one another and to all to whom we serve. (Colossians 3:12-13)
H. We value INTEGRITY. We seek to speak truthfully, deal honestly, and live uprightly with God, with each other, and with ourselves. (Ephesians 4:14-15)
I. We value SERVANT LEADERSHIP. We believe that Christ has put significant leadership authority in the hands of the pastor(s) and leadership team. We aim to exercise that authority with humility, selflessness, grace, care and a sincere desire to build up the Body of Christ. (II Timothy 2:24-25; John 10:11b)
J. We value the INDIVIDUAL, single or married, adult or child. (Matthew 25:21)
We plan to help one another strive to do all that each of us are called to do in our generation. We believe everyone finds fulfillment in serving others; therefore, equipping the His church is a goal in all of our actions.
K. We value UNITY. We are convinced that all who belong to Christ are one in His Body, the Church. We aim to maintain unity by honoring all who call on Jesus’ name and by seeking reconciliation with all parts of His church. (John 17:21-23)
L. We value COMMUNITY, a “sense of belonging.” We are honored by every person whom God adds to the Gadsden Vineyard Church and desire that he or she participate in a small group where he or she can live and grow in a community of love and acceptance. In small groups people learn to love one another and to share in the reaching of the unchurched. (I Corinthians 13:4-7; Colossians 3:12-14)
M. We value REALITY. We aim to walk in the Spirit and expect to see real supernatural works of God. We aim also to function on the natural plane based on God’s leading and excellent, rational thinking. (James 1:5) We strive to hear the Holy Spirit and walk by faith. We also believe that the Spirit’s promptings will go hand in hand with realistic, rational thinking.
N. We value SIMPLICITY. We desire to do nothing for religious effect but rather to operate in a natural low-key, unpretentious manner. We want every expression of ours—whether our speech, our music, our behaviors, and/or our physical environment to be non-hyped and reality based. We enjoy showmanship and stage presence but value it only as good theater and entertaining. (Philippians 4:4-8)
O. We value BEING CULTURE CURRENT. We aim to develop an atmosphere of ease and to speak, act, and dress in ways to which our culture can respond positively. We want to use music, terminology, and technology to stay in touch with our communities and meet their needs. (I Corinthians 9:19-23)
P. We value DUTY. We believe that as Christians we have moral obligations to perform regardless of what our emotions dictate.(Hebrews 10:25)
Q. We value LOYALTY that is an ever enduring, steadfast, faithful, patient, persevering attitude and action toward other Christians. (John 15:13; Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-11; I Corinthians 13:4-7)
R. We value EFFICIENCY. We want to get as many people involved in ministry as is possible. We like to discover one another's spiritual gifts and calling to encourage each other to grow in Kingdom ministry.
S. We value EVANGELISM and want to PERMEATE OUR CITY and OUR REGION with Kingdom ideals. We want to take the Christian lifestyle out into the lives of the people in our area. We don’t want to wait until people find their way into a church service. We believe friendship, worship and service evangelism will build relational bridges to the unchurched lives.
T. We value being part of a MOVEMENT. We believe God is changing the activities and behaviors of current Christianity into a more biblically functional form. We value the accountability and exchange with others that being in a movement brings.
U. We value being BUILDING (FACILITIES) CONSCIENTIOUS. We will use any space necessary to get the job done to equip people. We prefer our “form to follow the function” when it comes to the spaces we use. We work at establishing Kingdom authority over facilities for which we are responsible. We also aim at making our environs as aesthetically pleasing as is reasonable.
V. We value GENEROSITY. We are committed to freely give away all that we have freely received from God.
W. We value HUMILITY. We know that humility and thankfulness leads to being healthy, mature Christians who aren’t judgmental but serve each other by the love of Christ.
X. We value OUR CHURCH DNA. We love who we are and our evolving unique church culture.
Y. We value HONORING one another. Here are some words from Christy Wimber about honor:
“If you don’t honor those that made a way for you; you have to ask yourself the question, “What do you think will happen to you? Would you be okay to receive the same honor you’ve extended to others?”
One of the ways I choose to honor is by building on what John Wimber and others have given their life to. We must not push others out of the way because we now think it’s our turn, we must give great honor and we do so by remembering with accuracy what they have done for all of us as well as treating them with great respect.
Ministry can be a strain, and not only on the leaders, but also on their children.
I believe this is what the Lord asks each of us as we will one day have to give an account as to whether or not those leading us have had joy in doing so.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Z. We value our home THE EARTH. We want to treat it with care since it is the place that God chose to give humanity to manage. We want to bless it for God’s glory and to leave it the best we can for future generations.
Of course, there are more than these values that go unstated in our local church culture. And because this life is a journey we expect to update and refine this list every few years.
©1997, 2010, 2014 Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Gadsden – Revised March 18-2014