A church, a city, and a world continually made new by the grace of Christ
This vision comes from the Apostle John’s vision of the Risen Christ in Revelation 21.5, where he writes that he saw Jesus, seated on the throne, saying, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
This is the reality toward which God’s people, and, indeed, the entire world, are headed.1 Scripture is punctuated with the truth that in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, a new creation was started.2 The church is called both to proclaim this new creation as a present reality and to make it evident in this world by following Jesus’ commission to make disciples and his command to love God and our neighbors.3
At Covenant, we play our part in that vision by living out the grace of Christ through worshiping together, growing and learning together, and serving together.
We believe that humans are worshiping beings, made for communion with the Triune God, and that ordering our common worship around the Gospel on Sunday has a profound, formative effect on every part of our lives.
Worship is how humans are made to respond to God.4 Covenant is committed to transcendent, grace-centered, sacramental worship that points us toward God and His magnificent worth and the grace that He offers us in Christ. Our worship of God is centered on Christ, our Redeemer, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit.5
The central focus of our worship is always Jesus Christ and the boundless forgiveness and grace he secured for God’s people at the cross. We’ll always have worship that is centered on this grace. In order to do this, we adhere to a pattern of worship the historic Christian church has followed for many hundreds of years: being called to worship, being called to confession and assured of pardon, hearing Scripture read and talked about, and responding with joy before being sent. This is the rhythm of the whole Christian life. It stands counter to lots of other rhythms that clamor for our attention and allegiance in this world, and we believe ordering our common life around it on Sundays strengthens our appetites, imaginations and abilities to live as followers of Jesus wherever we find ourselves.
Growing and Learning Together
We believe that learning about our faith and growing together in it are necessary for flourishing in the Christian life.
We approach life not as experts, but learners. We want to be humble in our approach to God and others, honest in our questions, and eager to learn. We receive Scripture as the true story of God and our world, able to make simple people wise and and bring life.6 Confident of God’s care for all areas of life, we seek to learn how the Gospel re-frames everything around us: work, relationships, justice, health, culture, identity, our minds, and power.
The goal of Christian learning is to form us into human beings who are fully swept up into the work God is doing in his world, reconciling all things to himself in Christ.7 The Apostle Paul calls this maturity, or growing up in the faith.8 Learning is more than simply knowing; it is the internalization of truth that leads to mature thinking and acting. This maturity looks like growing in love for God and our neighbors. Learning and growth are inseparable for God’s people.
Our faith rests on the realities of God’s works of creation and redemption. God has revealed Himself in Creation, in His Word, and in Jesus, and the church has always placed a great emphasis on teaching – handing down, from one generation to the next, the truth we’ve been given.9 This happens most wholly and healthily in a community which is marked by love for one another.10
We believe the natural outcome of receiving and experiencing grace is to be propelled outward into mission and service.
The Apostle Paul told the church that the natural response of being reconciled to God is for the love of Christ to compel us to become ministers of that same reconciliation. He wrote that God makes his appeal through us.11 As unlikely as it seems, we are the ones who have been called to herald the good news in every place and at all times – the good news that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation and that in Christ God is reconciling the whole world to himself.
Every one of us has been given gifts to use for the good of our common life and for the good of the broken world around us.12 The Apostle Paul tells the church: use them.13 Serving isn’t something we do if we have some extra time and space in our lives; it’s central to our faith. We’re called to give of ourselves because we’re part of the story of God’s reconciliation of all things. Jesus’ love, shown for us at his Cross, is the energy that propels our service. We’ve been made rich through Jesus’ poverty; we’ve been forgiven much, so we love much.14 When we give of ourselves and our gifts for the good of others, we’re being faithful to what’s required of us by taking on the mind of Jesus.15 We’re not motivated to serve by guilt or shame or bare duty; we’re motivated by grateful love.16
- The Gospel. The Gospel is our most cherished belief; it is our identity. The Gospel is the centerpiece of the life and ministry of the church. The Gospel is the good news that God, in His infinite love, became a human like us in the person of Jesus in order to be our representative. 17 He lived a perfect life, suffered and died for our sins, and then rose and ascended to sit at the Father’s right hand to intercede for us and graciously rule the world.18 The Gospel is the good news that if we repent of our sins and put our trust in the work of Christ, our sins are forgiven, we are adopted into God’s family, and the Holy Spirit empowers change in us, growing us into the image of Christ.19 The gospel is the good news that in Christ, God is reconciling the entire world to himself.20 This is the good news that the whole world needs to hear, and that we, as God’s people, need to hear again and again. The Gospel is not just the way of entrance into the family of God, it’s also the means of growth within that family.
- The Glory of God. We believe that the purpose of all of life is to glorify God, our Creator and Redeemer.21 Everything that Covenant does is intended to make God’s beauty and glory more evident to all people.
- A Robust and Practical Theology. Covenant is Reformed in both its belief and practices. We believe the confessions and guiding principles of the Reformation are accurate representations of the truth of Scripture and are helpful for our formation. This heritage informs everything we do in our worship, teaching and common life.
- Strong Relationships. Relationships are the context in which growth in the grace of Christ is both experienced and measured. We are all in relationships – with individuals, with communities, and with our Creator. As a church, we are in relationships with other churches, our neighborhood, and our city. Covenant wants to foster and support healthy, redemptive relationships both individually and corporately.
- The City. God has placed us in the city for a reason. Loving our neighbors means that we work for the good of our city. We’re committed to having a local presence that is manifested through all of the particular ministries of the church, as well as in partnerships with other city ministries.
- Gospel Outreach. The good news of the grace of Christ is the greatest thing that any of us has ever heard. We are called to minister that grace not only to ourselves, but also to the city and the world in which we live, across lines of race, culture and socioeconomics.22 Covenant is committed to a robust and comprehensive gospel outreach that encompasses both the Great Commission (making disciples) and the Great Commandment (making peace and establishing justice).
- Romans 8.18-25
- 2 Corinthians 5.17; Galatians 6.15; Revelation 3.14; Colossians 1.18; Ephesians 2.15; 2 Peter 3.13; 2 Corinthians 4.6
- Matthew 28.18-20; Mark 12.28-34
- Psalm 95.1-3; Psalm 96.1-6
- Philippians 2.9-10
- Psalm 19.7; Isaiah 55.10-11
- Colossians 1.20; Ephesians 1.10
- Colossians 1.9-12; Ephesians 4.11-16; Philippians 1.25-26
- Psalm 19; John 1.18; Hebrews 1.1-4; 2 Timothy 4.13-15
- Colossians 3.12-17
- 2 Corinthians 5.11-6.13
- Romans 12.4-8; Luke 10.25-37
- Romans 12.6
- 2 Corinthians 8.9; Luke 9.36-50
- Romans 12.6; Luke 19.11-27; Philippians 2.1-11
- 2 Corinthians 4.14; 8.8
- Galatians 4.4-5
- John 1.29; Romans 8.24; Hebrews 2.5-10
- Mark 1.14-15; 1 Peter 2.23-24; Romans 8.14-15; Colossians 3.10
- 2 Corinthians 5.19; Colossians 1.20
- 1 Corinthians 10.31; Romans 11.36
- Galatians 3.27-29; Colossians 3.11; 1 Corinthians 9.19-23; Matthew 25.31-40; Luke 10.25-37