Christ Honoring Worship
Worship is our whole-life response to God. He has revealed Himself to us through His creation, His Word, the Bible, and through His Son, Jesus Christ (Psalm 8,103; Hebrews 1:1-3; 10:19-25). God invites our worship of Him for our own benefit for He alone is worthy of our adoration, obedience, and praise. Jesus said that the Father longs for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24). Today a great deal of attention is directed to a church's "style" of worship expression. While we admit to pursuing a style that we believe best connects our current worshippers with the Lord, we focus primarily on the "content" of hymns and praise songs. In selecting music for our times of gathered worship instrumentation and stylistic concerns are secondary. Scripture reveals God's primary concern to be our heart motivation. Consider the following Scriptures as motivation for worship: Colossians 1:15-18; Revelation 1:17-19; and Hebrews 13:8.15.
Scripture Grounded Preaching and Teaching
The Bible claims divine authority as the only God-breathed Word for mankind (2 Timothy 3:16,17). As such it provides a unique revelation of who God is and what He wants to communicate to us. Our aim in presenting God's truth is to be biblical (2 Timothy 4:12), practical (Acts 2:37), and spiritual (Hebrews 4:12). That is, the Scriptures will govern the content of our teaching, we'll seek to understand God's desired response, and the nature of our presentation will always be the product of prayerful preparation. Because the Bible is the Word of God we are dependent on His Spirit to enable us to truly understand and receive its message (1 Corinthians 2:9-13). We want to approach Bible studies and sermons with a hunger to know God better and prayer for an open heart to respond to God's truth (Mark 4:1-20).
Prayer Birthed Ministries
Our ministry is to be the Body of Christ to the world. To be so we must work in co-operation with Jesus Christ, the Head. To know His mind and to do His will we must nurture an intimate relationship with Him through His Word and through prayer (John 15:4-8). The source of our strength is in Christ (Philippians 4:13). We constantly face the temptation to attempt the work of God in the strength of our own flesh, and the sad result is a ministry that glorifies man and lacks long-term spiritual fruitfulness. Our struggle is ultimately with the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12). So the weapons of our warfare must themselves be spiritual (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Prayer is the instrument that God has given to us to enter the arena of spiritual activity, to set our direction and to stay connected with His lead. Our ministries are grounded and sustained through prayer (Ephesians 6:18- 20).
Team Owned Involvement
The effectiveness of Sanctuary Bible Church is dependent on the healthy participation of each individual member (Ephesians 4:11-16). Every believer is a necessary part of the story of redemption that God is producing (Romans 12:3-8). Though we all have different parts to play, we all have a direct connection to the Creator and the Choreographer of this story (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), and He invites us to partner with Him in putting His life on display in the world. When we follow His lead, the result is unity, and the beauty of His love through Christ becomes visible through us (John 13:34, 35; 17:20-23). We believe that doing ministry in teams creates a synergism that propels our ministry forward because it encourages people to serve in their area of giftedness and to learn how to submit to each other in love.
Servant Hearted Leadership
While all followers of Christ are called to serve (John 13:13-17) some also are equipped and called to lead. This calling is grounded in:
1. God's preparation through spiritual gifting,
2. a demonstrated maturity in the servant character of Jesus,
3. the development of ministry skills,
4. a recognition from existing leadership (1 Timothy 3:1-7; 4:14-16).
The task of our leaders in the church is to equip this body for a life of godliness and fruitfulness in ministry. Our distinctive style of leadership within the church is to be that of servant-heartedness (Mark 10:43). Our goal in leadership is to care for those God has entrusted to us (Acts 20:28) and to prepare other's to lead as teachers, mentors, and ministry team leaders (elders, deacons, and deaconess). The invitation to lead in a ministry of Sanctuary Bible Church, then, is an invitation to serve.
Inscribed across the pages of Scripture is the priority of loving relationships.
- For God so loved the world that He gave... (John 3:16).
- A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another...(John 13:34, 35).
Learning to love means caring more about the needs of another than caring that my own needs are met. It also means getting involved to practically address the needs of others on an individual basis. Sanctuary Bible Church small group fellowships provide the fundamental arena in which these personal needs can be recognized and met (Acts 2:42-47). These groups also provide the context for the giving of loving accountability (Galatians 6:1, 2). Personal warmth, smiles, tears, and times of laughter will characteristically mark a fellowship of people who are committed to giving, caring, building up and encouraging one another.
Our giving is an act of heart-prompted worship in response to God's great love toward us in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 8:7-9; 9:7). While a variety of tithes were prescribed under the Old Covenant for the people of God, the New Testament teaches the stewardship of our entire lives, of which our money is just a part (Luke 16:1-13). All that we have and all that we are is to be held as a stewardship for which we will give an account. At Sanctuary Bible Church we encourage everyone to prayerfully consider the needs God brings across their path. These needs will include the support of our local church ministries, compassion ministries to meet the needs of the poor and hurting, and our need to extend the gospel cross-culturally to those who have never heard. All giving at Sanctuary Bible Church is treated as a free will offering, between the giver and the Lord, and may be designated for our General Operating Fund, our Mercies Fund, or our Missions Fund (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
Compassion Guided Evangelism
God's love for lost humanity compelled Him to send His Son into the world that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-18). Even as God sent His Son, so the Son now sends His church into the world to testify of His power and love that the world, through the witness of the church, might be saved (2 Corinthians 5:14-20). Salvation is always the work of God by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8, 9), but He has entrusted to us the task of sharing the good news of His offer of salvation (Matthew 28:18-20). We encourage everyone in our fellowship to pursue a personal strategy of relational evangelism (Colossians 4:2-6):
- Seek out and pray for your network of friends who do not yet know Christ
- Focus on common points of interest for building relationships
- Look for practical demonstrable ways to communicate your care
- Invite them to join you in activities with other Christian friends
- Be prepared to give simple expression to your faith in Christ
- Pray often and much about your opportunities
The result of a vital ministry will be increasing fruitfulness (John 15:1-5). It may not be quickly evident, and it certainly will not be easily produced (2 Timothy 2:3-10), but the blessing of faithfulness is Spirit-grown fruit. And, tending the vineyard is everyone's responsibility, not in isolation, but working in partnership, in a team, to grow, and to teach others in spiritual husbandry. We encourage a church culture of prayerful anticipation - looking for others to join us in every area of serving, giving, and sharing. A mindset for multiplying our personal ministries is at the heart of our discipling efforts (2 Timothy 2:1, 2; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8). Be on the look out, then, for those who are Faithful, Available, and Teachable, and ask them to join you in ministry.
Christ's vision for building His church extends to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Just as God sent His Son into “foreign territory,” so Jesus sends His church to be involved in cross-cultural missions (John 17:18, 19). We are, therefore, committed to crossing barriers of distance, culture, and language to establish and strengthen Christ's church around the world (1 Corinthians 9:23, 24). While we traditionally think of missions taking someone overseas, the world is now at our doorstep. We are also actively engaging in local and national opportunities to share the gospel with those who have not yet responded to Christ.