These five words encapsulate the very life-blood of who we are, how we live, and the work that we are striving to accomplish in the world. Distinct from a "statement of faith" or a "doctrinal creed," we not only believe in our core values, but they also shape our very lives. They are, for us, the essence of what it means to be a follower (a disciple) of Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20).
LOVE God, LOVE people
We believe that love of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and love of neighbor (Leviticus 19:18) summarizes all that is meant to be a follower of Jesus, and what it means to be fully human. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:7-21), modeling for us what true, sacrificial love is. We strive to express the fullness of God's love to our communities (John 13:34-35), our neighbors (Romans 13:8-10), and even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).
Being Spark means you will be loved, be challenged to love, and be transformed by love.
REPUTATION of God
The central character in the story of our faith journey is God. Like Moses in Exodus 32, we care deeply what others think about God, and the repute that God has in our culture and community. We desire to elevate that reputation in our consciences and conversations, with all people, so that the world will know of God's love, grace, and redemption from the beginning all the way to the very end (Deuteronomy 7:7-9; Psalm 145; Micah 7:18-20; John 17:20-23). And as we heal and restore our image of God, we heal and restore the image we have of ourselves.
We believe God's Name (reputation/renown) really is great. We believe the world needs to hear of this greatness (Acts 20:24).
Being Spark means healing our image of God, discovering a God of great repute, and carrying that reputation to the world (Acts 1:8).
RECONCILIATION of all
Our existence consists of three main relationships: our connection with God, our community with one another, and our care of the Creation (Genesis 1-2). Therefore, in our attitudes and behaviors, we want to heal broken spirits (Psalm 51), mend broken relationships (Colossians 3:1-17), create harmony with those we have differences and distinctions, and reconnect the soul to the Creator. We embrace and work towards racial, and cultural reconciliation (Galatians 3:28). We also value religious and ideological education between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, with believers and non-believers alike. (Acts 10:28; 17:17-21).
God is drawing all people to God's self, and we are in partnership with that reconciliation in and through our very lives (Acts 26:29).
Being Spark means becoming both restored and a restorer, healed and a healer, mended and a mender, comforted and a comforter, all in being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ the ultimate reconciler.
RESCUE of the world
The good news found in the Bible is God's rescue of the world from the sins of poverty, injustice, disease, despair, and oppression. We believe that all are called to bring that rescue plan to reality, to leverage our blessings for the salvation of others. God freed, released, redeemed, and took the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 6:6), and God is doing the same in and through us today by providing food for the hungry (Deuteronomy 8; Proverbs 14:31), justice for the victim (Isaiah 30:18), healing for the sick (Psalm 103:2-4), and a future for the lost (Micah 6:8; Matthew 25:31-46). This is the salvation of God (Isaiah 40), the gospel of Jesus (Matthew 4:23), the religion of Christianity (James 1:27), and the heartbeat of the human spirit (Ephesians 2:10).
We believe that rescue can and does happen. We believe there is no greater human identity than to participate in this rescue.
Being Spark means being rescued from your "Egypt," and partnering with God in working towards rescuing others from their "Egypts."
RESURRECTION of the dead
The historical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth transforms everything -- our perceptions, our hopes, our understanding of reality. Ultimately, it means that new life can and does emerge from the grave (Luke 24:5-6). Everything is found in the resurrection: the love of God, God's reputation, the reconciliation of all peoples, and the rescue of the world. It means that the final and ultimate enemy of God -- death and destruction -- has been defeated, and can be overcome (1 Corinthians 15). This new life invitation is extended to all, to be experienced now and in the world to come.
We believe new and renewed life is possible through the resurrection of Jesus. We believe there is no condition, and no person that is exempt from this possibility.
Being Spark means participating in the fullness of the possibility of resurrection, and embracing the living hope that new life in Christ brings.