Life Connection Distinctives
We believe that the Lord has called us together for His purpose to allow His Holy Spirit to extend His church as we dedicate ourselves to acts of faithful obedience in the ministries that He has called us to. Life Connection is not pursing a “mega-church” model, but rather believes in the effectiveness of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry through smaller local congregations, based on seven distinctives. As our body grows, we will be seeking the guidance of God’s Spirit in the timing and location for the future replication of the present work.
Why is Life Connection different from other churches?
In short, because we operate from a different definition of what church is. The church isn’t a building, but rather it is the assembly of Christ’s followers devoted to reflect the glory of God in everything that we do either inside or outside of the building where we meet. For that reason, our focus is neither on liturgy or formality, but on those things solely essential for the purpose of building and deepening our relationship with the person Jesus Christ.
We believe that only the foundational doctrinal truths of our faith as revealed in scripture, and restated in our “Doctrinal Statement” are non-negotiable. However, all other traditions formerly or presently held must be evaluated with continual frequency in the light of their effectiveness to serve in fulfilling our commission to know Christ and to make Him known to others.
As stated by one of the earliest church fathers, “In the essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty but in all things charity” the forms and expressions used in our worship are continually open to change, while the meaning of those expressions will always and forever remain unalterable. For this reason, the atmosphere of our gatherings is best described as contemporary, casual and comfortable.
What is family integrated?
In the simplest terms it means that the all children sit with their families during the times of teaching and worship, rather than being segregated from their families in other areas of the building during these most important times. Our goal is to be a church where families worship together. We recognize that families (which include singles, widows, divorcees, grandparents, etc.) are God’s building blocks for the church. In this manner, we fulfill our objective of equipping whole households for ministry through heart-level relationships rather than activity-based programs.
We believe that the local church should be viewed as a spiritual “family of families” who value intimacy and interaction. The church will most effectively grow and fulfill its mission corporately through the multiplication of family-like congregations. We further adhere to the conviction that the principals as revealed in scripture are only of value when they are “passed along” and applied in the life of an individual, rather than simply taught from a pulpit. Family integration offers us the opportunity to practice and model the principals of scripture within a local community for one another, including newer and younger members.
What’s an elder-led church?
God has revealed in Scripture that His established structure and design for His church is a model of leadership realized as Christ being the head, and a number of qualified elders, whom under the direction of the Holy Spirit, will feed, lead, and equip the saints to do the work of ministry. This is counter to the two unbiblical extremes of our day: authoritarian, one-man leadership that impedes the biblical functioning of the body, and leaderless house churches that disregard the biblical necessity of elders.
Our conviction is that God has appointed every member for ministry. It is the responsibility of the elders to guide the members in the discovery of their respective areas of service and to aid in equipping them to successfully function within the ministry for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.
While nothing in scripture impedes the establishment of paid clergy, it is the position of the elders of Life Connection to refrain from receiving salary or monetary compensation for fulfilling the ministry to which God has called them. This ensures that all resources are available to be poured back into the ministry of the church.
What is the difference between teaching and preaching?
The goal of the Preaching is to “proclaim” the scripture. In our time, this is most commonly done following a method established by the ancient Greek orators and using the rules of “homiletics”. This method focuses on a few key points encased by an introduction and a conclusion. While this is and has proved very effective throughout church history in evangelism, the goal is solely to communicate the message with little concern given to the actual percentage of knowledge retained by the recipient of the message.
The biblical model of teaching is not only concerned with the communication of the message, but equally concerned with the understanding and retention, leading to the application of the principals of scripture in the life of the hearer. For this reason, we have shifted our focus to create an environment that is conducive for education and learning the full counsel of scripture versus simply “proclaiming” a weekly message that solely focuses on evangelism. It is our opinion that Bibles, tables and notebooks are much more conducive toward this end than pews stacked neatly in a row.
What does it mean to be missional?
Missional is the term we use to describe a life where “the way of Jesus” informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for him and others and where we adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture. As a missional congregation we desire to confront the culture around us, and not ourselves be conformed to it.
As a missional church our intention is to evaluate everything with respect to our overriding objective of knowing Jesus Christ and making Him known to others. This objective compels us, every member, to move outside of the walls of our buildings into the mainstream of where people are living and to form community (gr. oikos) with them.
How is community formed?
Forming community is a fundamental purpose intimately related to our missional distinctive at Life Connection. The principal corporate form of moving those outside of the congregation into, first, a relationship with Christ, and second, a relationship with others, is through weekly home meetings we call “LifeGroups”.
LifeGroups are at the heart of our fellowship at Life Connection. Our goal is that everyone is able to find a place to connect to other people who are on a spiritual journey to know God. In these gatherings, within the homes of our members, people connect to one another, build real and authentic relationships, grow in their walk with God, and strategically seek ways serve the community in the name of Christ.
What about church membership?
Membership in Life Connection is open to anyone who makes a credible (Biblically defined) profession of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and who has obeyed the commandment of Christ to be baptized. Every person desiring membership begins my making a request to one of the elders, who will ensure that written information concerning the doctrine and policies of Life Connection are given.
Additionally, every member of Life Connection attends an informational class, where the church’s statement of faith, administration and vision are reviewed. Upon completion of the class and with the support of the Elders, new members are presented to the whole congregation for encouragement and affirmation.