As a real place for real people we believe we cant be what God has called us to be if we play games with each other. Whether its what happens on stage, within our small groups, serving teams or in our homes, we need to be able to share our faults and weaknesses and not fake it. That's authenticity, just being real.
The C.O.G.A. network of churches are places for people on every part of the spiritual journey, from those just investigating whether there is a God, to those who have made following Christ the priority of their life. This is a safe place for everyone. But safe doesn't mean serenity. The Bible presents a dangerous message of life change. We don't assume everyone believes, or even knows the Bible, but we do assume everyone who comes through our doors is open to exploring it. We believe the Bible is Gods inerrant truth and it is foundational to everything we do.
Culturally Relevant Communication
"Why did they do that?" "What does that have to do with church?" How many times have you heard (or thought) that after you saw something during a service at church? Maybe it was a movie clip, praise dance, or a song. Stuff that seemed to be the last thing you would have expected in church. Well, believe it or not, there is a reason for all of this. There is a method to the madness. Culturally Relevant Communication: is one of our 8 Core Values!
The C.O.G.A. network of churches are places that help connect those who are spiritually exploring Gods love and truth. To do this, were committed to doing anything to help people connect Gods timeless truth from the Bible with their day-to-day life. We do not engage in anything immoral or anti-scriptural to do this, but we do embrace creative methods used in our current culture. The challenge for us is that the Bible was written a long time ago for people in another culture. The fact that we are in Somewhere, USA in the twenty-first century doesn't change the message that God gave 2000 years ago, but it does mean that we need to do some work to connect it to our lives today. That's what we mean by "Culturally Relevant Communication."
Its nothing new. Its the kind of thing the Bible referred to in Ecclesiastes 12:10 which says, "The teacher searched to find just the right words." In fact, its exactly what Jesus did. Whether it was stories about sheep and goats, vineyard workers, or a guy who throws a party, Jesus used the current language and daily life of those around him to communicate truth.
Doing Life Together
We aren't interested in being a church where a lot of people get together for an inspiring service but never move beyond the casual arm's distance relationships of an auditorium. We want to grow by really "doing life together." Community is knowing and being known, loving and being loved, celebrating and being celebrated, and serving and being served. The people who really grow at C.O.G.A., are those who move beyond the auditorium through serving and/or being part of a small group, service team and building friendships in which all of these happen.
We don't believe in striving for unrealistic perfection. We do believe excellence is about bringing your best to Gods work and to life in general. Whenever we do anything as a church we want to bring our "A Game." Whether its our communication and music, how we hold babies in the nursery or how we take care of the building, we want it to reflect this.
believe a strong home provides the best context for people to learn and
live their faith. We partner with families to help them know and
participate in God's Story. We come together to provide support,
encouragement, and resources for today's family.
We believe that ministries are only valid when they are functional. Ministries that no longer support the mission of the church or are not functioning effectively will be reviewed and eliminated. New ministries will proactively be encouraged and affirmed to meet the changing needs of the culture and our community.
We don't expect everyone who walks into this church to be a committed Christ-follower. But we do expect everyone who is around our community for any length of time to be growing. We expect every person to be moving closer to being the complete image of Christ in every area of life. When it isn't happening we need to ask why. The answers aren't always comfortable. In fact we often grow only when we are pushed out of our comfort zone.
God, who is holy, calls us to a life of holiness. We believe that the Holy Spirit seeks to do in us a work of grace, called by various terms including "entire sanctification" and "baptism with the Holy Spirit" - cleansing us from all sin, renewing us in the image of God, empowering us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, and producing in us the character of Christ. Holiness in the life of believers is most clearly understood as Christlikeness.
We are a sent people, responding to the call of Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to go into all the world, witnessing to the Lordship of Christ and participating with God in the building of the Church and the extension of His kingdom. Missional living is the embodiment of the mission of Jesus in the world by incarnating the gospel. "It is the imperative that Christians be like Jesus by living freely within the culture as missionaries who are as faithful to the Father and His gospel as Jesus was in His own time and place."
Intentionally look for others to nurture and develop. We need to create self-awareness for people to discover their ministry by inspiring and assisting people in discovering their calling, personality, gifts, and ministry. We must develop teams where people are encouraged, developed, and mentored while intentionally looking to identify and train leaders who are motivated to train and equip other leaders.