Our values begin with a full acknowledgement of individual and societal sin. We believe, then, that men, women, and children are not only sinners, but also sinned against. Our intention in this ministry is to face head-on both realities in the lives of individuals. Our seven value statements flow from this basic premise.
Being Christ-centered means that we believe salvation in Christ is necessary to bring about genuine transformation. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the One who people need more than anything.
In Christ's great work of redemption, He not only saved individuals from their deserved experience of God's wrath, He has done so by joining them into a visible community of His elect and reconciling them to one another (Eph. 2:14-19). This universal community is lived out in this age in the context of the local church. We aim in our ministry to honor Christ's intentions and the New Testament model by doing our ministry within the context of the local church, fueled and empowered by the church's resources and vision.
When we involve ourselves in holistic ministry (i.e. care for the whole being of the person - spiritual, emotional, physical, social, etc.) we come to a deeper knowledge about who God is and what He is doing in the world. We acknowledge that our spiritual lives are presently diminished in some measure because we are exposed primarily to our own experiences with God-and the experiences of those like us. When we are exposed to new contexts of Christ's saving work through holistic ministry, we gain new perspectives on God's character. The more we act on that newly acquired knowledge, the more we follow God's will. The more we follow God's will the more insights we gain into God's character and the closer we grow to Christ.
We understand evangelism to be a process as opposed to an event, and it is essential that we understand the place that God is asking us to play in the life of a person. Hence, we value the long-term commitment necessary to help people move from pre-birth to maturity as Christians. As people mature in Christ they will develop the ability to face spiritual, moral, and social challenges.
Jesus commands His disciples to prioritize the down-trodden and marginalized, especially children, as opposed to those who have the world's goods and power (Luke 9:48, 14:12-14). To do so, He insists, we must firmly hope in the treasure He will be for us at the resurrection rather than the short-term fame and wealth we might gain in this world. We embrace this call. In doing so, we aim to place the needs of those in the inner-city and the marginalized of society above important, but more commonly recognized concerns and needs. Moreover, we trust that God will supply the resources and strength we need to show compassion towards those so easily forgotten in our society.
Role models provide a powerful picture of alternatives to youth and adults. This is especially true in the area of conflict resolution. People learn by what they have seen, and what has been modeled to them.
Role models expand the horizons of youth and adults. The worldview, vision, and aspirations of those in the inner-city are often limited and confined to what they are exposed to in life, through environment, music, sports, and television.
Role models empower and inspire individuals by pointing out Christians of all cultures who have persevered through trials and oppression at various stages of history, and the role that God played in it. These models offer hope to individuals and prepare them to develop the same enthusiasm for survival that their ancestors had.
Most importantly, Christian role models demonstrate the grace of Christ. They truly incarnate the Gospel of Christ by demonstrating the power of grace in a person's life. In this, they live out the love of Christ through their own tangible acts of compassion and concern for those they interact with.
We take seriously Jesus' prayer that God's kingdom come in this world as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). Though we believe that the consummation of the kingdom will only come with Christ's return, we believe whole-heartedly that this calls us to action in this world, not passivity. Hence, we long for the kingdom realities of justice, peace, and love to reign in the lives of urban youth, families, and societies, and aim to model such realities through our own ministry. We aim to do so with a hope-filled view to the kingdom that Christ himself will consummate with His return.