Purpose & Values

Grace

Grace is at the heart of who we are. By "grace," we mean God's goodness to people who do not deserve it.

For many of us, "Grace" is a shorthand way of referring to our church. This means we are a group of people who does not have it all together. We are a congregation dependent upon God’s unearned blessings from beginning to end. We believe God’s grace is how you start, continue, and finish the Christian life.

This value in action:

I do not understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.

—Anne Lamott
  • We center our worship and preaching around God and undeserved goodness in Jesus.
  • We preach the gospel to Christians and non-Christians, because everyone needs it.
  • We aim to treat one another through the lens of God’s grace.
  • We believe that God transforms us through grace to joyfully obey his commandments.

Church

We are a church—nothing more, nothing less. There are many ways to describe the church, but one of the best descriptions is that the church is a vertebrate organism.

What does this mean? When we say the church is an organism, we mean that it is a living, breathing thing. In other words, we are always a work in progress. This means we take a process-oriented, long-term view with one another. Whether we are extending grace to someone in our Community Group or patiently teaching our children to worship alongside us on a Sunday morning, we give ourselves patiently to the slow, steady work the Lord has laid out for us.

At the same time, the church is a vertebrate organism. It has a backbone and a particular shape. The church is to be shaped by its mission, the ethical demands of life in the kingdom of God, sound doctrine, and subjection to our spiritual leaders.

This value in action:

  • We strive for the profound depth of discipleship that comes from the gospel taking root in a community of people bound to one another. We also understand that the fruit of this takes time to grow and mature.
  • We follow a historical liturgical pattern in our worship. We use creeds, confessions, and hymns from throughout church history. We also celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week.
  • We include our children in congregational worship.
  • We rely heavily on Community Groups to be places where people can live out the Christian life in community with one another.
  • Our pastors and elders shepherd and lead the church. As a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), our pastors and elders are subject to our sister congregations and their leaders.
  • Our deacons provide physical, financial, and emotional support to those in need.

Seattle

God’s grace changes the way we view our city. We are set free from three sub-Christian responses to the city: despising the city and withdrawing like a turtle, merely reflecting the city and blending in like a chameleon, and simply using the city for our pleasure.

Instead, the gospel liberates us to love the city and serve it as good neighbors. We do this through the active cultivation of faithful presence.

It takes a church to raise a Christian.

—Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

First, we seek to be fully present in all the structures of life in our city. This means being called to fully engage in our neighborhoods, our jobs, our artistic and musical endeavors, the politics of our city, and in raising the children of our congregation. Essentially, this means that God is calling us into every nook and crevice of life in our city.

Second, we seek to be faithful where the Lord has placed us. Our presence in Seattle isn’t merely a well-intentioned, warmhearted presence. Rather, it is a presence that is distinctly Christian. We are to love and serve our city, but our ultimate identity will be made known when Jesus returns and takes us “home”—to the new heavens and the new earth.

Another way to put this is that, as Christians, we have a kind of dual citizenship. We are to be fully bonded to the city of Seattle as its citizens. At the same time, our ultimate citizenship is in heaven. It is only when we are living as citizens of heaven that we can bless the city of Seattle.

This value in action:

  • We want Christians to use their gifts as lawyers, software developers, construction workers, artists, teachers, small-business owners, and stay-at-home parents to work God’s peace into their spheres of life. Instead of fostering a sacred/secular split, we want to equip and encourage our people to seek God’s kingdom wherever they are laboring.
  • Through partnerships with various ministries and nonprofits in the city of Seattle, we want to co-labor for the good of the city, whether this means feeding the hungry or working to end sex trafficking. We also want to encourage our people to serve in a wide variety of ways that will never make it to the church’s formal “radar.”
  • We strive to be hospitable. We must constantly invite outsiders into the life and worship of the community to see, taste, touch, hear, and experience the restoration and redemption we have received through Jesus.
  • We use language in our worship, preaching, and community life that is intelligible and accessible to people, regardless of their faith commitments. We avoid the superfluous use of jargon and “tribal language.” Instead, we explain and “invite in” as we go.