The book of Acts portrays the result of Jesus' life and ministry in the actions of His followers and their new community, the church. Filled with the promised Holy Spirit of God, this community began to represent Jesus’ kingship and kingdom to the world. Living by Kingdom Values based on their intimate knowledge of Christ, the church was able to live out a love and unity unheard of in the wider world.
Although the values held by the early church manifest differently according to specific times and culture, their general applications are not bound by history or geography. The following four core values attempt to summarize Kingdom priorities that will always yield new life and blessing to people who purpose to live in and through them.
Truth & Meaning
Before truth can be about facts, it must first be about a Person.
In declaring Himself the truth, Jesus echoes the insistence in Hebrew Scriptures that truth and meaning are intimately connected to each other in the nature of God and His purpose in creation. But Jesus does not simply echo this great scriptural theme—He makes Himself its culmination. In a few plainspoken words, Jesus takes the long story of how God revealed His nature and purpose to the people of Israel and declares Himself its key.
In Christ’s love relationship with the Father and the Spirit, God’s Triune, relational nature is demonstrated. In Christ’s march to the cross, God’s passionate purpose to include humanity in His eternal communion is made manifest. United, these two lessons provide context for beginning to grasp what it means to call the Bible God’s revealed truth—that Scripture not only grants reliable historical knowledge about how God acts in the daily world, it grants unique theological knowledge about what God is like and why He acts at all.
Imago Dei Community shares a commitment to hold Jesus Christ as the sole key to understanding truth and meaning—and why, unless they are united, truth will be empty and meaning blind. Since the Bible alone accurately represents the person and work and heritage of Jesus, Imago Dei treats it as God’s ultimate tool for directing the church to know Christ and be transformed into His image.
Truth is a baggy word these days. But for truth to be truth at Imago Dei, it must serve nothing less than the holistic meaning found in the Triune God’s active love for the world.
Worship and Beauty
Made in God’s image, people are most human when they too delight to give and beautify. As people salvaged by Christ from selfish waste and adopted into a family of thankful makers, Imago Dei Community recognizes that all things true and beautiful and good find their completion only when they are offered to the Giver in worship.
Instead of compartmentalizing life, then, Imago Dei strives to integrate all of human experience into expressions of worship. Whether dedicating a novel, a song, or a newborn child, the community recognizes that the powers of creativity and beauty find source and destination in God. In joy, God gives these powers that He might receive their fruits back with joy—because only through such exchange may His children join in His eternal delight.
For this reason, Imago Dei values the arts and their expressions of beauty as vital to a life of holistic worship.
God—as Father, Son and Holy Spirit—exists in eternal community. Imago Dei seeks to participate in that community through corporate worship and consistent fellowship, following Jesus’ great command to love both God and neighbor.
And because the gospel is ultimately about humanity being restored to God’s community, only through practicing community will individuals grow fully in the grace and knowledge to be found in Jesus. Furthermore, it is through community that a fragmented world can best witness the power of the gospel and the nature of God’s work. As a culture of confession, transformation, friendship, forgiveness, justice, power, and love springs up in the lives of normal people, those who don’t know Christ will be compelled to ask what is happening.
And the answer to their questions? It's that the Spirit of God is abiding in Christ’s people at Imago Dei as a temple, transforming every person together into the image of a communal God whose nature overflows to the world with faith, hope, and love.
Christ calls His followers to journey with Him into a diverse world and then to embrace it in equally diverse ways.
Imago Dei Community, following Christ, is committed to befriending each other and a broken world through acts of compassion and service. Compelled by love to live out and proclaim the gospel of Jesus, the church conspires to engage culture with hope on all fronts, to advocate for the defenseless, to seek justice for the downtrodden, to lift up the downcast, to embody the fearless love of the risen Christ.
Hardly above frailty and brokenness, Imago Dei celebrates the God who calls His people to start walking with Him through that frailty and brokenness. Hardly beyond pain and even hypocrisy, Imago Dei practices turning the difficulties of the journey into sources of fellowship, joy, healing, and worship. Together, transparent in weakness and strengthened by hope, the church aims to mature in its identity as the image of God to the world.
It is through this walk and worship—messy as they can be—that Imago Dei Community strives to fulfill its mission to love as God loves, proclaiming the whole Gospel to the whole person to the whole world.