Praise & Worship will be a Christ-focused body of believers; making disciples and sharing the Good News of Jesus with all of southwest Missouri and beyond. As part of His family, we will continually reach out to the lost. We will warmly invite all to belong and help everyone learn His story. We will strive to share the experience of His love and power and embody His promises in every aspect of our daily lives.
Jesus makes it clear. Wherever we go, whatever we do, be making disciples by baptizing and teaching. How are we doing that at Praise & Worship?
The preaching task, based upon Romans 1:16-17, as a part of the life of our church shall seek to proclaim to the hearer who they are: “co-heirs with Christ” (see Romans 8:1-39).
Therefore our preaching relentlessly proclaims that the hearers’ salvation, standing and overall relationship with God is not based upon their behavior, but rather WHO THEY ARE: the children of God!
But this necessitates teaching the story of Jesus (all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation), growing in that story unto the point where the learner discovers and or continues to grow in the fact that His story is also their story!
True stories, however, are not merely read in a book (as powerful as that can be). Sports cannot be learned only through reading. Families are not built only through ideas. Relationships are not only check-lists of feelings. All of these things (and many other things like this) are experienced. So it is with discipleship: the process of forming. A disciple is someone who trusts the promises of Jesus and seeks to follow Him.
But following Jesus is not only when something happens in the heart, nor only a cognitive, nor only a task-based enterprise, but rather a holistic application of everything. Its aim is something that happens both in our inner rooms and out in public, in our lives to, with and from the reality of Jesus living in us, forming us.
And what is He forming us into? His family, His community. Just as Jesus became flesh and “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14), so we—each one of us as individuals and as community, are the temple of the Holy Spirit!
Consider these words from 2 Corinthians 4:7-11:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
He concludes this section in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21:
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Because of this truth, this Christ-Centered, Disciple-Making Community shall continue embodying the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control of Jesus! These are the fruit of His Spirit (see Galatians 5:1-26), which He produces, in us and through us! As such we will be His ambassadors in this dark world, not though some “religious” set of activities or programs, but rather in the reality of His people present, by His power, in the midst of a world of people for which He died and to which He is sending.
We believe, teach and confess that Jesus provides the POWER for doing all of the above (preaching, teaching, forming, and embodying) by His Spirit through His Word, in spoken, written and sacramental (the mysteries of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) form.