Acknowledging that all of our plans are in the Lord’s hands and that any measure of success in reaching these plans are entirely dependent on the Lord’s grace and on the Spirit’s enablement, it is our vision to see the following kind of church established in Richfield.
We want to be a church saturated in the gospel. A church where its members know, trust, love, live worthy of, and proclaim the gospel; where its meetings are permeated with the gospel in teaching, song, sacrament, prayer, fellowship, and giving; and where the fruit of this gospel-centeredness will be evidenced both in the corporate life of the body and in the individual lives of each member: fruit such as love, grace, forgiveness, authenticity, faithfulness, gratitude, holiness, joy, unity, and hope.
We want to be a church driven by the Scriptures. A church where the Bible is preached, taught, and discussed regularly in the corporate body; where that same Word is studied and discussed frequently in personal relationships and in the home; where the entire counsel of God is believed and upheld unashamedly; and where no other influence is more central to the lives, thinking, and practice of the church corporately and its members individually.
We want to be a church that works hard in prayer. A church where prayer is understood to be as vital to our health as breathing is to our physical well being; where our planning, strategies, decisions, and efforts are, first, matters of prayer; where members find it normal to seek out other members in order to pray with them, to pray for them, and to ask for prayer from them; where its leaders devote themselves not only to the ministry of the Word but also to prayer; and where the entire body is stretched in its commitment to pray and learns of the joy, privilege, and necessity of communion with God.
We want to be a church whose membership is clearly defined and deeply committed by covenant to one another. A church where every member expresses personal trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, commits to support the doctrine of the church as expressed in Scripture, and covenants with the church body to walk worthy of the gospel; where every member’s needs are deeply cared for and where no member is ever left alone simply to wander away from the faith; and where the Christian life is being lived together in community such that it is normal for members to be interacting, communicating, meeting, serving, and visiting with one another multiple times per week, if not daily, as we see the Day drawing near.
We want to be a church which is organizationally healthy. A church where biblically qualified elders lead the church body humbly, instruct the flock faithfully, pray for the flock affectionately, and shepherd the flock lovingly as those who must give an account for their care for the sheep; where those elders have mutual love and concern for one another, pray together regularly, push each other toward Christ, and seek to lead the flock together as co laborers in God’s service; where biblically qualified deacons serve the church with enthusiasm, seeking to support the elders in their work, while striving to meet and care for the tangible needs of the body; where the church members honor their leaders, seeking to submit to them as they follow Christ, the head of the church, encouraging them in their labors and spiritual walk, and welcoming their correction and instruction as they seek to shepherd well; and where every church member is being equipped for and actively engaged in the work of the ministry, utilizing their unique set of talents, gifts, and desires for the good of the body and the glory of God in the community.
We want to be a church where genuine, Spirit produced transformation is taking place. A church where it is a regular occurrence—though always miraculous—for those who are dead in sins to be raised to new life in Christ through the gospel, to be baptized into the church, and to follow Jesus as his disciples; and where those who know Christ are regularly being changed more into his likeness so that, whether at home, at work, or in the corporate body life, there is increasing evidencing of the Spirit’s presence: evidence such as a desire to know Christ, a tender compassion toward those inside and outside the church, a serious commitment to deny ungodliness and to live righteously, a deep thankfulness to God for his saving work, and an ever increasing joy in God and the gospel.
We want to be a church where it is a joy and a reason for thanksgiving to see the diversity of the community reflected in the composition of the church. A church where the gospel makes inroads into the diverse communities of Richfield, Edina, Bloomington, and South Minneapolis such that the socio economic, age, and ethnic diversity of the community is reflected in the church’s membership, life, and practice; where it is a joy to have Hispanic, white, African American, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and others worshiping together with one voice; where it is a privilege to see those struggling to make ends meet financially and those whom God has blessed with financial prosperity engaged personally and affectionately in each other’s lives; where men and women, those single and married, couples with children and those without, and those young and old exercise genuine, mutual care and concern for one another; and where, in all things, the things which unite the church—namely, our one Lord, one faith, one baptism—are treasured and upheld to such a degree that we demonstrate the gospel’s power to bring reconciliation and to break down social, economic, cultural, and ethnic boundaries.
We want to be a church engaged deeply in its local community and neighborhoods. A church where there is a clear commitment to engage, know, serve, and bless the people of Richfield, Edina, Bloomington, and South Minneapolis; where every member knows, is concerned for, and is seeking to care for his or her neighbors; where intentional efforts are being made to foster positive relationships with local governing officials, fire and police departments, and businesses within Richfield; where our church embraces its calling as the light of the world and the salt of the earth; and where those in Richfield are able to see our good works and, as a result, give glory to God.
We want to be a church with an insatiable desire to participate in the gospel’s advance. A church where every member is committed to seek and pray for the salvation of his or her neighbors, friends, family, and co workers; where there is an intentional effort to train young men, in particular, for gospel ministry and to help prepare them to serve Christ as leaders of his church; and where the entire body is committed to giving joyfully and sacrificially of its time, energy, resources, and members to the advance of the gospel through church planting at home and abroad.