THE MISSION OF THE BRETHREN CHURCH IS TO MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST WHO, UNITED IN CHRIST, EMBRACE AND REFLECT GOD’S LOVE AND LIVE IN THE TRANSFORMING PRESENCE AND POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
THE BRETHREN CHURCH IS GUIDED BY SIX CORE VALUES.
THESE VALUES SPEAK TO WHO WE HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN, WHO WE CURRENTLY ARE, AND WHO WE ASPIRE TO BE.
We affirm that we minister best when we embody the realities of the places, we are in. Just as God sought to restore His relationship with humanity by becoming human, so also, as we seek to take part in God’s continuing restoration work, we must become like those whom we are trying to bless (John 1:14). Just as Jesus knew himself, and so was able to engage with those to whom he was sent (John 13:3), we likewise follow his pattern and encourage all our congregations to have a strong sense of identity, mission, and vision. Certain practices and postures follow from this Core Value:
We take a posture of humility, avoiding patriarchal and demeaning assumptions about the places we seek to serve.
We believe often the best places our congregations can minister are often whatever places they already find themselves.
We emphasize short cultural distances between those involved in vocational ministry (church planters, pastors, missionaries, etc.) and the people to whom they minister.
We enable highly contextualized congregational expressions for ministry effectiveness, even as we seek to be “of one mind” as Brethren (1 Cor. 1:10).
We recognize that good stewards do not simply maintain what they have been given charge over. Instead, they try to increase it, so that God can use it in Kingdom-building ways (Matt. 25:14-30). Just as God’s Kingdom is merciful, peaceable, and life-giving, we want our stewardship to promote a more full and peaceful life for all those in all the places The Brethren Church serves. We pray that those whom we serve choose to enter into God’s loving Kingdom, and we are reminded that it is through our intentional actions on their behalf that we make “neighbors” out of those who have been strangers to us (Luke 10:25-37). Just as we try to thankfully and cheerfully receive what God entrusts to us as a church, we strive to cheerfully and thankfully offer our denominational resources to those who need them (2 Cor. 9:6-15).
INTENTIONAL KINGDOM WITNESS
As The Brethren Church, we provide and promote structures, programming, and resources that help us live up to this Core Value. Such structures range from the efforts of The Brethren Church National Office and our national programming, to our denominational structure, which positions us for equitable communication and help in doing the work of God. We receive the help of our partner organizations nationally and internationally, and we celebrate all the ways God uses us to bear witness to His Kingdom. We dedicate time, treasure, and resources at all levels of The Brethren Church to intentionally do the work God has called us to do. We love our Brethren global partners as ourselves and seek to bless them as they bear witness to God’s Kingdom in their unique cultural contexts in ways, we, though their brothers and sisters, cannot.
Our view of Leadership takes into account both the Generational Mandate of The Brethren Church, and our concern that we steward well our resources, gifts, and times. Following this, leaders do what they can to help people “fan into flame” the gifts God has given them to build God’s Kingdom (2 Tim. 1:6). We mentor, teach, and preach in a way that is mindful of potential future leadership needs in the church, as well as the needs of the present.
We also recognize that servant leaders are empowered by God. We believe that God has equipped those who make up the body of Christ with particular gifts. We believe that it takes the entire church, working with the gifts that God has given each member, to achieve the full intentions God has for us. No one individual can carry out the work God has for his people (Ex. 18:13- 27; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:11-16).
BIBLICAL AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION
We are committed to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus through submission and obedience to Scripture and through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
Biblical and spiritual formation is the process by which a Christian looks more like Jesus over time. It is the growth of a Christian from an “immature” faith to a “mature” faith. This process of formation is never accomplished; there is never a moment in the life of a Christian when a person has “arrived.”
There are no one-size-fits-all programs for growth into Christ-likeness. There are, however, clear biblical mandates that aid in the spiritual formation of the Christian. These spiritual disciplines include practices such as learning and reflecting upon scripture; praying; offering sacrifices of time, treasure, talents, or thanksgiving to God; fasting; meeting together with other Christians; and participating in the life of the Church (1 Tim. 4:6-16; Matt. 6:1-21; 2 Cor. 9:7; Heb. 10:25).
Brethren have held from their beginning that a follower of Jesus must hold correct doctrinal beliefs, but also be able to demonstrate visibly the new life they have received in Christ Jesus.
God has made available to us in Christ and the Spirit, in Scripture and the church, all the resources needed to live the life of faith. By His life Christ exemplified the walk to which we are called; by His death, He made possible renewed fellowship with the Father; by His resurrection, He revealed the power that is available to us. The Holy Spirit now enables us as God’s children to live in obedience to Scripture and grow in spiritual maturity. Scripture provides the teaching and example of Jesus and the apostles which we are to follow as a loving response to God and as a means of glorifying Him. The church is the gathered community which nurtures believers in the life of faith. Using these resources, we can demonstrate the new birth through new behavior. What we are by faith in Christ we are to become by faithfulness to our Lord.