Our Values

A Church Family of Disciples


We don’t want to lose sight of the reason we are trying live together as a church rather than adopting some less demanding form of life. In order to make decisions about how to do something, we need to be clear on what it is we are trying to accomplish.

To put it a little more precisely, we need to discern what God is seeking to accomplish in us, and what the Spirit is seeking to accomplish in us. Looking back at God’s work among us, we rejoice in the ways that God has led us. There have been times of beginning, seasons of stretching, years filled with loss, hope and renewal, failure and success. We rejoice that God has led us in paths of righteousness even through the shadow of death. God himself has been our shepherd.

As we look at how God has led us, one way of expressing God’s leading among us is to say that he is creating a church family of disciples. Each aspect of that phrase has a content formed by our history of life in the Spirit, and by our understanding of scripture.

VALUES WE HOLD

Church


As a gathered people, we want to demonstrate that, in Christ, people can live together in genuine love and peace.

We believe God intends Christians to live out the pursuit of holiness not just individually but with a people, with a local church. And we believe that the mission of the church is to be the church for the world.
From the beginning of time, human beings have built walls against each other. We have built these walls with many things, including violence, resentment, feelings of superiority, emotional isolation, racism and economic oppression. The church is called to let God tear these walls down among his people by experiencing his love together and as a body trusting him. It is so difficult for human beings to let the walls come down; we and the world need to see that reconciliation and love among people are possible. Our calling is to be a place where, even in the midst of our own fears and failures, we continue to trust that God’s love is at work amongst us, and that the very heart of God’s work in the world is the work of reconciliation and peace. We want to lean our full weight into that reconciliation with one another in a way that is a witness to the kind of God we worship.

To put it in Jack Bernard’s words, our mission is to “learn to live together in genuine peace and love, and let others in on it.” God has already given us his peace and love; our task is to live into that reality and to invite others in.

We know we will often fail at this task, but we will try to take our sin and failure as an opportunity to renew our trust in God’s faithfulness and grace. We are clear that if we hope to be a demonstration of anything good that God must be in it. We trust that the Holy Spirit acts through us as we seek God in our weakness, especially in prayer and studying his word.

Family


We seek to understand and experience the love of our Father, to love Him in return, and to love one another as brothers and sisters in His family.

Throughout the years, we’ve grown in our understanding that our most important task consists of entrusting ourselves into the hands of our loving Father. Helping one another to abide in His love, relax in His love, and know God’s love is the best possible purpose and function of Sojourners. We want to trust our Father in all that happens to us, whether in lost car keys or death. We want to be motivated by gratitude for God’s tender, steadfast love, and not by guilt or duty, anxiety or fear. As we grasp God’s love, we find ourselves better able to love him, and to love others.

An important metaphor for us is that of family. We believe it to be a metaphor grounded in scripture. In the Old Testament, this is a literal picture. The people of God are presented largely as the biological children of Abraham, and to join this people you joined Abraham’s biological family. In the New Testament, this picture is less literal but equally central. God is our father, who loves us and whom we love, and consequently Jesus is our elder brother and other Christians are our sisters and brothers whom we love.

We don’t think this talk of family is “merely” rhetorical or metaphorical; we believe rather that it’s crucial to the Bible’s spiritual and moral vision, a primary way the Bible intends us to give flesh to the love of God. Church shouldn’t be just a series of meetings; rather, it should feel like a family. We want to become a family—family that we love, suffer with, rejoice with, fail with, fight with, and grow with. (In addition to family, other biblical metaphors with similar points are the church as body, as a building under construction, and as a temple where God lives.)

Disciples


We seek to give ourselves completely to God through concrete disciplines and practices.

If we are a family, but not partners in the gospel, we have lost our way.  If we are church but do not worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, what does it avail us.  Together we want to be disciples of the Triune God and partners in the gospel of Christ.

Love is not just a feeling that happens to us; rather, the best love flows from lives of discipleship. Our world does not naturally lead us to love—it leads us to bondage to rivalry, envy, violence and the fear of death. We have chosen to be bondservants of the Living God. As Christ’s disciples we try to model our lives on his life of self-giving love. This means giving of ourselves daily, in costly ways, taking up the cross and finding life in Christ’s resurrection. It means living committed lives together in service to God and to his Church.
We believe that God calls us as a church to continue on the path we’ve been on. God has not called us to a different vision of church, but calls us to renew our vision and enthusiastically live into our high calling. This vision is undergirded by our commitments, and supported by concrete practices and disciplines.

There is a danger in calling people to specific commitments, practices and disciplines. As the Pharisees demonstrated, disciplines and practices can easily become ends in themselves. We want to carefully guard against legalism and self-righteousness, remembering that the practices and disciplines don’t exist for their own sake but as a way to give ourselves to God and to one another. However, it is equally as dangerous to reject or ignore commitments, disciplines and practices. We don’t want to end up living shallow lives of faith, primarily defined by the commitments, practices and disciplines of the world. To live without specific practices and disciplines is to undercut necessary building blocks to spiritual growth and maturity, and it makes being a people together virtually impossible.

We believe that our commitments, practices and disciplines describe a significant part of what it means to daily live as members of the Church of the Sojourners. We believe that we are not called to depart from these, but instead let God breathe new life into them. We may need to add new commitments to these. We may need to modify or change our supporting practices or disciplines along the way.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” -Julian of Norwich

LEARN MORE ABOUT US

Practices

Here are some of the ways we try to live out the values we hold.

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Our Affiliations

This page descrbes the network of churches and organizations in which we are embeded.

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Resources

Here are books written by Sojourners, the covenant which guides our life together, and a description of how we celebrate Yahweh’s Kingship (aka the Fourth of July).

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