Religion tends to complicate and confuse things. Jesus simplified things. We do not want to be religious. We want to follow Jesus. Jesus summed up the Jewish law/religion (613 confusing laws) into two simple commandments:
Love God and Love Your Neighbor.
Our heart is to maintain this simplicity and focus. The heart of Grassroots is to simply:
Love God. Love People. Be the Church.
Our vision is to be a downtown church. We gather in the center of the city on purpose.
Our vision is to share Jesus with the un-churched and de-churched, more than the overly-churched. We want the gospel to extend far beyond the walls of church.
Our vision is to be a church where people know each other’s names. We want to be a mid-sized church that grows by planting more mid-sized churches.
Our vision is to be a church that cares more about its city than itself. We want to measure success by our serving capacity, not our seating capacity.
Our vision is to be a diverse church. We believe the gospel is for people of all ages, incomes, races, and backgrounds. Everyone has a seat at the table.
Our vision is to be a relational, missional, worshiping church in the heart of downtown Rockford. Rockford is our mission field, and we are imagining it being transformed into something beautiful.
We don’t want people to find religion. We want people to find God.
We don’t want to “go” to church, or “do” church. We want to BE THE CHURCH.
We don’t want people to follow the rules. We want people to follow Jesus (who broke a lot of religious rules).
Culture is that intangible thing we feel when we step in a church. It is almost impossible to define, but essential to understand. We believe the culture of our church should be shaped by Jesus. And Jesus was filled to the brim with grace and truth (John 1:14). Jesus was safe and holy.
Jesus was safe (Grace). Not safe in the cautious sort of way. Not safe in his radical life and teachings. But safe to the people who came to him. Think about it: People felt remarkably safe in the presence of Jesus. Outcasts, ragamuffins, prostitutes, pagans, beggars, and all those considered smitten by the religious establishment were welcomed by Jesus. These people ran, pushed, and shoved their way into his presence. They climbed up trees and dug holes through roofs… just to get to Jesus. People wanted to be with Jesus. He was safe.
Jesus was holy (Truth). When these people found their way to Jesus, their lives were transformed. Sins were forgiven, bodies healed, stoning rocks fell harmlessly to the ground. In the presence of Jesus, greed was transformed to generosity, legalism to grace, death to life. Scripture shows us, time and time again, that it was rarely possible to be in the presence of Jesus and not be transformed. Jesus changed everything! He was holy! He showed us what was most true about God, ourselves, and the world.
We are cultivating a culture that is safe and holy. We desire to be a church filled with grace and truth.
Intimacy with God. We do not want people to become religious. We want people to know and love God. We value fostering a deep, intimate relationship with a God who knows us by name.
Radical Love. Love is what marks us as followers of Jesus. We value a love that is more powerful than then the things that divide us. We value a love that extends to all people.
Discipleship. We value the way of Jesus. We believe Jesus’ invitation to follow him is an invitation to live in a new way of life. We value learning how live like Jesus, and inviting others to join us.
Mission. We value the power of the Jesus to transform lives. We value partnering with God to change the world that is into the world that ought to be. We believe our faith should be contagious.
Simplicity. We do not think the Christian life needs to be programmed or made attractive by light shows. Instead, we value the simplicity of following Jesus. We believe this simplicity is deep, and meaningful, and powerful.
Relationships. We value living life face-to-face. We believe the church is a family (not a building, service, or institution). When we invite someone to church, we are inviting them into our lives. We value knowing one another’s names.
Diversity. We do not want to be a church where everyone looks the same. We believe the gospel is for ALL people. And we value the diversity of God’s kingdom. We value people of all ages, races, economics, politics, and backgrounds. We embrace the tension of loving Jesus together.
Holistic Faith. We believe following Jesus should affect our whole life. We value a deep, robust Christian faith. We believe there is no part of our lives that should be untouched by our faith in Jesus.
Messiness. If life is messy, church will be a little messy too. We do not want to play church and hide who we really are. We value being real and authentic. And we accept the messiness that comes with it. We embrace the journey.
Creativity. We believe God is infinitely creative. And we believe humans are made in His image. We value the creative nature of being human. We believe artists, musicians, poets, actors, designers, and entrepreneurs are wired to partner with God to help create a better world.
We want to be a church that lives what we believe.
Scripture shows us that the earliest followers of Jesus didn’t simply pass along a set of beliefs. They offered the world a new way to live.
These seven practices flow out of what we believe about God, and serve as guidelines for how we live in the kingdom of God as a community.
We encourage and invite everyone at Grassroots to practice these things together, and share in the kind of life they create.
Prayer. We practice being in the presence of God. We practice closing the door behind us, listening for God’s voice, and praying to our father in heaven. We think prayer is as essential as breathing.
Eating. We practice sharing meals. We practice breaking bread with friends and strangers. We believe the table is a holy place. And we believe life is best lived face to face.
Blessing Others. We practice blessing people with contagious love and grace. We practice living in such a way that our time, words, and actions give life to those around us. We believe the church should bless the world like crazy.
Serving. We practice serving others, especially the poor and vulnerable. We practice seeing peoples’ needs and humbling meeting them. We believe faith and love demand action.
Learning. We practice studying the scriptures and seeking wisdom. We practice letting God’s Word shape and transform our lives. We want to eat the words of Jesus.
Generosity. We practice the joy of giving. We practice giving as an act of thanksgiving, trust, and devotion to God’s Kingdom. We believe the church should be the most generous community in the world.
Celebrate. We practice regularly gathering to worship and celebrate Jesus. We believe Jesus gives us reason to sing, to give thanks, to pray, to proclaim, and to celebrate.
“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty (freedom), in all things charity (love).” – Augustine
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.