By God’s grace and through the Holy Spirit, we will grow as disciples of Jesus Christ in one body through scripture, prayer, worship, and service, and express the gospel locally and around the world.
This statement declares our vision of how God is calling us to live as individuals and as a church. It is, therefore, also a theological statement that draws upon our rich heritage in the Reformed and evangelical traditions and calls us to renewed fellowship with Christ under the authority of God’s written word.
The major theological themes embodied in this statement follow below:
God’s grace is the starting point for us as individuals and as a church; without the grace of God, we are hopelessly lost in sin and cannot follow Jesus Christ as disciples. We bring nothing to God but idolatrous and sin-stained souls. But God in His grace justifies us, calls us to faith in Jesus Christ, binds us together in His body, renews us according to His image, and leads us in mission into the world.
It is through the Holy Spirit that God causes us to grow in Christ. We worship and acknowledge the divine authority and power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is present with us, drawing us through faith into deeper fellowship with Christ. The Holy Spirit is present with us in our worship, through the preaching and in our hearing of the word, and in the sacraments. He is with us in our fellowship together, in our family life, in our private devotions, and throughout the day. God’s Spirit challenges, transforms, and enables us. By His hand, the purposes of God are accomplished in our lives and in the lives of others.
God calls us to a living faith in which the focus of our lives is to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. Being baptized and joining the church is not the end; it is the beginning, for in Christ we discover not only new life but also a new way of life. In growing as disciples, we will love God more fully and will follow the commandments of Jesus more obediently. God’s enveloping love inspires within us responses of love and gratitude that draw us into a growing dependence upon God and greater obedience to the teachings of Jesus. A full discussion of this topic is in “Spiritual Life.”
Spiritual growth is to be the aim of each individual member of NCC. However, our purpose also is to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ in one body. We are the church together. Indeed, as Christians we are called to reconciled, loving relationships with each other because we have been reconciled with God. We have the privilege of sharing one another’s burdens and the responsibility to encourage one another in love. We will care about the faith and welfare of others as much as we care for ourselves. We will speak with one another in love. We are united with each other and other Christians in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. These issues are examined in “Relationships and Communication.”
How will we grow as disciples of Jesus Christ? Although God will use many experiences in our lives to accomplish His will in us, we will seek to grow in Christ through scripture, prayer, worship, and service. We will study and apply the Bible to our lives regularly as individuals and together as a church. We will meet God in prayer, seeking Him individually each day and corporately when we gather together as a church family. We will worship together regularly as a church; likewise, the very character of our individual lives will be offered daily as acts of worship to God. We will serve God and one another in the church with the various gifts God has given to us including our time, money, and abilities. Indeed, each member of Newton Presbyterian Church should respond to seven specific callings that can foster our discipleship. These themes are amplified in “Spiritual Life” and “Operations.”
Finally, we will endeavor to express the gospel locally and around the world. We take seriously the Great Commission in which Christ commands us to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Giving Christ priority in every sphere of our lives, we will live the gospel. We will manifest the kingdom of God and introduce others to Jesus Christ through our words and deeds. We will take a personal and active role in ministry and missions. These issues are discussed in “Outreach and Missions.”
Ultimately, our statement of purpose is a prayer for God’s will to be done among us and in the world through us. May God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be glorified.