Vision and Values

Vision

A “key purpose” or “vision statement” is meant to communicate how Cornerstone will seek to apply the mission of the Church within our unique context (the Katy area) and with our unique personality and gift mix. The mission of the Church (universal) is to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that [Christ] has commanded.” (Mt 28:19-20) So we have asked, “what does that look like for Cornerstone in Katy, Texas?”

Renewing our families, our communities, and our world,
by bringing faith and life together in Christ.

Renewing our families...

God has planted us in Katy which has a reputation for good schools and attracts people with families. Thus, we feel the need to be intentional about building strong families. God’s own design is for the family to be the primary instrument for building the Kingdom of God. The Scripture is replete with exhortation for parents to impress God’s Word upon their children and for each generation to tell their children what God has done for them (See Dt 6:7, Ps 78:4, Lk 1:17 and Mal 2:15). So we want to help restore discipleship within the family. At the same time, Katy is not exclusively families in the sense of dad, mom, and young children, and so we must not be exclusive either. We seek to be family to those who don’t have family nearby.

our communities...

God has also called us to be salt and light in the world. Salt was used primarily in NT times as a preservative, keeping meat from rotting. As the church we are a kingdom of priests, acting as preservative agents to keep our city from rotting. We are “to seek the peace and prosperity of our city,” as Jeremiah exhorts, “for as the city prospers, [we] will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7). We drill down “city” to mean the various communities in which we are involved. The city, of course, is one community, but so is our work environment, our local school, our social circle, etc.

and our world...

God has also called us to be taking the gospel to the world. The gospel is not limited to any people group. It is not connected to any race, any socio-economic group, any country, etc. We are called to think globally when it comes to being the church. That means cooperating with others (missionaries, churches, mission organizations) to reach the world with the gospel.

by bringing faith and life together in Christ.

The paragraphs above speak to the who of our targets. Now we must consider the how. This begins to show the parameters for building specific ministry teams.

Worship

First, we seek to bring together God’s people for worship that glorifies God. We get to know God best simply by being in His presence and setting our gaze upon Him. We do this in worship and we seek to create a worship environment that facilitates true worship in spirit and in truth.

Extending Grace

Second, we want to engage our city and the world by helping the hurting. People hurt in a variety of ways. Some are hurting economically, some emotionally, and all spiritually. We must learn to be the body of Christ—his hands and feet—and minister to whole people. This means that we minister in word (with gospel truth and words of comfort) and in deed.

 Living in Community

Thirdly, God calls us together to be “members one of another.” The Church is not simply the collection of individual Christians, wherever they might be. It is a body, where each part works together with the other parts. We find each person within the body uniquely gifted in such a way that the rest of the body is handicapped when a person is missing.

Learning to Follow Jesus

Lastly, we want to engage people as disciples of Jesus. This means teaching and equipping people in living as Jesus both teaches and models. This is meant to happen most prominently at the family level as parents “teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Dt 6:7)” But it also happens with each other in small groups, Bible study (our Gospel U and midweek studies), and one-on-one encouragement and accountability.

Growing into a disciple of Jesus also involves not being “conformed to this world, but [being] transformed by the renewal of your mind. (Ro 12:2)” Our desire in teaching is to help people go from seeing the world through the eyes of culture (with a little Bible knowledge sprinkled in), to seeing the world through the eyes of Scripture.

Values

Many see Jesus as a prophet, a good teacher, perhaps even a martyr. While he is each of these, this is not all he is. Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The values that shape us:

Jesus sits at the top of the list. To the religious leaders who sought to stop Peter from speaking in the name of Jesus, he replied, “Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12).” This is a significant statement! Jesus paves the only path to salvation.

After his resurrection Jesus explains in a conversation with two men along the road that all of the Scriptures, “from Moses to the Prophets,” points to him (Luke 24:27). This means that Jesus is not just one figure among many in the Bible. He is the key figure that all of Scripture is preparing us to recognize and understand, both through the”types” and “shadows” of the Old Testament and through the doctrinal teaching of the New Testament.

The gospel is the power of God for salvation, which includes the power of God to call the dead to life and the power of God to transform the heart throughout life. Just as Jesus is found in Scripture from beginning to end, the gospel is the power to be transformed from the time one first believes in Jesus to the moment one passes from this life to the next.

Paul writes in Romans 12 that we are to be transformed by the renewal of the mind, and he writes this after explaining how the gospel works in the first eleven chapters of his book. In other words, believing the gospel happens through the renewing of the mind, which doesn’t happen overnight. It is something that happens throughout life.

Tim Keller gives an excellent explanation of this in his article, The Centrality of the Gospel, which is worth reading.

Jesus’s mission is to build the church (not simply to save individuals). This means the church is something more than a spiritual service provider to attend when we feel a spiritual need.

There are many pictures given in the Scriptures to understand the importance of the Church.

The Church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5, Revelation 21), which means she is Christ’s beloved. He endured all that he endured to pay the bride price that she might belong to him forever. The fairy tale ending of “living happily ever after” is a product of this picture of Jesus and His bride. If Jesus loves the Church that much, and we say we love Jesus, then we must love the Church too.

The Church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians  12). Paul writes, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ… For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body… Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” This means that every Christian has a unique set of spiritual gifts that the body needs to function. Without every part working properly, the body is handicapped.

The Church is a building. This is not reference to the physical property to which we go on Sunday, but to a building made of people that together are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Peter explains “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house.” This means that to be a Christian not connected to a particular church is to misunderstand what it means to be Christian.

God calls parents to pass on their faith to their children. The family is the ultimate discipleship group!

God’s first command to Adam and Eve was to “be fruitful and multiply” that they might “fill the earth and subdue it.” They needed each other and children to carry out this mandate. The family, thus, was created by God with a purpose in mind. Adam and Eve had to pass on this mandate to their children, as well as train them up in the work.

After the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, the work of redeeming goes hand in hand with the work of cultivating. God calls Abraham to be the father of the family that would bring Jesus into the world. His family would become a great nation and the means by which God would bring blessing to the world. The promise that God made to Abraham did not stop with Abraham but extended to his children and children’s children, etc. and with God’s promise came Abraham’s responsibility to raise his children to live in its light. This helps us see the important purpose of the family structure, and why it is so important to renew the art of family discipleship.

God’s sovereign grace saves spiritually dead people. God gets all the glory. During the Reformation, the doctrines of grace were recovered from what had become an increasingly merit-based view of salvation. When a system of merit (via good works) is part of the salvation equation, God’s part is minimized to some degree and man’s part is elevated. God’s part becomes viewed like a dad teaching a child to ride a bike, who is needed more at first and less as the child gets the hang of it. In the end, the child’s work and skill are celebrated and God’s part is slowly forgotten. That does not match the final scene of the Bible, where God is glorified because of the great beauty of the new city that He has built with the “living stones” that are His people. As God gets more glory, we find our identity wrapped up more and more in him, not less and less.

The five tenants recovered in the reformation that help us understand how a person is saved are these:

By grace alone Through faith alone In Christ alone For the glory of God alone According to the Scriptures alone

These bring us back to a Christ-centered, gospel-driven theology, from an otherwise powerless form of moralism, which produces hypocrisy rather than Godly transformation.

The remarkable thing about the salvation of God is that He doesn’t need us to accomplish it. And yet, He chooses to ordain us to be the means of bringing about gospel transformation in a person’s life. Thus, man’s responsibility to the gospel goes Hand-in-hand with God’s sovereign grace in the gospel.

In Jesus’s final words to the Church he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This is often called the Great Commission, as Jesus charges and empowers the Church to carry the good news of Jesus to the world.

One of the great things about this charge is that by participating in it, we see evidence of God. We get to see God change people that we would never have thought could change. We get to see “the lights come on” in a person’s life. We see love for God explode in people’s hearts and worlds turned upside down. We see relationships healed and bitterness uprooted. To see God at work reinvigorates our own faith all over again.