We believe that the ministry of the church is to build the body up in love seeking to obtain "unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God" (Ephesians 4:13) and this effects our understanding of every avenue of ministry in and through the church.
Our Understanding of the Gospel
Gospel means good news. It is not the good news that God will fix all of our social, financial, and psychological problems. It is much, much greater. It is the good news that God not only forgives us and wipes our slate clean, but He deposits all of Christ’s infinite righteousness to our account and says: “Blameless!” The grace of God not only saves us, it transforms us. It is sin-killing and life-giving! As believers, we understand and savor the grace and love of God far better in community (Ephesians 3:14-19). The Gospel is not a portion of information to be memorized and recited; it is eternal life. This eternal life begins at the moment of conversion and is carried out into eternity: a physically resurrected and glorified state. Therefore, biblically faithful ministry must aim first to make people right with God.
Our Understanding of Expositional Preaching
The aim of preaching is to exalt Christ by providing the Church with a sense of God and of His presence. Towards this end, the preaching of God’s Word must be expositional and exultative. By “expositional,” we mean that preaching should seek to make the intention of the author (both human and divine) the main point of the message. By “exultative,” we mean that preaching should seek to express and encourage the appropriate, worshipful response of the Church to the truth of Christ exposited from the text. Through expositional exultation, we expect to receive a message from God, not man, through the Scriptures. The preaching of God’s Word is the center of our worship (Acts 6:2, 4; Mark 1:38).
Our Understanding of Discipleship
Jesus commanded us to make disciples of every nation, teaching them “to obey all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Our Lord is interested in our growth in holiness. Therefore, our church will be very intentional about helping believers in their “progress and joy in the faith” (Phil. 1:25). To this end, members will be encouraged to participate in a weekly small group Bible Study. Our conviction is that a small group setting encourages deep, loving relationships to flourish. Growth in love for God and one another is the focus of church life at Sovereign Hope.
Our Understanding of Family Ministry
The Word of God puts forward two main institutions by which the people of God are nurtured in their faith: the Church (Mat 16:18) and the family (Deut 6:7). We desire to see a ministry in which the church and the family complement one another as much as possible. The Word of God teaches us that fathers and mothers are the main disciplers and shepherds of their children. Therefore, Sovereign Hope will intentionally labor to equip and support parents for this ministry (Eph 4:12). All the while, we affirm that parents are not the only teachers of their children. The whole body of Christ is called to minister to one another, including widows, singles, and children of unbelieving parents.
Our Understanding of Church Discipline
Although the practice of church discipline is clearly defined in the Bible (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5), it has fallen out of practice in most modern, American churches. We will seek to put our confidence in God and His word to us regarding church discipline. The purposes of church discipline are the restoration of the wayward believer, and the purity of Christ’s church.
Our Understanding of Leadership
One man should not be regarded as “the authority” of the church (Matt. 23:8-10). The Bible clearly teaches that the local church should be ruled by a plurality of elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Ti. 1:5-9). The main function of the elders will be to shepherd the congregation spiritually. They must be men who fit the Biblical qualification for an elder (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Ti. 1:5-9). Though the position of elder is non-vocational, there will be some chosen to serve vocationally. For more information, see Leadership Team.
Our Understanding of Evangelism
The way in which someone shares the gospel is inseparably linked to how they themselves understand the gospel. God wants to save people. Not to share this desire is to be spiritually deformed. The greatest and deepest need of every human being is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This is a result of God’s work, not man’s (Jn. 1:12-13; Matt. 19:25-26). Consequently, we must be honest and faithful in our preaching while we trust God to convert hearts (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
Our Understanding of Worship
The Bible teaches it to be a God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit–empowered and joy-driven life of response to God (Eph. 5:18; Jn. 4:23-24; Lk. 10:27). The Gospel is the foundation for our worship, the New Birth is the beginning of our worship and the Return of Christ is the hope of our worship (Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 1:3; Heb. 9:28). We worship the invisible God and the unseen Christ (1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Pet. 1:8) in adoration and action, both individually and corporately (Heb. 10:24-25). We at Sovereign Hope measure our worship by its focus on God and its spiritual delight in Him (Col. 3:16-17).
Our Understanding of Missions
It has been rightly stated that missions exist because worship does not. When Christ returns, missions will cease to exist. Until then, the Great Commission of Christ to make disciples of all nations still stands (Matt. 28:18-20). We are committed to reaching a lost world with the Gospel, both in word (Matt. 24:14) and in action (Matt. 5:16). Starting with our personal spheres of life and extending to the furthest lands (Acts 1:8), we live to make the gospel of the glory of Christ known and seen (2 Cor. 2:14-17; 4:1-18), by preparing and sending our own people to serve in their God-given contexts and by partnering with like-minded mission organizations.