Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see — how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. – Psalm 39:8
God is good. Every part of God is good and His goodness seeps out of every corner of creation. As Christians, we believe that even in the midst of a world that is broken, God still sees and affirms the beauty and goodness of His creation. Therefore, He also calls us to see and affirm the beauty and goodness in all of creation.
It’s easy to identify what’s wrong with the world around us – to point out the imperfections and flaws of people, society, and culture. As Christians, we believe that we have a greater calling. One that is about seeking out and affirming what’s good and beautiful – including in those places where beauty is not always easy to see on the surface. We can accomplish more by being people who are more known for the things we’re for – rather than the things we’re against.
As human beings, we have been created in the image of the Ultimate Creator – The Great Artist. Therefore, we believe that all of us have been given creative potential. We’ve been called to be co- creators in bringing beauty and goodness to the world around us. As we reflect on the beauty and goodness that dwells in all of creation, we experience together the creative spark of goodness that started the universe. That observation should take us to that simple place — God you are good. I trust you. Make my will like yours.
We are committed to joining God in the renewal of all things.
The Bible is a story of renewal. It’s a story of our Creator taking a world that is fallen and broken and promising to one day renew all of creation – removing all evil, injustice, sin, and death. As Christians, we live today in light of that future reality. It is hope for us now – hope for the transformation and shalom of people, cities, and the world now.
Love God and love people. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. So, we are a community that welcomes people from all walks of life – regardless of where they’re at in their spiritual journey. We believe this journey begins with a renewal in our own lives, extends to our families, and then to our neighbors.
“Work for the well-being of the city where I have sent you to and pray to the Lord for this. For if it is well with the city you live in, it will be well with you” –Jeremiah 29:7
More than being a church “in the city”, we believe God has called The Orchard Community to be a part of what makes our city what it is. That’s why we intentionally invest in renewing our city via the arts, service, and inspiring a better future for our local community.
When we look at the world around us, we see redemption waiting to happen. We see it as our responsibility to bring that to life. And in doing so, it not only allows us to change the world, but it also changes us by broadening of our perspectives. The fact that God will one day forge a new heaven and a new earth does not lessen the value of this present heaven and earth. If anything, it underscores the eternal worth and goodness of creation. Therefore, we will care well for creation.
Grace provides us with new postures.
A posture of humility. Because grace reminds me that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me.
A posture of confidence. Because I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.
Therefore, we cannot feel superior to anyone, nor do we have anything to prove to anyone. We do not think more of ourselves nor less of ourselves. Instead, we think of ourselves less.
Because of grace, we believe that failure does not have to be the end of anyone’s story. In fact, we will refuse to be defined by our mistakes. We learn, we grow, and we have the courage to move forward.
We are people of a second chance We recognize that our own failures can become a backdrop for us to extend grace to others.
We will be fast to forgive.
We believe that God loves us just as we are – not as we should be. Therefore, we will love everyone and exclude no one.
We don’t see our job as trying to change anyone. We can’t. Only God can truly change a person’s heart. So instead, we will love and accept everyone – regardless of where they are at in their spiritual journey. Regardless of their failures and mistakes. Regardless of whether they believe like we do or not. And….regardless of whether or not their morals, opinions, sexual orientations, and ideas match ours or not.
We seek to be a community of diversity, where people are encouraged to live in community with those who are different than themselves.
Stories tell where we came from. They point to where we’re going. And it’s through our stories that our hearts are connected to one another.
We believe that each of our stories are a part of a larger story – God’s story. It’s a story of creation, a fall, redemption, and a future restoration. It truly is the story of all stories. Therefore, it’s a story that deserves to be told in the most creative and ___ ways imaginable.
Our world needs better stories. People need better stories. Therefore, we must help people find their place in The Story.
We believe that everyone’s story deserves to be told. It is through the joy, the pain, the failures, the successes, the mess – that we learn what is truly important.
There’s a reason why people long to know where they’ve come from. It’s in the story of our past where we learn some of our greatest lessons. It’s also where we often catch a glimpse of what’s ahead.
We value the telling of our story. As humans, as Christians, and as a local church. We value the ancient traditions because we think they help us recognize our place within the 2000+ year history of The Church.
The Orchard’s story is a story of prayer, change, transition, loss, rebirth, and (renewal?, creativity?). We love to tell our story because it reminds us of God’s faithfulness and power.
Understanding our past helps us to better understand where we are now. Knowing our place in the context of story provides us with a proper lens to see God at work around us… in our world, in our city, and behind the scenes in each other’s lives.
Our stories become motivators for moving forward. They give us great hope of redemption and restoration.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10b
When the Word became flesh – when the Eternal Son of God took on humanity – he did not partially become a man. He fully became a human being. And it was in that humanity, that Jesus showed us – not how to be better Christians – but how to live in the fullness of our humanity.
God cares about every part of us. Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually, and Mentally. So, we see it as a primary function of the church to develop people holistically.
Here’s some irony – God never changes, yet He is all about changing us. Therefore, we not only embrace change, but we are people of change. Initiators. Leaders. Activists.
It’s a fact that if you want what you’ve never had, you’ve got to be willing to do what you’ve never done. This is true personally and also collectively – as a church community. Therefore, we will always remember that the only thing that is not subject to change is our core calling of loving God and loving people. Everything else…is subject to change. This means that we will remain flexible and fluid when it comes to almost everything we do. What’s right for our community today, may not be right tomorrow. What’s was right for us yesterday, may not be right for us today. The best thing we can do is to keep our ear to the ground, our hearts open, and courageously ready to say YES to what’s next.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! – Matthew 6:22-23
One of the best things we could ever be about is helping people see through better lenses. Everything else flows out of how we are seeing ourselves, God, and others. How we see impacts how we think, and how we think impacts how we live.
Contemplation is not an event – it is a posture. And it’s what allows us to begin seeing things differently. It’s what empowers us to take a fresh look at ourselves, others, God, and even the world around us.
It what moves us beyond those black and white, linear lenses that seem to fit so comfortably. And instead of walking around judging, dividing, splitting, or categorizing, the lenses of contemplation enable us to become people who see and bring wholeness everywhere we go.
There is freedom in the recognition that everything we have in life has been given us to us by God and belongs to God. It’s this freedom that enables us to hold on to our “stuff” (i.e. money, resources, time, talent, etc…) with a very light grip.
All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. – Acts 4:32-35
What a beautiful picture. Believers united around the one thing that surpassed all of their differences – Jesus. And a spirit of generosity that was rooted in their belief that everything they had came from God and belonged to God. And the result? Radical generosity that flowed through them to one another and the world around them.
We believe that this is so much more than an inspirational story about something that happened a long time ago. We believe that this is a picture of what our community could look like, even today, as each one of us live and prioritize….not as owners….but as managers and stewards.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
An important part of our weekly gatherings is giving our best to God through giving financially. We call it “Giving Back to God” because we believe that when we give, we are simply giving back to God a portion of what already belongs to him.
Jesus once said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21
Since our hearts follow our treasures (aka – money), we believe that one of the first areas of surrender in our lives ought to be the surrender of our money to God’s purposes and priorities.
As our hearts become more aligned with God’s heart, this generosity will flow into the rest of our lives, allowing us to become generous with our time and with how we invest in others.
We avoid looking at life through the lens of scarcity, which haunts our calendars, our wallets and our homes, causing us to turn inward and to place our attention solely on our own well-being. Instead, we choose to celebrate the abundance of what God has blessed us with.
As generous people, we are quick to say YES to opportunities to be a blessing. We proactively seek out ways to bless those in need.