First Christian seeks to be "a place to help you find your place." We believe that God intends everyone to live in the space where their deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. What does that mean? Well, here is a simple acronym to help share with you what we value and what it means to discover your p.l.a.c.e.
People, all people, were created by God with unlimited value and a fulfilling purpose. We believe that God has a purpose for the church collectively and a distinct but inseparable purpose for each member. We aim to be a people of ongoing discernment of what God is up to in the world and how we collectively and individually can participate in those purposes.
Living the teachings of Jesus requires more than instruction; it takes practice, it takes action. We believe also that learning takes place best in community. Community offers encouragement and support, and it also enables us to transcend our own limited experiences and viewpoints as we enter into safe and charitable conversation with others.
All of us, by the grace of God, are completely accepted! We, in turn, are accepting of others. Regardless of race, nationality, economic status, education level, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc., everyone has a place at First Christian.
Can there be a better word for God than love? In the English language “love” is employed to describe a number of emotions and affections. Compassion, literally meaning to suffer with (com – with, passion – suffer), more closely approximates God’s love for humanity. In Jesus, we discover that God is not merely a transcendent God who sits outside of time and space looking on at the world’s suffering with indifference. Rather, God enters into human history and suffers alongside suffering humanity. As people of faith, we too are called to identity with those who are suffering, and to seek to transform that suffering through sacrificial and compassionate love.
Ever heard someone say, “If you don’t believe that God has a sense of humor, just make plans”? We know how that feels! Of course, God is not in the business of disrupting our plans in order to get a good laugh out of our miscalculations. But it is conceivable that God has a sense of humor about our occasional (or not so occasional) lapses in judgement.
This does not mean that we will not make plans. To the contrary, fulfilling God’s purposes often takes organization, discipline, and structured activity. The difference, though, is that rather than asking God to “bless” our big dreams, we surrender our lives to God’s dream for the world. The most exciting life is the one surrendered to God’s plans and purposes!