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The Heartbeat of Tri-County Bible Church

Yesterday I preached a message entitled “The Heartbeat of Tri-County Bible Church.” It was (to quote the sub-title) “A Look at TCBC through the Lens of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.” It’s essentially our philosophy of ministry in one “drink-from-a-fire-hydrant” message. It addresses issues that are vitally important to us, including a doxological purpose, cross-centeredness, thoughtful worship, intentionality (vs. being merely traditional or contemporary), decentralized leadership, every-member ministry, gospel-driven separatism, whole-counsel preaching, an environment of gracious transparency, etc. Lord willing, the message will be useful now and in the future to remind our members and inform newcomers what TCBC is passionate about—what are our non-negotiables. We are hopeful that communicating our values clearly will serve as a target, allowing us both to aim our energy, time, and money at the right objects and to measure how we’re doing. We believe that it will also serve as a magnet, both attracting those who are like-minded and repelling those with competing agendas, both of which are good things.

The meat of the message and the distinctives of our church really come out in the unpacking of these points, but we’ve summarized our core values as follows:

  1. We are passionate about God’s Glory.
  2. We are passionate about God’s Son.
  3. We are passionate about God’s Spirit.
  4. We are passionate about God’s Gospel.
  5. We are passionate about God’s Grace.
  6. We are passionate about God’s Word.
  7. We are passionate about God’s Church.
  8. We are passionate about Godly Families.

By God’s grace, we have endeavored to have a philosophy of ministry at TCBC that is both biblical and intentional (one of our favorite words). It bears the “fingerprints” of many, including our excellent assistant pastor, Joe Tyrpak. I use the word “endeavored” intentionally. :) We certainly don’t claim that we have it all together. Far from it; we’re very aware that we are a work in progress—a “hard hat area,” as we put it. Nevertheless, I believe that the message and the philosophy it conveys could be helpful to other pastors and churches, as well as TCBC. You might not agree with all of it, but I think it will at least provoke some thought and push you toward more intentional and biblical ministry where you serve. Consider it, critique it, and improve upon it, but give some thought to the idea of “core values” and “intentionality” at your church. If you’re able to give the message a listen, feel free to chime in with comments or questions.

“That we should be to the praise of His glory!” (Eph 1:12)

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2 Responses

  1. I will take the time to listen and chew over some of the good thoughts presented here.

  2. It is always easy to pick at another’s work to criticize and find fault. But it is not always edifying. I took a couple of days before commenting on this write-up because I hate being critical and I hate being perceived as a critical person. So, let me start by saying I think your summarized list of core values expresses all good things–things about which we should be passionate. I do have some criticisms, but these are sincerely meant as constructive criticism and not dismissive.

    I think your list lacks a bit in clarity. I bring this up because it is a lack of clarity that often leads to being less than passionate about all the right things.

    1. “summary of core values” — Are your values really being passionate about those things or are your core values those things themselves?
    2. What do you mean by being passionate about, say, God’s Son as distinct from His glory, gospel, grace, Word, etc.?
    3. Why do you not have a value about being passionate about God’s Father? Is “God” in your list a reference to the Father? If so, why are you passionate about God the Father’s glory, but not God the Son’s glory?

    Okay, I think you get the picture. Again, this is not to be dismissively critical. But I think to encourage true passion among our church families we must give them more than Christian words lumped together without distinction or organization. That, I believe, is why you emphasize being intentional or deliberate in your philosophy.

    It is definitely a good idea to think about core values and intentionality. And what you have here is good. I would just encourage you toward constant reevaluation for refinement and distinction to advance relationship with our God.

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