Rockford Reformed Church Leadership Principles
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Philosophy

A. Reformed Church in America

What We Believe – The Basics

  • God created the world and everything in it, including human beings.
  • God created a perfect world. In the beginning, there was no sin – no hatred, no disunity, and no death. But God also allowed humans to make their own choices.
  • The first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God, allowing sin to enter God’s perfect world. From then on, every human has been born with sinful desires that lead to separation from God.
  • But the story doesn’t end there. God loves the world and the people in it – so much, in fact, that he made a plan to take away the guilt of our sin.
  • God sent his son, Jesus, into the world as a human. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sins he didn’t commit. Jesus accepted the punishment for our sins so that we don’t have to.
  • Three days after Jesus was killed, God brought Jesus to life again, defeating the power of death and evil. Jesus still lives today, eternally in heaven with God the Father. One day he will come back to earth to put an end to evil – sin, death, and pain – and renew all things. He will gather all who have believed in him from every time and place to live with him forever.
  • Our faith is centered in God’s love for us demonstrated in Jesus Christ, his son.
  • When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for us and commit our lives to following him, God sees us as perfect, the way we were first created to be. We cannot manufacture such faith on our own; it is the result of God’s Spirit working within us.

How We Believe – A Reformed View

  • The final authority is the Bible – known as the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God.
  • Our perspective is centered in the overwhelming love of God toward us. We believe that God is 3 in 1 – God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
  • We are saved by grace alone through faith, not by what we think or do to earn God’s favor. Our good works don’t earn our salvation, but are a way to thank God for this free gift of salvation.
  • We celebrate two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They remind us of God’s promises to us and help us to claim those promises as our own.
  • We are confessional, which means that together we have statements of belief, called creeds and confessions. These statements guide our understanding of faith and shape its practice. (see Creeds & Confessions)
  • We are reformed and always reforming, earnestly seeking to know the mind of Christ as we strive to be faithful in a changing, complex, and often troubled world. We have position papers on contemporary issues that provide guidance to the members of the church and are a part of the church’s witness in society.

How We Worship

Worship is the central act of the church’s life. It is the action of acknowledging God’s praiseworthiness and glory. We acknowledge God’s presence with us through songs, hymns, prayers, sacraments, giving gifts, and listening to messages from the Bible.

  • Our worship is corporate. Worship is not a performance with the minister as actor or actress and the congregation as the audience. God is the audience and the whole congregation is involved in the service, in prayer, song, and offering.
  • Our worship is liturgical. Our worship involves the whole people of God in the activity of worship. Services include singing, praying together, and a message given by the pastor, based on passages from the Bible.
  • Our worship is sacramental. When we celebrate the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, God comes to us through all of our senses. We hear God’s promise of forgiveness; we see and hear the water of baptism that cleanses; and we touch and smell and taste the bread and wine that signifies Christ’s body and blood. Our faith is awakened, renewed, and energized when we celebrate the sacraments.

How We Began

  • The Reformed Church is part of the historic church of Jesus Christ.
  • The Reformed Church in America (RCA) is part of the worldwide church of Jesus Christ. Its history can be traced to the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, to Germany and Switzerland during the Protestant Reformation, to the Roman Empire, and beyond. Ultimately, it is rooted in the Old Testament – God’s ancient covenant with the Hebrew people.
  • The RCA’s beginnings go back to a worship service in 1628 in a room above a grist mill in what is now New York City. Today, the RCA spans two countries, the United States and Canada, and includes about 1,000 churches and 170,000 confessing members–people of diverse ethnicities and many cultures, growing and worshiping God together.

 

B. Rockford Reformed Church

Where We Are Going – Vision Statement

  • To always be a living reflection of Christ’s hands, feet, and voice in our community.

What We Are Doing – Mission Statement

  • To connect people to Jesus Christ and encourage them to grow in their relationship with Him through worship and fellowship, so they will reach out to serve and disciple others for the glory of God.

How We Approach Ministry – Core Values

  • These four core values underlie our ministry and missions work – how we grow as leaders, how we disciple others, and which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission. They are the basic elements of how we remain obedient to God’s call and go about doing God’s work. Each core value is to be evident in meetings, classes, events, and training. They are the practices we use every day in everything we do:
“Filling Up”
 
Dependence on God
for His sufficiency and power in all things –
expressed in prayer.
 
Precedence and passion
for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ –
expressed in Bible study and application.
“Pouring Out”
 
Relationships and shepherding that engage and empower God’s people to center their lives on Christ –
expressed in active listening, gentle guidance, and response to needs.
 
Partnerships with individuals, families and community
in their faith formation and opportunities for service –
expressed in regular, consistent communication and information and resource sharing.