Our Emphases 1. Substance. Style seems to be everything. Admittedly, aesthetics (or style) is not unimportant. We are not inconsiderate of stylistic concerns. But we are convinced that there is more to church than simply stylistic concerns. For this reason, we place an emphasis on substance.Rather than making the focus of our gathered worship services the style of the elements of worship, the style of those in attendance, or the style of the way we do things in general, we emphasize substance. Doctrine. Careful preaching from the Word of God. God-centeredness. Therefore, we value the preaching of the Word of God as the foundation of our gatherings. Since it is substance that we are after, our preaching primarily focuses on the actual text—as opposed to musings that may have crossed the mind of the preacher that are not directly connected to the text.This is what we would call “expositional preaching,” and we believe it to be the best regular pulpit diet for the church gathered.We define expositional preaching as focusing on a particular passage and simply aiming to expose what the text says, rather than coming to the pulpit with a number of things in mind that one wishes to say.Expositional preaching begins with the text. It does not ask, “What can I say about this?” but instead asks, “What does this text say?”This is not to say that expositional preaching is not concerned with the relevancy of the sermon to the listener, but that it aims to expose what God has already said using a method of interpretation that respects the historical setting, original audience, grammatical intricacies, and the comparison of one text with the rest of God’s inspired Word.In a sentence, expositional preaching is when you make the point of the text the point of the sermon.Our emphases aim to be more than the superficial, temporal, and transient. We do not wish to make shallow assessments but to strive for the “meat” of God’s Word (1 Cor 3:2). 2. Partnership. Community is something of a buzzword in our day. Of course, as a local church we strongly believe in community. However, based on Scripture, we would take it a step further.Not only should the church have close-knit relationships in community, but also, while our solidarity is founded in our Savior, our togetherness is focused through our shared mission.The Greek word used in the NT for “fellowship” is more equivalent to our modern use of the English word “partnership” because it has business/commercial overtones, like the original term. Due to devaluing use, our English word for “fellowship” has taken on more of a meaning of “warm friendship,” but the Biblical word has a much stronger force, namely, the idea of a working relationship. That is, a relationship in which multiple parties are co-laboring to accomplish something.Of course, warm friendships are integral to meaningful partnerships. Yet our mission must be kept as the focus so that we know we do not exist merely for the camaraderie we supernaturally share, but to accomplish something with that unity.The heart idea of “fellowship,” then, is to be willing to sacrifice individual pursuits and idiosyncrasies to accomplish a shared vision—which Jesus reveals in the Great Commission as the advancement of the Gospel. It is Gospel growth in our lives and Gospel growth in the lives of others that unites us to “strive together as one” (Phil 1:27). 3. Growth. The life of Christians is to be a life of growth—both personally and inter-personally.Growth by God’s grace and the Gospel’s power is the expectation of every Christian (2 Pet 3:18). Growth by God’s grace and the Gospel’s power is the mission of every Christian and church as we seek to make disciples (Matt 28:18–20).We emphasize growth as individual disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord and growth as a local body as we seek to share the good news with future disciples of Christ.