Understanding God’s Word
We believe that all life, ministry, and activity in the church flows outward from the clear and deep preaching of the Bible (Ephesians 4:11-12). Therefore, our focus on the preaching of God’s Word in a way that’s faithful to the true meaning of Scripture is our first Distinctive.
Our worship services are centered around the reading and expository verse-by-verse preaching of God’s Word. In general, our pastor will start at the beginning of one book of the Bible and, over successive weeks, preach to that book’s end.
Although this approach to God’s word is somewhat out of fashion today, we believe that, when studying God’s Holy Word, it’s important that we don’t read our own meaning into the text or merely use a verse as a springboard for telling nice stories! Instead, we want our pastor to diligently discern the message God intended to say by carefully studying a passage’s context, its grammatical structure, its relation to other texts, and its historical background. In short, we want our pastor to recover a passage’s originally intended meaning and then faithfully proclaim that meaning to us (2 Timothy 2:15).
This kind of preaching is called expository preaching. Really, expository preaching is just explaining preaching: the preacher explains the true meaning of a passage (Nehemiah 8:7-8). Such preaching guards us from misinterpretations, helps us more deeply understand how a passage connects to other parts of Scripture, and makes it clearer how to apply the passage in our lives today.
As we properly understand the word of God, we strive to become a people marked by…
Unity in Purpose
We seek to fully embrace the concept of the church as the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5). Just as the human body has many members that need each other and work together to follow the head’s commands, so do Christians in the church need each other, each person having a critical role to play as the whole church seeks to follow its head, Jesus Christ. Therefore, our conviction that a healthy church depends on getting everyone involved and connected is our second Distinctive.
This conviction means we work hard to pursue deep relationships with one another. We want to really get to know each other and live our lives together beyond Sunday mornings: serving together, praying together, suffering together, meeting each other’s needs, confronting sin in each other when necessary, (Matthew 18:15-17) rejoicing together, weeping together, and triumphing together (1 Corinthians 12:26). Such is the purpose of our men’s, women’s, and homegroup ministries.
We believe that no Christian should walk through life alone or sit on the sidelines of ministry (Hebrews 10:24-25). Instead, we take God at His Word that each believer has special gifts to be used for the building up of the church body (Romans 12:6-8). We want to help each other identify and use these gifts that all might benefit and God might be glorified.
As we build up one another with our individual gifts, we become strengthened and emboldened to carry out the church’s primary mission. That mission is…
Unleashing the Gospel
We don’t consider ourselves mere residents of Central Jersey, but missionaries to the region! There is nothing more important than sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with a world full of broken and lost people (Jeremiah 2:13-14); God is glorified when those who believe are not only saved from God’s wrath in hell (Romans 5:8-9) but also undergo radical transformation in this life (John 15:8). Therefore, our active focus on evangelism, rooted in a proper view of how the church fits in with God’s sovereign plan for election, is our third Distinctive.
Indeed, one of the key reasons we are so passionate about evangelism is our firm belief in divine election for salvation (aka “The Doctrines of Grace”, “Calvinism”, or “Reformed Theology”). We believe that God has chosen His people (His “elect”) for mercy since before the foundation of the world and that those He has chosen will be granted the gift of belief in Jesus Christ and salvation from God’s wrath (Ephesians 1:4-6).
But, we also believe that God has appointed His church to be a crucial part of His sovereign plan. The church has the privilege of being the means by which God gives people faith as the church proclaims the gospel (Romans 10:14-17). There is no other more satisfying or joyful calling than this! God’s sovereign will in salvation only guarantees that we will be used meaningfully by God (2 Timothy 2:10), who is in control the whole way.
What does this evangelism look like for us in practice? First, we participate in formal, public evangelism in malls, community events, nursing homes, etc. Second, we partner with missionaries around the world by providing financial support and prayer as well as sending our own missionaries out when we can.
However, we believe the most effective evangelism happens in day-to-day interactions with people God has placed in our lives where we work and live, especially as we intentionally extend to them hospitality, love, and care (1 Thessalonians 3:12). We as a church, therefore, diligently seek to cultivate a unified, missional mindset in our midst and to assist one another as each of us work in our social and professional circles to carry out the divine mission.