Core Values & BELIEFS
HERE'S What you CAN expect us to teach and practice...
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17
ON THIS PAGE:
OUR CORE VALUES:
While each of our house churches have their own unique style and format, we all agree on a shared set of "core values" that help create a shared culture across all our locations. These are the principles you can expect to see promoted and acted upon throughout our network.
The Authority of Scripture
Everything we do and teach is to be in line with (and never contradicted by) by the 66 books of the Holy Bible. Every teaching, every prophetic word, and every “new idea” must stand up to the scrutiny of the entire Bible. Where Scripture allows for differing views, we too allow for differing views. But where Scripture is clear (when properly interpreted through sensible “hermeneutics” and “exegesis”), we believe that it is the final authority on matters of life, godliness, mission, ministry, conduct, relationships, and more. (2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16)
EVERY BELIEVER A MINISTER
Jesus said that “everyone” who believes in Him would do His same works (and even greater!). And according to the prophet Joel, God’s Spirit is equally given to men, women, adults, children, rich, and poor. No one is exempt from the privilege of ministering to people because all the cultural “dividing walls” are removed in Christ. All of our house churches are deliberately interactive and offer ample opportunities for everyone to share, discuss, pray, and minister to each other. (John 14:12, Joel 2:28, Galatians 3:28).
A FAMILY-ORIENTED MODEL OF MINISTRY
While there are many different and valid ways of organizing a church, we feel that the healthiest way is to operate like a family. Disputes and disagreements are handled with the mutual understanding of long-term commitment to one another and the expectation that “you will see this person again.” Authority and leadership positions are granted relationally through faithfulness, service, and earning the trust of others. Elder people are honored and loved as our own family members. Generosity and kindness are extended to each other when someone is in need, just as we would care for our own family. (Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:1-2)
THE ACTIVE PRESENCE OF GOD
Theologically, God is everywhere, but there are times when God takes specific action in a given time and place. We believe that God is with us all the time (whether or not we feel His presence and whether or not He does anything attention-grabbing), but we also believe that it is healthy to desire experiences with Him-in-action. Whenever we gather together—whether in our house churches, our large gatherings, our events, our leadership meetings, on the streets, or anywhere else—we expect that God is going to reveal Himself in a powerful way and do something to impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Jesus promised that as Spirit-empowered believers, we would witness Him in action wherever we go. We desire and aim for a sustained experience of interacting with our very real and alive God—both as a church and as individuals. (Acts 1:8; John 14:12; Mark 16:15-20)
AUTHENTICITY AND HONOR
Part of honoring Jesus is honoring His Body, and every believer around us is part of that Body. To dishonor His Body is to dishonor Him. So our culture is to purposefully honor, encourage, and lift up one another (including other churches) as part of expressing worship to the Lord. The other part of this is that we’re all real with one another. When honor is based on who Jesus is and not based on our perfection, we feel free to be honest about our own imperfections, allowing our fellow believers to pray for us, encourage us, and help us in our weaknesses. Furthermore, this perspective keeps our honor genuine (instead of being mere flattery) because we’re actually honoring Jesus in each other (rather than simply pretending that we’re all worthy of something we’re not). (Romans 12:9-10; John 12:26)
Real faithfulness transcends emotions and earthly circumstances. We are a people who serve Jesus and love each other—not because it’s easy or because it’s always fun but because it’s who the Holy Spirit has made us to be in Christ. But even though we may not always feel passionate or joyful, we choose to honor the Bible’s commands to “rejoice in the Lord always” and to “never be lacking in zeal.” We choose to be faithful because Jesus is faithful, and we choose to be passionate in all we do because Jesus is worthy of so much more than we could ever give. (Romans 12:11-12; Colossians 1:28-29)
GENEROSITY, HOSPITALITY, AND COMPASSION
Our faithfulness and passion go beyond service in the church and extend to our careers, finances, and families. We encourage and prioritize debt-free living so that we are free to give generously, to fund the advancement of the gospel, and to help one another in times of need. And since we have such a central focus on house church ministry, hospitality becomes all the more important to the fabric of our faith, serving one another and caring for one another in our homes as one would care for family, even when it seems inconvenient. (Romans 12:13; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; 1 Peter 4:9)
TRAINING, EQUIPPING, AND SENDING
According to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Jesus has placed some people in the church for the purpose of training and equipping other believers in five key areas:
Apostolic ministry, which is to represent Jesus, to blaze trails for the Gospel, and to be sent into the world as a messenger with a mission;
Prophetic ministry, which is to discern what God is saying for others and then articulate it to them in a meaningful way, often calling them into their own fellowship with God;
Evangelistic ministry, which is to tell people the good news about Jesus and what He has made possible for their lives, including demonstrations of His love and power in Jesus’ name;
Shepherding ministry, which is to care for one another, keep watch over one another, aid in the spiritual growth of one another, and integrate lost sheep into the flock; and
Teaching ministry, which is to imitate Jesus in a way that verbally and experientially educates believers and unbelievers in who God is and how to interact with Him.
We actively look for people who are specifically called by the Lord to train us in these ways so that we can “all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13; Matthew 28:18-20)
TRANSFORMATION FROM SMALL TO LARGE
Our desire is to transform the culture of our region to become more and more like the Kingdom of God. This can only happen if we are effectively bringing Jesus’ transforming power to the lives of individuals and families. Our house churches embrace the culture of God's Kingdom in order to influence the lives of individuals, families, and eventually the culture of our cities and region. Therefore, the majority of our energy is focused on personal evangelism, fellowship, and discipleship, knowing God’s Kingdom will gradually increase to produce the large-scale transformation God desires. (Matthew 5:13-16; Matthew 13:31-33; 2 Corinthians 5:16-20)
Prayer, Obedience, Faith, and the Supernatural Intervention of God
We believe that the world around us is, by default, in a fallen state. Without the “super-natural” intervention of God, the natural course of things is entropy (breaking down, falling apart, death, destruction, etc.). But God has chosen to partner with His children in positively influencing the world around us. Through simple trust and dependence on Him—a faith that is grown through relationship with Him—we are able to see the devil’s work dismantled and the kingdom of God established. When we pray and when we obey the Lord’s direction with faith in our faithful God that He will follow through, we are blessed to see the supernatural intervention of God imposed upon the natural course of things. Prayer, obedience to Jesus, and faith in Him produce real, miraculous results. (1 John 3:8; Matthew 6:10)
VITAL EMPOWERMENT FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT
Even though Jesus commanded His disciples to “go into all the world and make disciples,” He also commanded them to wait where they were until they had been “clothed with power from on high.” While it is possible to do great things in our own God-given strength, Jesus intends for us to be empowered and emboldened by His Spirit to do greater things than even He did when He walked the earth. If we are going to succeed—along with all believers—at fulfilling Jesus’ commission to us, then we must consider vital what He considered vital and seek to receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We do not support a culture of elitism but simply encourage every believer to prioritize seeking the empowerment of God for the sake of missional success. (Luke 24:49; John 14:12; Acts 1:4-8)
LIFESTYLE EVANGELISM AND PURPOSEFUL OUTREACH
We believe Jesus has called us to two forms of reaching out to the world around us: (1) lifestyle evangelism and (2) purposeful outreach. Lifestyle evangelism is the practice of looking for opportunities in daily life where we can share the good news of Jesus with people in our regular spheres of influence. This could be in our own households, at work, at school, on the streets, in stores, or anywhere we may find ourselves in the normal course of life. But if this is the only form of evangelism we ever practice, some of us may never find ourselves among the poor, the drug addicts, the homeless, or other people who may never cross paths with us but need the Gospel just the same. Therefore, we need to also engage in purposeful outreach to people in places where we might not otherwise go to reveal the life and love of Jesus. As a church, we practice and encourage both forms of evangelism, scattering the seeds of God’s good news wherever we can. (Ephesians 4:1; Romans 10:14-15; Matthew 10:7-8)
While the bulk of what we do centers on our own local area, we refuse to neglect our ultimate calling to “go into all the world.” Therefore, we regularly support foreign missionaries and even send teams and individuals from our own church to nations around the world where their gifts, ministries, testimonies, and experiences will be valuable to the people of those places. Every official house church in our network helps to support at least one foreign missionary, and our church is purposeful about proclaiming the heart and message of global missions on a regular basis. (Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15; Philippians 4:16-19)
For centuries, Christians have been dividing over gray-area beliefs. Certainly there are some issues that are non-negotiable if we’re going to walk in unity (like the nature of who Jesus is and what His death and resurrection mean today), but we also understand that there are other issues that are worth dialoguing about at a relational level as we all grow in our understanding of God, His Word, and His mission. We care more about love, unity, and mission than we care about perfect agreement on less important issues.
With that said, we also know a certain level of agreement will help streamline ministry together since we will spend more time loving each other and ministering to those who don’t know Jesus, and we’ll spend less time debating or arguing over the Bible.
The following statement of faith is written with this in mind. We’re not saying, “Agree with us or leave.” But we are saying, “These are the positions you can expect to hear supported, taught, promoted, and defended throughout every house church and ministry at Roots Church.”
As an Assembly of God church, we agree to teach the A/G’s “Statement of Fundamental Truths,”which can be read at https://ag.org/Beliefs/Statement-of-Fundamental-Truths. But for the sake of local unity, we allow some wiggle-room for those who might disagree on disputable matters, like what order “End Time” events will take place or how.
The following Statement of Faith is our own simplified position, which we do ask all Mission-Partners to agree on as we work together with the same message and vision. Where terms have been left vague, this is purposeful so as not to force participants to conform against their conscience to doctrinally-disputable matters that are not essential to the mission or purpose of Roots Church. However, where terms are specific, this too is purposeful and is intended to help everyone understand the core message proclaimed by our church.
The Scriptures Are Inspired by God.
The 66 books of the Christian Bible were written by men who were yielded vessels of the Holy Spirit. God inspired every word and protected the Scriptures from the pollution of human wills and earthly agendas. It is God’s perfect written revelation of Himself to mankind. The Holy Bible is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training believers to live righteous lives.
There is Only One True God.
This singular God exists eternally as three distinct persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. He is our Creator, our Provider, our Protector, our Helper, our Master, our King, and our Friend. He is the only eternal Judge of mankind and is therefore the one and only authority on morality and life.
Jesus Christ is God.
Eternally existent as a functional member of the triune God, the Son—Jesus Christ—became a human being. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life (while still befriending sinful people), worked mighty miracles, was killed via crucifixion, laid dead in a tomb for three days, physically rose to life, appeared to some 500 people, and physically ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of Father God. Today, He continues to intercede for those who believe in Him, and He works alongside the Church—confirming His word by the signs that accompany it.
Mankind Willfully Chose to Sin against God.
While mankind was originally created innately innocent and good in the image of God, the decisions of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden forfeited mankind’s authority in the earth, privilege of eternal life, and personal relationship with God. Thus sin, death, and evil entered the world; and hell—originally established as a destination for rebelling angels—became the default destination of a fallen mankind.
Jesus Has Provided the Only Way to Reverse the Effects of Sin.
The same way sin, death, and evil entered the world through one man (Adam), the solution was brought through the work of one Man (Jesus Christ). In love, God the Father sent God the Son to conquer sin and restore mankind to fellowship with Himself. The benefits of Christ’s work are available to all by grace and are acquired through faith. Through the death of Jesus on the cross, every living person has the open invitation to consider his or her old life to have died with Christ. The sinful nature can be considered dead in Christ. This positions the person to also partner with Christ in His resurrection—being made a new creation, perfect and innocent in the eyes of God. Furthermore, this opens to the believer the spiritual position of being seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. Through conquering sin and death, Jesus has received all authority in heaven and on earth, which He shares with those who abide in Him. Believers now have access to eternal life in heaven, spiritual authority, and a personal relationship with God.
Water Baptism is the First Step of Obedience to Jesus.
When Jesus told His followers to make disciples of all nations, He specifically instructed them to baptize these new disciples—immersing them in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus set the example of being baptized in water before first entering His public ministry. The Apostle Paul describes the beautiful symbolism of going down into the water as one who has died with Christ and rising up to new life just like Jesus did. Baptism is an appeal to God from a clean conscience that confirms a person’s decision to follow Jesus and proclaims to the kingdom of darkness that we have been born into a new family. We believe any disciple of Jesus can administer baptism according to the biblical model, and we are happy to perform these baptisms wherever water is available—pools, bathtubs, rivers, lakes, etc.
Preaching and Demonstrating the Full Gospel of Christ's Atonement.
When Jesus' blood was shed, He initiated a New Covenant between God and humanity. Sinners everywhere now have a path to become saints. No longer would we be responsible to do the right thing in our own effort. Now those who place their trust in Jesus can receive new hearts in which the Holy Spirit can dwell, enabling Jesus to express His righteousness through us. We are now “new creations” who represent Jesus in this world as the Holy Spirit helps us become more and more like Him each day. In this way, Jesus can express His love and power through us to administer physical healing and spiritual deliverance, which are available to all (whether or not they know God) as signs of God’s love that confirm this message of God's glorious power to save—body, soul, and spirit.
The Empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
While it is true that the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of every Christian at conversion, the Book of Acts proclaims a secondary experience of empowerment from the Holy Spirit that every believer should desire and seek. This empowerment is not necessary for salvation, but it is necessary to effectively and regularly do the works of Jesus and demonstrate the supernatural power of God. The purpose of this empowerment is to give Christians enhanced boldness, supernatural ability for ministry, and a form of fellowship with God that cannot be otherwise experienced. The supernatural sign of “speaking in tongues”—vocalizing in a language unknown to the speaker as he or she yields to the Spirit's prompting—accompanies this empowerment and serves as an ongoing reminder that we carry a Gospel for all nations and are called to do the impossible through partnership with God. This empowerment is available to all believers and should be diligently sought, but we neither promote nor allow a culture of elitism as though this empowerment were an achievement or an indication of special spiritual status.
The Practice of Spiritual Gifts.
Spiritual gifts are listed in various places throughout the New Testament and include such ministries as physical healing, administration, prophecy, discerning spirits, hospitality, tongues, interpretation of tongues, generosity, and others. In short, they occur when the Holy Spirit enables a Christian to carry out some form of ministry in the power of God, thereby revealing an aspect of Jesus. These spiritual gifts are available to every follower of Jesus and are distributed according to the will of the Spirit. Every believer should eagerly desire spiritual gifts and be open to the Lord ministering through them in any way(s) He sees fit.
Sanctification is Part of the Christian Life.
While it is true that Christians instantly become righteous (or “perfect”) in the eyes of God at the moment of conversion, this does not mean that Christians are perfect representatives of God in practice. Each person must experience a lifelong process of being made holy, which—in essence—is to be made more and more like Jesus through the inner working of the Holy Spirit. We believe this process is most effectively experienced in the context of healthy and deep relationships with other Christians who desire the same goal.
The Return of Jesus Christ.
While Jesus presently sits at the right hand of God the Father, He has promised that He will return for His pure and spotless Bride, the Church. Jesus will come on an unknown day at an unknown hour—a time least expected. Therefore we must be diligent and alert—awaiting His return, pursuing personal and Church-wide holiness, and doing all we can to reach everyone we can with the Good News of His salvation. A final judgment is coming, and all those who have rejected Jesus or lived in opposition to Him already stand condemned and will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Only those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and persevered in faith can be certain of their salvation.
A Victorious Eternity
We look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, as described in the Bible. There will be no more death, no more disease, and no more suffering. Satan and all his cohorts will be irrevocably gone. And we who were faithful to Jesus in this life will experience, along with all the saints, the joy of living in eternal relationship with God and each other on the new earth, having new physical bodies and fully expressing who we were always designed to be. The good things God has planned for this eternal world are beyond our wildest imagination, but we know they will be perfect expressions of our good and loving God.
Women in Ministry
Roots Church supports women in ministry. Women are eligible to serve at all levels of leadership in our organization, including our board, Senior Leadership Team, and various volunteer positions. Couples on our Senior Leadership Team share an equal voice in decision-making and leadership at Roots. Some of our house church pastors are women, and we belong to the Assemblies of God fellowship, which grants ordination credentials to women who qualify.
Homosexuality, Transgenderism, & Gender Identity
Roots Church is welcoming and loving toward all, but we are not an LGBTQ+ affirming congregation. Those who participate in such lifestyles are welcome to visit our house churches, discuss the Bible with us, and share their story with us. Kind but difficult conversations will, however, be had if such a person wants to engage more fully in our ministry here at Roots. This is not a matter of prejudice, fear, or hatred but rather a heartfelt desire to remain faithful to the Scriptures, both through genuine love for all humanity and through holiness before the Lord.
Sexual Harassment Policy
Roots Church aims to protect not only its employees but also Mission Partners and participants from sexual harassment of any kind. All reports are taken seriously and addressed as confidentially as possible.
Our Philosophy of Ministry:
Our experience has been that the fastest and healthiest spiritual growth happens in the lives of people who have close, purposeful, engaging relationships with multiple other Christians. Accordingly, we believe the best thing we can emphasize is active participation in small gatherings of local believers who have determined to love, care for, encourage, and challenge each other in the name of Jesus.
After years of trial and error, study, observation, and practice, we have developed a model for small group fellowship that encourages such relationships and spiritual growth.
Additionally, we emphasize the small gathering above the large gathering. The large gathering is valuable and has a purpose, but the small gathering is where the truest experience of “church-life” takes place. We are far less interested in growing the attendance of our large meeting and far more interested in helping you and your family grow in your walks with the Lord within a small gathering of believers who can minister on a personal level to one another.
We also believe firmly in training, equipping, empowering, and supporting every believer in his or her own unique ministries. Every believer has a unique mix of talents, gifts, personality, experience, and calling, and we want to help you discover how to express all these things in the context of love, teamwork, and healthy relationships. While the purpose of our small gatherings is to engage in relational church life, the purpose of our large gatherings is to train and equip everyone together to become the most effective expression of Jesus’ love and nature we can be.
In short, our philosophy of ministry is that . . .
Every believer (regardless of age) is a minister (John 14:12 and 1 Corinthians 12),
Every minister needs to be immersed in a healthy spiritual family (Hebrews 10:24-25), and
Every healthy spiritual family needs regular encouragement, training, and equipping to grow into the “whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12 and Colossians 1:28).
Everything we do as a church is to help facilitate one or all of these three components.