Our City Church’s core beliefs are derived from Scripture (the Old and New Testaments of the Bible). We believe the truths set forth here are essential to understanding the work of God in the world. God’s presence is historically revealed through the Bible and is confirmed by the consistent witness of prophets, priests, kings and ordinary people. The Bible spoke clearly to people ‘then and there,’ but it also speaks to those of us ‘here and now’ through His Spirit.
The Bible—the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments—is unique among written works in the world and is inspired by God. Written by dozens of authors from three continents over 1,500 years, it maintains an internal consistency while reflecting the backgrounds, styles and vocabularies of its authors. The scriptures speak with the authority of God expressed through the unique personalities of men and women. We seek to interpret, contextualize and live out this story today as the Holy Spirit makes the Bible alive to each of us.
We hold that the Scriptures provide daily and ultimate guidance for our individual and corporate lives. There are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
We believe there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three equal Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the beginning, God demonstrated His power and beauty by creating the world and everything in it. Through His divine power and providence, God continues to sustain His creation, operating within history to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
Salvation (the Good News)
Scripture teaches that God reveals Himself. It further teaches that we are created in His image to live in fellowship with Him and in relational harmony with each other. It also makes clear that humanity has defied Him by going their own independent way, resulting in alienation and the inability to please God. Scripture refers to this condition as sin. This fall from grace took place at the beginning of history and since then all people have suffered the consequences and need redemption—to be be bought back and saved from sin, error and evil.
The tendency to ‘miss the mark’ with God, the choice to turn from God’s loving guidance, affected standing with God and broke the intimacy of relationship with Him. Additionally, this condition brought about disease and, ultimately, death. The Bible teaches, both from a physical standpoint and a spiritual one, humankind suffers the corruption of our nature because of our sin.
The Good News—what the New Testament calls ‘the Gospel’—is that a perfect and holy God did not abandon us to our own destruction, but instead promised to provide a way of restoration and redemption. That Way took on flesh in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. He died a substitutionary death on the cross as payment for our sins. He was raised from the dead as witnessed by hundreds and evidenced by the birth and flourishing of the Christian church.
Then and now, His suffering, death, burial, and resurrection bring hope for all humankind. Because of Jesus, sin and death have been defeated and the promise of forgiveness and eternal communion with God are freely available. No amount of good works or human effort can restore us, but God can! It is only by God’s free grace that we are saved from our state of alienation. This grace is appropriated by a change of heart toward God’s leadership in our lives, and by faith that Jesus has forgiven us. Each person can receive salvation by repentance through faith. And even that faith is a gracious gift from God. God’s Word assures believers that He will continue His saving work in them forever. From beginning to end, it is grace that makes people whole again.
When the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, He regenerates the heart and permanently indwells those who confess Jesus Christ as their Savior. The witness of the Holy Spirit affirms them as children of God. The Spirit then empowers them with gifts, convicts, guides, comforts, counsels and leads them into truth through a life of worship and expressions of faith through service.
Jesus Christ is the central figure of the Bible and of human history. He is the foundation of Our City Church. The church is a global and local expression of Jesus Christ.
Scripture teaches the second person of the Trinity took on a human body (the Incarnation) by miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived in obedience to God the Father, voluntarily paid the price for the sins of all people by dying on the cross as their substitute and satisfied divine justice, bringing salvation to all who trust in Him alone. After His physical death, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father as the only intercessor between God and humans. He promises to return to earth, personally and visibly, to fulfill history and the eternal plan of God.
The Empowered Life (The Holy Spirit)
Those who are in relationship with Jesus, who model his lifestyle, are called to live in holiness and obedience. This is only possible with God’s help. The Holy Spirit applies Christ’s work by making us aware of our need to be saved. He renews and indwells believers upon salvation providing assurance and the gifts that propel the church forward. The Holy Spirit makes the Bible come alive and brings about the actions that produce spiritual results.
We believe human activity has eternal consequence and that death seals the destiny of each person. The Scriptures teach that every human being will be resurrected and judged. That judgement will be final. Those who have chosen God will continue to be in fellowship with Him while those who die outside of fellowship with God will continue in that state forever. The sobering reality of eternity, both eternal life in Christ, and eternal death apart from Him, adds urgency to our work and witness in the world.
All who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are in relationship with Him. Scripture uses the analogy of the human body to suggest the church and its members function as an organic, living entity.
The church exists wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to Christ. We believe in the church with a small ‘c;’ the local gathering of believers. We also enthusiastically support the church with a big ‘C.’ That is the worldwide community of people who love Jesus and are doing good work every day. We will sacrificially and generously support our sisters and brothers around the world. What we are part of is so much bigger than what we do locally. The church is cared for and led by elders and leaders who are called to serve as Christ served. The greatest among us should seek to serve the most in humility and joy.
Faith and Practice
In all matters of faith and practice, Scripture is the final authority. In matters where Scripture is silent, believers should conscientiously seek to be led by the Holy Spirit, conscience and wise counsel.
Baptism and Communion
Our City Church observes two biblical sacraments rooted in the lifestyle and teachings of Jesus Christ and practiced historically by the church. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. Being baptized is a public commitment of faith and desire to model the life of Christ who was buried and raised into a new life.
Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper or eucharist, is the practice of taking bread and wine to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Jesus called Himself ‘the bread of life’ and being in relationship with Him is the spiritual source of our lives. The early Church celebrated Jesus by taking communion daily.
At Our City Church, we are committed to lifting Jesus high and explaining Him well. Scripture teaches if someone has seen Jesus, they have seen God. Our core beliefs and values can be summed up in our love for God, our love for others and our single focus on living like Jesus each day.
Jesus Christ talked more about the Kingdom of God or Heaven than anything else. Through the ideas Jesus talked about and the lifestyle he modeled, he clearly taught the Kingdom of God is at work here and now, but the full manifestation of what it will be like is yet to come. We live in the tension of the world we ultimately see and the broken one that we live in each day.
The Next Generation
We are all about the next generation. Our calling is to make Jesus clear to children, middle school and high school students and to those on college campuses; both in person and online. The message of Jesus can transform any life, but we are called to work extra hard to contextualize the message to make it clear to those whose entire lifetime is ahead of them. Our strategies and methods reflect our belief in the future and our commitment to influencing the youth culture.
Giving is in our DNA. Before Our City Church met for the first time we had given hundreds of thousands of dollars to hospitals, humanitarian aid and what we call, big ‘C’ projects; that means we are committed to resourcing not only our local church campuses, but the work of the church worldwide.
THE CHURCH I SEE
With God’s help, this is the church I see:
A church that has a passion for Jesus you can sense when you walk into any of our environments.
I see a church that has all races gathered under one name: Jesus. I see a church where rich and poor sit next to each other, partnering together to paint a picture for the world to see; a unified people who listen and care about our biblical neighbors plight and viewpoint.
I see a church that sends people around the world to pour out our love and receive the zeal and passion and faith from our brothers and sisters globally. They either are or ARE NOT our brothers and sisters. I think Jesus said they ARE.
I see a church that raises up adult leaders from within, that teaches them how to pour their life into those coming behind. I see young leaders being trained and released into ministry. I see them all being taught why they believe, what they believe and to being able to hold their values and still relate to a world in need of Jesus.
The church I envision does not merely tolerate the next generation, but CHAMPIONS them. We will intentionally care about the future of our babies, toddlers, children, teens and young adults. The next generation won’t be waiting in line for their turn to lea, they will be the focus of our ministry and will have opportunities to grow, serve and develop their heart for God and others as well as their skills for their future.
This church fights for the health of the marriages in our cities knowing the best gift anyone can give their children is a loving, secure, faithful, Christ-honoring marriage and home life. We will not hope for that to happen. We will invest in it.
It reaches people from all backgrounds and is not afraid of people who are different from us. We will embrace our differences and show the world our belief in Jesus is big enough to unite around rather than small enough to divide us around our differences.
I see a church that known for what we are for, not for what we are against. One that our cities are glad exist because of our care, love and investment in families, young people and those in need.
I see a church that will reach those that have been forgotten in our county and state prisons. We will place campuses in our prisons to make sure that the hope of a changed life through Christ is given to those serving time.
I see a church marked by a spirit of generosity; a church that doesn’t just give to God, but invests in His Kingdom work. A church that will see to it that the church outlasts them, that our children’s children will have something great to run with. We will leave a legacy. “It’s Our Turn,” will be our anthem as we appreciate those that have gone before us, and do our best with our short time to prepare the next generation for leading in the world they will find themselves in.
I see a church with BIG faith that believes in a BIG God. We are willing to bet the farm, risk with wisdom and go for broke when we see a door God is opening. We won’t be afraid of what we have never done before, but will be inspired by it.
The church I see is innovative and aware of the growing digital needs of our world. The world has changed and we now have the opportunity to give people resources, messages, support and the hope of Jesus 24/7. We will leverage all the avenues possible to send our message of life in Christ to our people, our city, our state, our nation and our world. We will send our children weekly videos that also aid every parent or loving adult to lead a devotional time with Jesus. We will send our teens a weekly reminder of who they are in Christ and that the world needs their love and light. We will send our adults the truth, wisdom, inspiration and messages about life in Christ for them to share with their friends and family. We will put the tools of discipleship into the hands of our people.
This great church hosts a yearly event that inspires, develops and launches people into new lives with renewed passion for Jesus, His church and the vision he has working towards at Our City Church.
I see a church that is a family of churches centered on a passion for Jesus, for explaining who he is, reaching the next generation and being known for generosity.
This church that is manifesting now will thread the needle of lifting Jesus high, and explaining Jesus well, while living out the mantra that it is “Our city, our responsibility!” We will love, serve, give and inspire our city in a way that points people to Jesus.
Yes, the church I see is Our City Church.
– Pastor Chris Harrell