This short 2-minute video illustrates what we believe we are supposed to be and do as a congregation.
Onward Church was born out of a burden that the Lord had been placing on my heart for some time. I started my ministry as a pastor in 1990 in the usual way of “attractional” church. The traditional idea of “doing church” was to develop a program on Sundays that would draw those who were far from God to hear the Gospel and connect with the Lord and His people. But after more than 20 years doing it this way, something seemed very ineffective to me with this approach. It simply did not match with how the church was described in the Word of God.
I’ve said for a long time, “I’m too old to play church!” So in November 2011 we started Onward Church. We began to learn about Disciple Making Movements around the world where every believer was equipped to make disciples who could make disciples. We learned what the church was supposed to be: FAMILY; and what the church was supposed to do: worship together, make disciples together, baptize those who become believers, pray together, study the Bible together, care for one another, give generously together, share the Lord’s Supper together, as we are led by caring and qualified leaders (see diagram at left).
It is our vision to be moving Onward. Our congregation was birthed at a time when moving onward, that is taking the right next step by faith, was what God was leading us to do. The life of faithfully following our Lord one step at a time is a life pointed onward, as the Apostle Paul said, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13b–14). Regardless of your past, the Lord desires to lead you and bless you as you faithfully move onward in your pursuit of knowing Him and making Him known. We persevere Onward!
A “One New People” Congregation
It is our vision to be a congregation that is made up of Jewish and Gentile followers of Messiah. The original church consisted of just this mixture. We believe it is God’s plan for His people to be made up of both Jews and Gentiles in one body of His Son, our Savior and our Messiah, Jesus Christ. Paul explains, “He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” (Ephesians 2:15b–16). This provides us with a wonderful opportunity of experiencing the richness of our faith by understanding the Scriptures through a proper Jewish cultural lens.
It is our vision to be a congregation of disciples who are thoroughly equipped to make disciples who can make disciples. We want to apply the best practices used by the practitioners of Disciple Making Movements (DMM) and Church Planting Movements (CPM) adapted to the American culture. Our vision is to see a movement of disciple making that leads to disciple and church multiplication.
COMMITTED TO TEACHING THE WORD OF GOD
It is our vision to be a Bible-teaching congregation. We are committed to the simple teaching of God’s word, verse-by-verse, that leads people into a more intimate relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. We resonate with Job who said, “I have desired your word more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). David declared, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7, NIV84). Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63b). These passages provide vision and direction for our approach to teaching God’s Word—the Bible. Our purpose of studying God’s word is not so that we know the Bible, but so that we know the Bible’s Author.
It our vision to create obedience-based discipleship. It seems that modern church discipleship has been focused on teaching people what Jesus commanded. But that is not what He instructed us to do. He commanded us to teach believers “to obey everything I have commanded” (Matthew 28:20a). Knowledge-based discipleship teaches information. Obedience-based discipleship teaches obedience. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1b). Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Our focus is to create an environment where we help one another obey the Lord.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
It is our vision to keep our worship genuine, simple, and organic. It seemed that the modern, church growth movement in America had become so focused on making the Sunday morning programming attractional for those who don’t know the Lord. We believe that weekend worship is not for people who are far from God…they are very welcome, but it is not for them. Worship is for those who know the Lord to gather for worshiping the One True God. We felt that the Lord was asking us to keep our programs simpler.
A REAL CHURCH FAMILY
It is our vision for you to belong to our family. Sometimes it is difficult to have the feeling of family in a congregation. We want you to have the cell numbers of your pastors and to sense a community connection with the other members of your church family as together we are on mission with God. Family is a major emphasis for our congregation.