The Great Commission - Based on Matthew 28:19-20, we have a Great Commission mindset of going out and making disciples of all the nations. There are many effective ways to share the gospel, and sharing regularly is an important part of that. We strive to equip members to be ready to join a plant team as a way to reach the lost in this world. We are called to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) and the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) should play an important role in our lives.
Identity in Christ - It is foundational that we recognize our identity in Christ because what we believe is what we will become. We are new creations in Christ and holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4), so we need to just live that truth.
Holy Spirit - We need to live our lives in the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-39) and understand His role and power. We were sealed with the Holy Spirit when we believed in Him as a promise of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). Hearing the Holy Spirit is important to our daily lives as well as knowing and understanding the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This happens as we learn to distinguish the Holy Spirit’s voice from all of the other competing noises in this world.
Prayer - Unfortunately, many often pray for the wrong things in life. The ACTS prayer model puts our hearts in the right place before we ask for anything for ourselves and others. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances for that is God’s will for us. Prayer keeps our relationships with God strong so that we can receive mercy and find grace in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Putting on the whole armor of God helps us to stand firm in our faith no matter the circumstance (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Bible Study - First, it is important for every believers to study the Scriptures daily. On average, those who read their Bibles at least four times per week maintain a strong relationship with God for decades. When studying the Bible it is important to understand the context and type of literature. With this said, history is read as history, poetry as insight and poetry, parables as figurative, prophecy as potentially figurative and potentially literal, and commands as commands. The Bible is never in error and never contradicts itself. If we think it does. we just haven’t found God’s intended meaning of the Scripture. We need to teach and also be taught (Hebrews 5:12). We should rightly handle the Word (2 Timothy 2:15) and know the true reasons for God giving it to us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In interpreting Scripture, we have seen that the simplest, most straightforward reading of the passage is typically most accurate.
Understanding God’s Will - Romans 12:1-2 shows that there are three steps to determine and follow God’s will for you: offer yourself to God, stop conforming to this world, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind. James 3:17 tells us what God’s wisdom is: pure, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, peace-loving, submissive, and sincere. We seek to understand God’s will on a moment by moment level as well as at the life decision level.
Old Testament Survey - The Old Testament timeline can help us understand how the Bible is organized. God is the same in the Old and New Testaments, and the Old Testament gives us real examples of who God is and what does and does not work in our relationships with Him. Prophecy in the Old Testament gives us evidence that proves Jesus is the Messiah. The Old Testament prophecy is also one validation that the Scripture is divinely inspired and therefore true.
Grace and Faith - We are God’s workmanship, and we have been saved by God’s gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-10). We seek to understand and live in the tension between God’s Sovereignty and His desire to have a genuine, two-way, relationship with us. Hebrews 11 says that it is impossible to please God without faith and gives many examples of people in the Bible that had strong faith in God.
Accountability and Submission - God has called us to be in submitted relationships. First, it is a form of humility, just as the Son submitted to the Father’s will (Philippians 2). Therefore, voluntarily submitting ourselves to accountable relationships is one of the most effective ways of growing in Christ. Unfortunately, we often fight against being accountable because we don’t want to submit to one another. We should be accountable to God, others, and the Body of Christ.
Mentoring - Mentoring is a long-term relationship where one person passes on wisdom to another. 2 Timothy 2:2 says that we should share what we learn with others who are faithful so that they can also share. Mentoring-like training is the most similar teaching method to that which Christ employed with His disciples.
Servant Leadership - In order to be a leader, we must be a servant of others first because Christ did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as ransom for many (Matthew 20:25-28). This is the type of leadership that Ablaze teaches and encourages of its leaders.
God’s Provision - Matthew 6:33 says that we should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we put God first in our lives, we will be blessed with what we need. We need to be faithful, content, and live generously. Tithing regularly is a good way to do this. Another key aspect of seeking first God’s kingdom is to make oneself available to others.
Right Perspective on Trials, Disciplines, and Rebukes - Trials happen in our lives in order for us to learn (Hebrews 12:3-11) and grow (James 1:2-4). We should rejoice in our sufferings because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope (Romans 5:3-5).
Proper Way to Handle Conflicts - When handling conflicts it is important to pray about the situation (Philippians 4:2-9). Proverbs 15:1 says that a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. We are called to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil (James 4:7-8). We should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger because the anger does not produce righteousness (James 1:19-20). Do not give the devil an opportunity by letting your anger last through the night (Ephesians 4:26).
God’s Order in Family/Church - Genesis 3:16-19 states that a woman will bring forth children and her husband will rule over her. For a man, God said that he would have to work hard to provide food. Ephesians 5:22-6:4 says that wives must submit to their husbands because the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. The husband is called to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. In 1 Timothy 2:11-15, women should not teach or have authority over men because Adam was formed first and then Eve. While this is a hard teaching, when men lead as servant leaders they show the utmost of love for their Christian sisters. God has honored that in the GCC association of churches – the divorce rate in our association world-wide is 2.5%.
New Testament Church Model - In Acts 2:42-47, the church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. All who believed were together and had all things in common. The New Testament church puts God first and each other next. The NT church is simply focused on relationship, discipleship and mission.
Great Commission Core Values (8) - Great Commission churches have eight main core values: grace of God, commitment to God and His Word, all nations reached with the gospel, the local church, church leadership, unity, raising Godly families, and every member a minister. More details on these 8 Core Values can be found here.
Daily Disciplines - Like any relationship, having daily communication is helpful in having a healthy relationship with God. Daily quiet time allows the disciple to learn from the Bible while also connecting the insight of the Holy Spirit through prayer. Tapping into the Holy Spirit’s voice and power in one’s life is an essential part of growing as a Christian. True fasting as described in Isaiah 58 is another good way of connecting with the Holy Spirit. We need to surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives and be others-focused.
Spiritual Gifting and Serving in that Area - Ephesians 4 says that the whole body of Christ is stronger when everyone with it does his part. God spread out the gifts so that we would not be prideful. There are two types of spiritual gifts: Motivational (Romans 12) and Manifestation (1 Corinthians 12).
Unity - Ephesians 4:1-16 says that we should walk with humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain unity of the Spirit. There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Maturity is equated with unity in Ephesians 4. In John 17:20-23, Jesus asks God for those who believe in Him to all be one, just as the Father is in Him and He is in the Father.
Forgiveness and Healing - Ephesians 4:32 says that we should forgive one another as God in Christ forgave us. If we forgive others their trespasses, God will also forgive us and, if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive our own trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15). Releasing bitterness is an essential part of healing, and, if not done, can greatly stunt one’s spiritual growth.
Knowing Where Your Heart Is - We need God to search our hearts and test us so that we can be guided in His way (Psalms 139:23-24). If a person had good treasures in his or her heart, the person will produce good. If there are evil treasures in the heart, evil will be produced (Luke 6:44-45). What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart (Matthew 15:18-20). We should pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).
Relationships and Purity - If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell (Matthew 5:27-30). We should flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Hebrews 13:4 says that we should honor the marriage bed. On the positive side, the divorce rate for those who abstain from sex before marriage is an incredible 2%.
Character Qualities - There are many qualities any Christian should have: integrity, humility, hard work, compassion, gentleness, self control, patience, friendliness, love, servant/others-focused, and generous. As the Holy Spirit permeates more of one’s life, these traits will be more often exhibited.
Understanding Biblical Poverty Alleviation - Isaiah 58:6-7 is an example of true fasting when it comes to the poor. It is important to understand that there are different types of poverty: material and spiritual. Everyone is poor, although not everyone is materially poor. We need to understand the ways to alleviate poverty without hurting both the helper and the helped. The goal of material poverty alleviation should be to restore the person to a right relationship with creation so that they can provide for their own needs from the fruits of their own labor.