The gospel drives our worship. We can rightly think about worship as “showing worth and value to something or someone.” With this definition we all worship something. The real question becomes is this thing or person truly worthy of our worship? The objects we worship can be endless — relationships, jobs, status, personal fulfillment, pleasure, health…
What do you place ultimate value in for your significance? Then next question becomes, is that thing worth our worship –- is it ultimate?
The problem with these is that eventually these fade, we get old, and we all die, so nothing that we have here can hold ultimate value. As people who worship, we are called to give our worship to something that will last, something that will not break or rust or be destroyed.
Nothing we create or that is created is worthy of our worship, only the Creator is. We desire to worship God and recognize his ultimate status. So at Westside Church our obvious and literal expression of worship is our corporate worship gathering on Sunday morning.
In our Sunday worship, we strive to simply follow what God commands, our worship is made up of some prayer, songs, teaching from scripture and a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. We recognize that in worshipping the Creator all of things –- our world begins to makes sense. Relationships, jobs, status all take their proper place as penultimate and not ultimate.
The gospel creates community. As a church, we seek to be a group of people who will grow together by asking hard questions about life and purpose. We are all continually discovering what real community looks like. We have some who are skeptical of Christians and Christianity, because of past hurts they have experienced in and by the church. We have some who are deeply broken by life. We have some who act like they have it all together. None of these are beyond the reach of discovering what community is, in fact these are why we have community.
At the core of every person is the desire to be a part of community. As Christians we believe that this exists in us because we are made in God’s image and God is Triune – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has existed for all time in perfect community and when he made man he said, “Let us make man in our image,” soon followed by “It is not good for man to be alone.”
Community does not fill our life; community allows us to see how selfish the “I, me, and my” focus is. Throughout the Bible the community of God’s people is called the family. We hope to grow in our family-mentality but that only happens when we are confronted with our own selfish individualism. So community is always built around something, a sport, an interest, or a geographic region. We desire to build a community around the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
No matter who you are, the choices you make come from what you believe. And the choices you make show your mission. Our mission is to honor God our creator for what he has provided for us in Jesus Christ. We seek to live out our faith in all areas of life:
We live out this mission with our home and neighborhood. God has placed us all in close proximity to people. Many times these are the greatest relationships and the hardest. We share the joys of life and we are hurt the most by those around us. We seek to be receivers of the grace of God and then we seek to show this grace to others.
We live out this mission with our work. God made work as a good gift, yet we are all tempted to place work as where we get value instead of where we value what has been given to us. Many times our view of work is either drudgery or idolatry, but we seek to find ways to submit to what God has provided.
We live out this mission with our money and skills. We all live in this world that God has created and money is part of God’s world. We fail if we view money and wealth as the end in life, yet we are not called to surrender and live as though money is evil. A life lived in light of God the great provider, will see all of our resources as God-given. Our life, our resources, our skills and talents are all meant to be handled with generosity.
We live out this mission by calling others to find life in Christ. Any mission of mercy or generosity or social justice falls short when we do not acknowledge why these are important. We are merciful because God is merciful, we are generous because God is generous and we desire to seek the welfare of the oppressed because God sought our welfare.
We, as Westside Church, desire to be people of reconciliation; we are called to be reconcilers because God has reconciled us to himself. The mission of God is to reconcile people to himself who then reconcile their relationships, their community, and the world.
Just like people, a church has the capacity to be selfish and hurtful. What we see in Scripture is that we as a church community need to be connected to other bodies. By having elders in every church, not just a single pastor who makes all the decisions, we seek to be guided by a plurality of elders elected from within the local church.
To be a connectional church is to be an accountable church. We are a part of a denomination called the Presbyterian Church in America. Knowing that Christianity holds to a set of historic beliefs we also hold to an historic confession. The Westminster Confession of Faith written in the mid 1600’s is a summary of what we believe.