Vision and Values

Since the late 90’s, you’ve probably heard the above two words more and more as they pertain to the church world. We have a strong vision for our church and its future. What is most important, though, is God’s vision for the church which is found in the Bible. Our church is a non denominational Christian church that worships God, not a corporation that sells widgets. Jesus advised us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).” His last words to his disciples involved His will for us to “make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:19).”

Our vision for SouthBridge Church is first and foremost fulfilling Christ’s vision for the church here in Orland Park, our greater Chicagoland community and the world. Building on the above foundation of the Great Commandment and Great Commission, from the beginning our vision was to have a unique church that serves Orland Park and the surrounding suburbs like Tinley Park, Oak Forest, and Palos Park. Below are some Biblical foundations that serve as basis for how SouthBridge Church seeks to love God and others in the southwest suburbs and beyond….

non denominational churches Palos ParkHEALTH

Above all other things, we want to be a healthy church. The New Testament teaches that church should be a place of peace and harmony (Col. 3:15, Phil. 1:27). No fighting or drama. We will clearly articulate doctrine, vision, and values, and constitutional procedures so that people know what is important to our church. We will model and direct others to treat and speak to each other with respect. This means striving to ensure that people resolve any and all issues with others quickly, directly, and with the aim of reconciliation as Jesus taught in Matthew 18.

The New Testament teaches that the ‘church’ actually consists of people and relationships and not the building, worship service, or any program (I Cor. 3:16). We will constantly connect people to each other. The Bible teaches that it is the duty of each Christian to be involved in the lives of other Christians in and outside of the church (I Thes. 5:11). We are and want to continue to be a church of real friendships.

Jesus died for us ‘while we were still sinners’ (Romans 5:8)- He didn’t wait until we were perfect. We value accepting, loving, and having a place for everyone, regardless of belief, background, spiritual level, race, age, marital status, etc. We also want to model grace and forgiveness for people growing in ministry skill and spiritual level and give them the freedom to make mistakes.

Our real niche is communicating the Christian message in a way that relates to everyday life in the southwest suburbs and is understandable to people of all generations both in and outside of the church (I Cor. 9:22).

The primary job of church leaders in the New Testament is to “watch over people’s souls.” As Jesus said, they should be servant leaders involved in the lives of the people whose souls they watch over. Since leadership in the New Testament was always plural, the authority of church leaders is derived from their appointment through an environment of accountability (Titus 1:5). Their appointment is based the gift of leadership, a proven track record of serving and working with others, and living by higher Biblical standards (I Tim. 3).

The New Testament model of ministry shows the church as a ministry team. This means that God calls, authorizes (I Peter 2:9), and empowers ordinary people in the church for the work of the ministry. The pastor’s job is to equip and mobilize them to this work instead of being a one man show (Eph. 4:11, 12).

II Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we are to represent Christ. That means our primary message will be the availability of God’s love and forgiveness- not condemnation or guilt. Fault forgiving and forgetting- not fault finding. We will strive to model this grace in all we do and teach.

We believe that there are gray areas where the Bible is silent and leaves judgment of right and wrong up to the individual. Romans 14 teaches that there is freedom and grace in these areas and that we should neither judge others nor tempt fellow believers. We will not legislate morality in these areas. Instead we will be assisting people to protect their relationship with God and others.

We value having a place where everyone, at every spiritual level can spiritually grow. We feel that un-churched people and new believers in Christ grow primarily through teaching, whereas more mature Christians grow primarily through discovering their ministry gifts, and being trained to use and develop them to help others. Growth is evidenced by the fruit of the Holy Spirit evident in one’s life, spiritual maturity, ownership of one’s faith, and using one’s gifts serving others in cooperation leadership and others in a local church (Eph. 4). We value offering a clear path where anyone can grow from the place of spiritually searching to a member and leader of the church.

We recognize the Bible’s exhortation that we are on the same team as other Christian churches and denominations. Each different church reaches different kind of people. We believe these differences should be evidence of strengths and opportunities for cooperation instead of means for division. We enjoy rich relationships with most of the churches on the South-Side and beyond, and value cooperating with them in serving the community (I Corinthians 12:13).

The New Testament exhorts us to extend love and the Gospel message outside the four walls of our church. We want to begin with loving and serving those less fortunate in our own backyard, and then further to the “ends of the earth,” regardless of race, age, color, etc (Acts 1:8).