Our mission is love.

 
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Our mission is to welcome all people to experience and live out God’s love.

 

What does this mean?

As children of God, we are all called to love and be loved. We are called to experience God’s love in worship and community. We are called to create opportunities for others, all people, to experience God’s love too. Because God loved us first, we are called to live out God’s love in word and action and empower others to do the same. Welcome and diversity are fundamental expressions that ALL people are children of God, loved by God as they are, and called to love and be loved as part of our church.

Guiding Principles

Jesus-Like Welcome

Diversity

Where does this come from?

Our Listening Groups: The single biggest reason people chose Advent is their experience of being welcomed as they are. People come to Advent to experience God’s love in worship and community. It is important to us that all people experience God’s love and feel continually welcomed at Advent. We feel called to live out God’s love in word and action.

Theology: The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus spends his entire ministry erasing barriers and inviting people in. God is love.

Incarnation

Grace

In the Bible: Matthew 22:26-40, 1 John 4:7-21, 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Corinthians 16:14, John 13:34-35, John 1:12, 1 John 3:1

Our Strategy is Community.

 
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Following the example of Jesus, our strategy is to practice authentic community that builds an inclusive faith.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Following the example of Jesus, we realize our mission by building authentic relationships with God, others, and ourselves, while honoring diversity through the practice of welcome, accompaniment, and advocacy. We guide, teach, and support people to do this while forming their faith in a church culture rooted in God’s Grace.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Building Relationships

Accompaniment

Advocacy

Culture of Practice-not-Perfect

Where does this come from?

Our Listening Groups: The quality of Advent that people value most is community. The most prominent need people expressed is for deeper relationships and community connectedness. People want to be known and to genuinely know others. People learn faith from each other, serving together, and serving others. People desire guidance putting faith into practice, service grounded in faith formation, and a better understanding of the needs of people in our community.

Theology: The Body of Christ, The Theology of the Cross, Discipleship

In the Bible: John 15:13, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, Luke 23:26-29, John 1, Luke 24:13-35, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 2:8-10, Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 14:11-17, Deuteronomy 6:7

Our vision is transformation.

 
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Our vision is to be a church where the Holy Spirit transforms people’s faith, the community, and the world.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

By engaging in our mission and strategy, our end goal is to open our lives and community to the Holy Spirit — growing our faith and transforming the world in small ways every day and big ways over time. We live into God’s love, justice, and joy.

Guiding Principles

Discipleship as a Lifelong Journey of Faith Formation

Transformation

WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM?

Our Listening Groups: People seek renewal, empowerment, and hope of a better world in worship and service at Advent. People see relationships and service as opportunities for faith formation. People desire faith formation, personal support, and to see our faith lived out in ways that transform lives and the world.

Theology: Baptism, Resurrection, Liberation Theology

In the Bible: Luke 4:18-19, Luke 7:36-50, Matthew 19:13-15, John 11:25-26, Mark 16:6, Isaiah 43:19, Romans 12:2, Galatians 2:20

Guiding Principles

Giving further definition to our Mission & Vision,

These are the 8 principles we seek to live into.

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1. Jesus-Like Welcome

Welcome is the expression of our belief that everyone is a beloved child of God. Jesus spends his entire ministry erasing barriers and inviting people in. Thus, our welcome is fundamental, genuine, unconditional, and far-reaching. We strive to love people as they are, with the most open arms we can muster. We seek to show all people that they are fundamentally welcome at Advent, they have value, dignity, are loved by God, and they are enough. Welcome is not a passive action but a vital, conscious, and responsive one, where we strive to share God’s Love in every interaction and choice. We guide, teach, and empower people to live Jesus-like welcome and invitation as a way of being, at Advent and throughout their lives. (back to our Mission)

2. Diversity

We believe people of every age, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, race, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status, primary language, education level, religion, and any other identity classification are all God’s creation, all loved by God for exactly who they are, and all called to come together and be God’s church. We recognize the complex and beautiful interconnected diversity of creation as a reflection of God’s commitment to and honoring of diversity. A diverse congregation shows us who God is, and who God is calling the Church to be.

We strive to honor diversity in all forms by worshiping, learning, and building relationships in ways that value each other’s authenticity and uniqueness, create understanding and healing, and care for each other through accompaniment and advocacy. We are all rooted together in God’s love, gathered together for God’s ministry, and make each other the complete Body of Christ. (back to our Mission)

3. Building Relationships

Relationships are the building blocks of our community and ministry. Relationships are spaces to love and be loved, learn about God, grow in faith, and really practice loving our neighbors. They build strong connections inside our church and help us create authentic connections of welcome, invitation, accompaniment, and advocacy reaching out into our community. At Advent, every relationship starts with God, and God’s love. People can connect over a shared need, joy, experience, tapping into our shared humanity and primary identity as beloved children of God. Relationship building can start small, but Advent’s goal is to build relationships that continually grow and change over time. Similarly, we open ourselves to our relationship with God growing over time. (back to our Strategy)

4. Accompaniment

Accompaniment is relationship step 2. It’s not just listening to others’ stories and sympathizing, but walking with them and empathizing. It’s being present, and genuinely caring what their life is like. It’s love that stays. Accompaniment shows people “you are not alone.” We are with you, and most importantly, God is with you. We accompany others in both service and faith formation. Accompaniment can be lived out with our neighbor at worship, in a ministry or group, at Community Lunch, and can go beyond our church, with our neighbors in our community, city, country, and our sister churches in Tanzania and El Salvador. Accompaniment is grounded in the “Theology of the Cross,” our understanding of God through the lens of the crucified Christ that God is often found in the place you least expect God to be: in the suffering, the struggle, in the shadow of the cross.(back to our Strategy)

5. Advocacy

Advocacy is standing with each other. It is showing up, speaking up, and sticking up for the lives of others where and when it counts. Advocacy can sometimes take a political tilt, but at Advent our advocacy is rooted in God’s call and God’s teaching to love our neighbor. (back to our Strategy)

6. A Culture of Practice-not-Perfect

There’s a reason they call it “practicing your faith.” Faith can’t ever be perfected, love can’t ever be perfected. Loving your neighbor is a growable mindset we can learn and practice with others. At Advent, we guide, teach, and empower people to practice living out God’s love through Jesus-like welcome, building relationships, accompaniment, and advocacy. We support each other in practicing our faith in action, and when we inevitably mess up, there’s Grace: the truth that God loves us 100%, no more, no less, no matter what. If we are not worried about earning God’s love, it frees us to risk and an authentic practice of loving and being loved. (back to our Strategy)

7. Discipleship as a Lifelong Journey of Faith Formation

Discipleship is the practice of following and devoting yourself to your teacher or rabbi, not the practice of arriving. Faith is something we practice and grow throughout our lives. At Advent, we are people who are 4, 14, or 84, lifelong Lutherans, new to Christianity, from many denominations, church dropouts returning, seekers, questioners, faithful disciples, and people in search of purpose. We meet people where they are with God’s love, and walk alongside them in their lifelong journey of faith formation. We guide, teach, and empower people to practice our faith in action beyond Advent, throughout their daily lives. (back to our Vision)

8. Transformation

We believe that by actively loving our neighbor and practicing living out our faith, we open ourselves to God transforming our lives, our faith, and the world. Change can be thorough or dramatic without being huge. It’s the butterfly effect—spreading the Gospel and God’s Love person by person--that through us, God is transforming lives and the world toward love, justice, joy, and peace. (back to our Vision)

 

 Theological Definitions

 
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Incarnation

In Jesus, God took on flesh and came to live among humanity.   The sheer wonder that God, the Creator of the world, chooses to limit God's self to live among us in human form is staggering.  There is nowhere God will not go in order to be with us.  In the incarnational truth of Jesus, God experienced all that humanity has to offer, the good, the bad and the ugly.  This means that there is no pain or struggle outside the experience and notice of God.  We are never alone.  It is not merely that God says we are loved, but God shows us it is true in the life of Jesus.  And after Jesus resurrection and ascension, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered and invited to live incarnational lives that bear the reflection of God's love to the world. (back to our Mission)

Grace

Grace is the truth that God loves us 100% no more, no less, no matter what.  This is God's choosing.  In the Divine's willingness to choose us again and again, we are freed to respond to God's love not out of fear of losing it, but out of the joy of receiving it.  Grace frees us from obligation and instead ushers in an invitation into the kind of freedom that only unconditional love can create.  Because of grace we can take risks without the paralysis of "perfection" because we know we cannot fall out of God's love. (back to our Mission)

The Body of Christ

The term the body of Christ holds two meanings.  It brings us to the communion table, as we are again invited into the intimacy of the Last Supper as Jesus proclaims, "this is my body given for you".  At communion we experience the love and forgiveness of Jesus in, with and under the bread and the wine.  We are reminded of who we are and whose we are.  And in this moment at the table, we experience the second meaning of the term the Body of Christ.  Because at that table we gather with all believers in every time and place, standing humbly with hands outstretched, all seeking a sign of God's grace.  Together, we are the Body of Christ.  As people of faith, we are connected to one another through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  What a gift!  Because this means that as the Body of Christ, one way we get to experience Jesus walking with us is by walking with one another. (back to our Strategy)

The Theology of the Cross

This is an understanding of God through the lens of the crucified Christ that God is often found in the place you least expect God to be: in the suffering, the struggle, in the shadow of the cross. Jesus came to accompany us in all of our life experiences, even in death and resurrection. Jesus is a primary example of accompaniment. (back to our Strategy)

Discipleship

Disciples are people who follow their leader/teacher so closely that they seek to model the choices/thought processes/life of their leader.  Jesus is our leader. Jesus is our teacher.  Jesus is the one we follow.  The early Christian church, prior to being called Christian or church, were called 'Followers of the Way'.  Jesus lays out a blueprint for what a life lived close to the heart of God looks like.  This is the Way.  This is Jesus.  And it is the journey we are invited to take part in. (back to our Strategy)

Resurrection

God makes all things new, rather than making new things.  Resurrection makes possible the transformation of death into life, hatred into love, despair into hope. After three days in the tomb, Jesus resurrection shattered the inevitability of death and rewrote the story for humanity and all creation. (back to our Vision)

Liberation Theology

Liberation Theology is a movement in Christian theology that emphasized liberation from social, political and economic oppression as anticipation of ultimate salvation.  Jesus is the model of advocacy and the valuing of the marginalized of society.  Jesus constantly is befriending and caring for those who are pushed to the edges of society.  And he redeems them.  In the healing stories,  people are not only healed of their physical ailments, but in that healing they are also restored to community.  The restrictions and purity codes that are placed on them are removed and they are able to return, with dignity, to the community.   And the community is in turn challenged as they welcome back the one who was cast out and shunned.  The promises of resurrection and liberation were not simply a distant heavenly promise, but an incarnational reality here and now. (back to our Vision)