Clarity is critical for healthy relationships. Lack of clarity can lead to disappointment, disorientation, and disequilibrium. For a while, I’ve come to realize that we have some core beliefs that govern and shape our church community and ministry that we need to make more clear and easy to find. When folks are checking out our church, there are some things they want to know beyond our basic doctrinal beliefs (you can find them here). 

The Elders and Executive Team decided it was time to clarify some core beliefs that shape our church. We believe our statement of belief is non-negotiable for unity in our church. While we believe our core beliefs are biblical, we also understand that not every Christian will agree with these beliefs exactly as stated below. 

Why do we need to add these core beliefs to our statement of faith? The simple reasons are clarity and transparency. When people are looking or searching for a church, they will often look at a church’s statement of belief and core values. Adding the core beliefs makes it easier for folks searching to see if Pantano would be a good fit for them. These core beliefs are often the questions we get when folks visit Starting Point or attend our Discover class and are looking “under the hood” of our church. 

Are these core beliefs new? No, these beliefs or values are not new. They already exist in various places like our core values, marriage policy, the elder’s policy regarding women in ministry, and our All In partnership. We’ve just collected them in one place so folks can find them more easily.

Core beliefs that shape who we are as a church community and define how we do ministry:

  • We seek first the kingdom of God. Being kingdom first drives us beyond our own church community. We strive to join God wherever He is at work to advance the kingdom of God and his influence. We are an externally focused church that is not church-centric, but kingdom-centric. (Matthew 4:17; 6:10, 33; 28:18-20) 
  • God created his church to be both unified and diverse (gender, race, generations, and socioeconomic status), which best reflects the heart of God and the way of Jesus. (John 17:20-23; Romans 12:16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; Revelation 7:9-10) 
  • God created sex to be practiced in the context of marriage. God ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and God himself. Therefore, we recognize biblical marriage to be between a biological man and a biological woman as given at birth. (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:1-12; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5-8) 
  • Women may minister, serve, lead and teach in any and all ministry positions, contexts, and roles except one, that of elder. Specifically, women may be ordained, serve as pastors and perform pastoral ministry, teach in groups of mixed genders of any size or location, and lead departments or programs of the church. (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28; Romans 16:1-16)
  • Jesus called his followers to be all in and focus on making disciples of Jesus. It begins with ourselves. Being “All In” means that we are growing to be like Jesus, reaching lost people, helping others to be like Jesus, sharing life together, serving, and being generous with our time, talents, and treasures. Worship services at Pantano are designed to both reach lost people (Luke 15) and inspire believers to put the Word of God into action (James 1:22-25). True discipleship happens best in the context of a small group. (Matthew 4:19; 16:24; 28:18-20; Luke 6:38; Acts 2:42-47; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Peter 3:15; 4:8-11)

I hope this brings more clarity to the unique nature of the church we love called Pantano.

Glen Elliott

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