Helen Keller once said, “It’s a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” Vision offers not only hope and meaning but also joy and direction. Vision is an arrow that points us to tomorrow.
Our vision is:
- Mission. What are we doing?
- Motives. Why are we doing it?
- Map. How are we doing it?
- Marks. When are successful?
Mission – what are we doing?
At STF we desire to “create space for God’s grace to transform brokenness to wholeness in individuals, communities and the world.” There are both large and small group spaces that we have created that enable young and old, single and families towards increasing wholeness in Christ.
Whether that be our Sunday services, Sunday youth and children’s environments, Tuesday Singles Ministry, or Thursday night’s Celebrate Recovery we have large group environments designed to ,
Motives – why are we doing it?
Motives matter. Our vision will only become real if we continue to look into our own hearts. Those who choose only to look outside at the externals, dream. Those of us willing to look inside and acknowledge our capacity for lethargy, wake. Our vision is so important that we will constantly ask questions of our heart’s motives against three values:
- Value #1: Compassion
STF is a compassionate community because the need is so great.
Question to ask: Do I see the need?
- Value #2: Responsiveness
STF is a responsive community because the time is so late.
Question to ask: Do I see the priority?
- Value #3: Participation
STF is a participatory community because everyone needs to hear the Gospel.
Question to ask: Do I believe the Gospel?
Map – How are we doing it?
Vision without direction is like a flashlight with no power and sojourners with no compass. STF recognizes the importance of a map-driven and not a menu-driven ministry model. We desire to direct people towards God’s purposes for them through our commitment to three processes:
- Shepherding the Flock
- Spiritual Formation
- Leadership Development
As a church we are committed to excellence in each of these areas. We commit to shepherd people in community,
Key Question unanswered has been, “When are we successful?” What do we expect of Christians who call STF their Spiritual home to make us successful?” What are the marks of maturity; indicators that a person is moving from brokenness to increasing wholeness? When are we successful? The answer to all of these questions is when GRACE becomes evident in a person’s life. But how do we measure grace?
As we’ve sought the word for evidence of Grace in a believer’s life we see the following traits as measures or expressions of GRACE in the early church, especially in Acts 2:42-47.
Gathering Together Weekly
Every week over 1,750 people attend one of nine gatherings in six environments in addition to another 60 participating in services online via stfchurch.tv or our apps. The transforming work of Christ through STF has increased significantly in 2011-2012, but there is still much to be done. The global population topped 7 billion last year, which means that millions of people at home and abroad have never heard the name of Jesus.
We may be getting bigger, but we’re getting smaller, too. As a compassionate, responsive, and collaborative community, we eagerly desire to see God’s grace transform brokenness to wholeness. Our Faith Forward vision has mapped out the next five years. As a reproducing family, we will carry God’s Word to the masses, putting it in print, online, and on the screen (eBook, film, and song). We believe the sun will set on the mega-campus church but will continue to shine brightly on the multi-site church committed to sending people into the world. Mobilizing an army of Christ followers to go is the way that individuals, families, communities, and countries can be transformed by faith through God’s grace.
Relating to God Daily
Spiritual formation is the lifelong process of becoming more like Jesus – to live with the same love for God and love for people that Jesus did. Through Christ living in us, God wants to transform our lives from the inside out to restore us to be the image bearers he created us to be (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:28-29, 1 John 2:6, 3:2).
The good news for believers is that the Holy Spirit is expending effort in our lives to work out this process (Philippians 1:6). Partnering with God, there’s also effort that we need to bring to work out our salvation (not for it), in all the dimensions of life – how we relate, handle our finances, emotional health, etc. (Philippians 2:12-13). We are working to be more intentional about helping people to know God’s purposes of Christlikeness in their lives, and to equip people to evaluate and take the next step for growth, individually and in community. Being on this journey together – to pursue knowing Jesus and becoming like Him as a community of Christ followers—is at the heart of membership at STF.
Accepting Leadership Responsibility Annually
Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:2-4
For us, Biblical leadership is servant leadership expressed through a shepherding care for the flock. A church of our size and structure demands the development of an ever- increasing number of Christ-like leaders. We believe that leadership is at its best and most anointed when the load is shared and the responsibilities distributed amongst called, appointed leaders.
At STF, we make it our goal and motivation to develop Christ-like leaders who share in the responsibility of shepherding the flock and receive appointing (Ex. 18) and the anointing (Num. 11:16-30) for leadership. As we consider the future of STF, we believe that the future can only be built by pastors secure enough to release others to shepherd the flock with them. We will do this when we, like Moses, Peter and Paul before us, live as if we have nothing to hide, nothing to gain and nothing to lose! Then, and only then, will we empower and release other Leaders.
Connecting with Community Regularly
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24
Church must go beyond the 60-minute large gatherings. We rejoice that over two-thirds of those who gather with us are making the most of opportunities for support and encouragement through the week. God’s grace is changing lives.
Extending the Invitation Regularly
And Jesus came and said to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me . Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
The church is a gathering of the sent. Jesus challenged and commissioned his church to reach the world that surrounded them. As the face of the early church changed from exclusively Jewish to increasingly multi-ethnic, the command to ‘go into the world’ was understood to continue through the missionary journeys of Paul to the ‘ethne’ who had not heard.
Acts 1:8 affirms the importance of this command to the gathered disciples:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The church’s attitude to the ‘ethne’ is therefore central to an understanding of the final words of Jesus. At STF we are compelled to take His Gospel to the nations.