The City of the Living God @ Lakewood
Mission and Values
The City of the Living God @ Lakewood takes its inspiration from Ezekiel 34:16 “I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed.
Our ultimate goal is to glorify God¹ and be led by the Spirit² in all we do, wherever he leads.
We do not want to be driven by cultural values or programs but by the Holy Spirit. We believe that God is most glorified when we focus all we do on the living Christ and the Gospel of Christ found in the Scriptures³. We believe God is glorified and desires to work through the prayer of his people.
We strive for our corporate worship to be God-honoring, Christ-centered, biblically saturated, Spirit-led, reverent and joyful¹.
In worship we should get a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ², be shepherded, taught, exhorted and encouraged with the gospel as our primary focus in our corporate worship time.
As in all we do, we must plan our corporate worship constantly asking the question; will God be pleased with and honored by this? All our lives should be an act of worship³ and corporate worship is more than singing.
All that takes place when God’s people gather to worship him (Scripture reading, preaching, silence, prayer, testimonies, the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, etc.) should be done with Christ-centered reverence and joy.
The Great Commission
We believe that the local church should have evangelism and missions, and service (especially to the poor) as major priorities in financial commitments, training, prayer and teaching.
Our commitment to missions and evangelism grows out of our desire that God be increasingly glorified by the nations he has created¹.
Currently, our missions budget is 25% of our overall budget, which enables us to partner with our missionaries spread throughout the United States. We seek to serve and reach our community through our small groups as well as outreach opportunities.
We believe that preaching and teaching should be biblically based and primarily ex-positional, theologically instructive, and intended to help us to love God and others more and make us more like Jesus.
We desire to preach the word with clarity, conviction, boldness and most of all the anointing of the Holy Spirit¹. We strive to see that our preaching and teaching point us to God and teach us how to live out our faith in our daily lives.
Personal Bible study and prayer and our small group sermon-based discussions are our primary means in applying the Word to our lives.
Because we revere God’s word and seek to obey its commands², we like to begin preaching series with a reading service where we read through the book to be preached, and end it with a reflection service in which the Attendees share what God has taught them through the series. We also like to integrate the main message of the passage to be preached into the entire fellowship service.
The Priesthood of All Believers
The priesthood of all believers¹ is a major theological commitment for us.
We seek to have every person in our ministry fellowship ministering by exercising their specific gifts and thereby fulfilling their amazing privilege of being part of God’s royal priesthood.
Every member of our ministry fellowship should function as a minister. Therefore, Discipleship, training and leadership development are high priorities at Robert McAuthor Ministries.
We believe the New Testament teaches a plurality of elders as the model of church leadership¹.
Along with our commitment to the priesthood of all believers we also recognize the need for strong, Spirit-led, biblically instructed elder leadership under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
However, the elders are not the only shepherds at Robert McAuthor Ministries. We want to see all those with pastoral and teaching gifts using them regularly.The leaders of our small groups function as pastors of their small flocks within our church.
We believe pastors/elders should function primarily as shepherds who emphasize the ministry of the word, prayer, discipleship and the spiritual health of God’s people. They are not primarily administrators, managers, etc.
Under elder leadership, we seek to make decisions in the church by prayerful consensus and leading of the Holy Spirit, rather than by one person’s authority or by congregational voting¹.
The New Testament does not picture the church as a dictatorship or a democracy. Biblical images used to describe the way a church functions are a family or body where each member is necessary and valuable but with distinct functions.
To reflect the diversity of the body of Christ around the world, we desire our fellowship be intentionally inter generational and diverse. The church is a community which has Jesus Christ as our head.
Our shared faith in Christ, not our common interests, hobbies or personalities is the primary basis of our fellowship¹. We want our fellowship among believers as integrated as possible.
We believe that believers of all ages, walks of life, races, and spiritual maturity should be developing relationships. Therefore we strive for our corporate worship and small groups to reflect the beautiful diversity of the family of God.
The church in America is sadly segregated by race and socioeconomic status. Therefore we believe that is a mistake to further segregate our already segregated churches when we walk through the church doors.
This also means that intentional special interest groups (i.e. singles, college, young marrieds, or senior citizens) will not be our primary focus. This is especially true of our many college students who need and want to spend time with non-college students when they are involved with the local church.
This also means we do not desire to divide the congregation with worship services that target particular styles or tastes (e.g. contemporary or traditional).
Children and Youth
Our children’s and youth ministries are a major priority for us and we therefore devote a significant percentage of our resources there¹.
Children should be taught the Bible, and their spiritual development should be thoughtfully and creatively fostered.
We want our ministry fellowship to run well and we want all we do to be done with excellence¹, but we never want our ministry fellowship to feel like it is an impersonal machine. We don’t want to create and maintain programs that will only serve to make our lives more hectic.
We desire that our often busy lives in the community be increasingly God-centered, contemplative, peaceful and loving. We do not desire busy lives, but kingdom-focused, wise, Spirit-led abundant lives satisfied in God and giving honor to his gracious holy name.