We hesitate to even put this kind of stuff on our website. Frankly, we suspect that the only people who actually read the “Values” section of a church website are people who are looking for ideas for the “Values” section of their own church website.  Plus, regardless of what we write here, the only real way to figure out what’s important to us is by visiting us.  Worship with us. Come to one of our home groups. Serve with a Grace Central ministry team.  Take our website content manager out to lunch.  (ok, I threw that one in just for me.  Seriously, though, if you want to buy me lunch my schedule is open). 

If you’re still reading, here they are. We’ve got five.

Live The Gospel

We believe in the centrality of the Gospel.  This means we believe the ancient message of Jesus Christ is not only the power of God to save the whole world from everything that’s wrong with it, but it’s also to be the central organizing principle of our lives as well.  The Gospel message, the good news about Jesus Christ’s perfect life, sacrificial death, resurrection from the dead, and his ascent into heaven - this message is the reason we exist as a church.  It is this message which has given us birth as a people, and it is this message we are called to believe, embody, and even speak into the lives of those around us. It is the love and sacrifice of Christ which gives us the courage to face our true sins and the darkness of our own hearts.  We are convinced that only this Gospel has the power to transform lives, hearts, cities, and even the whole world. Yes, we’re quite aware how crazy this all sounds.

Love The City

We believe in the priority of the city.  This means we believe the urban centers of our world are strategic places for seeing transformation grip our world in powerful ways.  The cities are the centers of industry and thought.  The urban areas are the places where art and diversity are perpetuated.  It is in the cities where we see the very rich and the very poor living in such close proximity.  It is in the cities of our world that culture is created and radiates out into all of society.  From its very earliest days, Christianity was an urban movement. It continues to be so to this day. And while we believe all cities are valuable and strategic for the spread of the good news, Columbus is our city.  This is the city where we live and work and study.  This is the city we call home.  We love Columbus.  And so does Jesus.  And we sort of have a hard time relating to people who don’t.  You should probably pray for us.

Seek the Kingdom

We believe in the presence of the Kingdom.  We believe the Kingdom of God is here.  We believe that God’s plan to set things right and to bring justice to the world has already been set in motion through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This plan for the way things could be, the way they ought to be, and for the way they one day will be is already coming to fruition in the here and now. This is what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.  Our goal is to step in line with what God is already doing in the world.  We want come alongside God where he is already doing amazing things and we want to be a part of it.   And we don’t want to make the mistake of thinking the Kingdom only arrives when our church puts its stamp of approval on some project or program.  Sometimes it’s easy for a church to forget that the Kingdom of God was in motion long before we were ever here and it will continue to grow and expand long after we’re gone. The Kingdom is subversive and seldom looks quite like we expect.  If we aren’t intentional about seeking the Kingdom of God, we could miss a lot of what God is doing around us every moment and in every place.

Do the Mission

We believe in the imperative of the mission.  This means we believe that Jesus charged every Christian with the task of speaking his good news into the lives of others and demonstrating the veracity of that message by living consistently with it. We certainly don’t believe in belligerent arm-twisting or guilt-tripping.  We’re not into high-pressure sales pitches or gimmicky marketing ploys.  But we do believe in bumper stickers.  Lots and lots of religious bumper stickers.   So what does this mean, then?  Well, it means that we don’t fall easily into a category. We’re not the hard-sell evangelist types.  But neither do we subscribe to a live-and-let-live policy of belief. Basically, doing the mission means we’re called to show and tell others the good news of Jesus Christ.  But it also means we’re called to do it in a way that is consistent with that message.  This means with love, respect, and humility.  It means we ought to be as eager to listen as we are to speak.  It means we’re called to some strange and paradoxical concoction of boldness and humility.  Boldness, because we’re confident in the sufficiency of the gospel and the grace of God, but humility because we know our own capacity to be hard-headed, and we know there’s lot’s of stuff we don’t know.  By the way, you realize we're just joking about the bumper stickers, right?

Be The Church

We believe in the necessity of the local church.  This means we believe that the local church, as it exists in particular congregations of people, is an essential part of God’s plan to transform the world and save it from everything that is wrong with it. Now this, of course, is quite ironic, as the church has been at various times throughout history, exactly what’s wrong with the world!  We know, we know.  But you see, we believe it is exactly at those times that the church stopped believing what it is she was called all along to believe.  (See Point 1 above!)  It’s as a community of people in a local congregation begin to live out the message of Jesus together, and demonstrate it in their relationships with others, and speak it into the lives of those around them, that the world begins to change, person by person, home by home, city by city.  The answer is for the church is to hold more consistently to the message and example of Jesus, not less!   Quite simply, we still believe it’s the local particular congregation that has been given the task of being the voice and hands of Christ in this world.  This is kind of scary to think about because, quite frankly, we’re a mess.  But God is pleased to do great things through messed up people.  That’s kind of his specialty.

The Grace Central Mission

Our Mission is to make gospel-centered Christian disciples for post-Christian cultures by planting new congregations in central Columbus, where the religiously disenfranchised are given space to experience the grace of God in deeply meaningful and transformative ways. 

That’s kind of long and wordy.  Let’s break it down.  

Our Mission is to make gospel-centered Christian disciples for post-Christian cultures…

At the end of his ministry, Jesus explicitly gives his followers their mission.  He said to go and make disciples.  So there you go.  Our calling as a Christian church is to make disciples of Jesus.  A disciple is a student, a follower, a believer who is actually trying to live consistently with the message she believes. And specifically, we want to make disciples of Jesus who are equipped to engage cultures and subcultures that are increasingly post-Christian. 

By planting new congregations in central Columbus…

Starting new churches and congregations is not just a goal for us.  It’s our intention to make starting new churches and congregations the very context and process by which we find ourselves increasingly discipled to Christ.  

Where the religiously disenfranchised are given space to experience the grace of God in deeply meaningful and transformative ways.

We know lot’s of people who aren’t connected to a community of faith for one reason or another.  We’ve got a hunch that some of those people would be willing to give church involvement a chance if they encountered a church community that seemed not only to understand where they were coming from, but even valued the perspectives they brought to the conversation.  We think lots of people are asking questions of a spiritual nature and would appreciate a church where they could find the space to think, to pray, to explore, to listen and to eventually decide what the ancient Christian faith might mean for them. We’d like to be that sort of place.  We want to create spaces for people to experience the grace of God in worship, in studying scripture, in relationships with other people on their own spiritual journeys.  We want to create space for people to serve their community, to make new friendships, to ask questions without fear of judgment and to be themselves as they wait to see if God is going to show up.  We’re willing to bet that if you hang around Grace Central long enough, you’ll begin to see God’s grace at work in the lives of people around you. You may even be surprised to find his grace at work in your own life, as well.

The Grace Central Vision

Our dream is to plant a congregation like Grace Central in each recognizably distinct neighborhood in the city of Columbus. Not only that, but we believe each of these new congregations ought to hold fast to the ancient message of God's grace and at the same time each of them ought to have the unique look and feel of the distinctive community in which it is situated.