Our values & beliefs
The Avenue Church exists to glorify God by making disciples who bring the renewing beauty of Jesus to brokenness.
Radical gospel renewal in our lives, church, and city.
This is what defines and shapes who we are and who we are becoming.
WELCOMING FAMILY (Jesus prays for this) - God invites His people to be a countercultural family of beloved sons and daughters (Gal 4:4-7). Therefore, by His grace:
We will pursue healthy, life-giving relationships with each other.
We will seek to build a racially, generationally, and culturally reconciled family.
We will make room for others’ perspectives, feelings, stories, and rhythms to be different than our own.
We will work to ensure that there are no truly needy among us.
We will always assume the presence of non-Christian guests and welcome them into our family with respect, hospitality and love.
FAITHFUL PRESENCE (Jesus is making all things new) - God invites His people to be a counterculture that seeks the peace and prosperity of the city (Jer. 29:4-7). Therefore, by His grace:
We will join God in the renewal of broken souls, relationships, neighborhoods, industries, and institutions.
We will seek to change our city by changing our dinner tables.
We will reconnect our work to God’s work and serve faithfully, creatively, and redemptively.
We will live simply to give generously.
LIFE-GIVING HUMILITY (Jesus models this) - God invites His people to be a counterculture of self-forgetfulness (Phil 2:3-11). Therefore, by His grace:
We will cling dependently to God and His Word for our identity, desires, and ethics.
We will pray desperately and expectantly.
We will graciously own and use our God-given gifts for the benefit of others.
We will take God seriously, but we won’t take ourselves too seriously.
We will rest in God’s grace by receiving God-given limitations as opportunities.
CONTAGIOUS AUTHENTICITY (Jesus comes for the sick) - God invites His people to be a countercultural who confess their shortcomings and failures (1 Jn 1:5-2:2). Therefore, by His grace:
We will confess and confront the brokenness in our own souls first.
We will define ourselves more by God’s love and holiness than our wounds and brokenness.
We will step toward the gritty reality of a community of sinners & sufferers.
We will reject cynicism and live with growing happiness in Christ.
We will embody a grace that is both truthful and loving.
CATALYTIC EMPOWERMENT (Jesus activates the priesthood of believers) - God invites His people to be a counterculture of servants who share power and influence (Matt. 20:25-28). Therefore, by His grace:
We will activate the gifts, calling, and voice of every person in our community.
We will redefine leadership as service living with a “last will be first” mentality.
We will share power to spread dignity, prosperity, and authority for our neighbors.
We will pursue excellence by doing the best we can with what we have.
We will build people who work for the common good.
Statement of faith
The Avenue Church is a local nondenominational church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We believe “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1.1-3).
With Jesus Christ as our Greatest Treasure and sure foundation, we stand in unity with the historic Christian church and believe the Apostles’, Nicene, and Chalcedonian Creeds accurately represent Scripture. We also come from Protestant, Reformed, and Evangelical traditions which influence our beliefs, practices, and distinctives.
The following is a summary of our core beliefs.
1. The Bible, God’s Holy Word
The Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the infallible Word of God, verbally inspired by Him, and without error in its original manuscripts. It reveals truthfully His nature and man’s, His redemptive purpose in His relationship with humanity, and points ultimately to Jesus Christ as man’s Redeemer. All believers are encouraged to diligently study the Bible and apply its teaching, carefully interpreting it according to its grammar and syntax, cultural and historical setting, and genre and placement in God’s redemptive history. The Bible is “living” in that, along with the Holy Spirit, it informs and transforms those who read its pages. It is the supreme authority and standard in all matters of Christian life, faith, and conduct, and needs no change, addition, or deletion. Every creed, confession, doctrinal statement, or theology must be tested by and yield to the full counsel of God’s Word.
Psalm 1; 19.17-11; Matthew 5.18; John 8.31-32; 2 Timothy 3.16-17; Hebrews 4.12-13; 2 Peter 1.20-21
2. God, The Trinity, and Creation
There is one true God, existing eternally as one essence in three persons—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Each member of the triune Godhead is fully and equally divine, possessing the same glorious attributes, worthy of the same worship, honor, and praise, and exercising distinct but harmonious offices. In His triunity, God created the world out of nothing and holds it together and sustains it by His word and power. The Trinity is a great mystery, confounding the wise and moving the worshiper to greater awe and experience of God.
Genesis 1.1-2, 26; Matthew 28.19; John 1.1,3; 10.27-33; Ephesians 1.3-14; 4.5,6; Colossians 1.17
A. God the Father
God the Father is creator of heaven and earth, and He reigns sovereignly over all His creation in perfect love, holiness, wisdom, knowledge, and power. He directs human history according to the purposes of His grace, purposes which cannot be thwarted. God has exhaustive and infallible foreknowledge of all future events. He keeps every promise, hears and answers prayers, and is truly Father to those He adopts through His Son Jesus Christ, setting His affection upon them and welcoming them into intimate communion with Himself.
Genesis 1.1; Matthew 23.9; Luke 10.21,22; John 3.16; Acts 17.24-28; Romans 1.7; 1 Timothy 1.1,2; 1 Peter 1.3
B. God the Son
Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. He is fully God, having existed in eternal communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and through whom all things were created and are sustained. In His incarnation He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and became fully man while still fully God. By taking on human flesh, He completely identified with humankind, yet without sin. Though tempted in every way, Jesus lived, taught, worked miracles, and ministered in perfect obedience to the Father. In submission to God’s redemptive plan, Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate and died a substitutionary death for sinners. On the cross, He bore the sins of the world, satisfied the just wrath of God, defeated the powers of darkness, and obtained for all who believe in Him eternal redemption, forgiveness of sins, adoption into God’s family, and eternal life. He was physically resurrected three days later, appeared in bodily form to more than 500 witnesses over a 40-day period, and ascended to heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for His followers. Jesus will return in power and glory to judge the world and consummate His kingdom. He is the Head of His Body, the Church, and its foundation, and is to be loved, worshipped, served, and obeyed.
Matthew 1.18-25; Luke 1.26-38; John 1.1-3,14; Romans 9.5; 8.32; 1 Corinthians 15.1-9; 2 Corinthians 5.17-21; Galatians 3.10-14; Philippians 2.6-11; Colossians 1.15-20; Hebrews 4.14-16; 1 Peter 2.21-23; Revelations 22.12-13
C. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with and eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son, and is worthy of the same worship, honor, and praise. Along with the Father and the Son, He created the world, and now He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and exalts and glorifies Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. At the moment of regeneration, or new birth, the Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner’s heart, awakens him to repentance and faith, baptizes him into union with Christ, indwells him, effects his adoption as God’s child, and seals him for the day of redemption. He empowers the believer for witness, gifts him for service, enables His sanctification, and comforts Him in his spiritual journey. The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible making it true and living, and He illuminates those who read the Bible with rich understanding and profound life-change.
Genesis 1.1-2; Psalm 33.6-7; Matthew 3.11; John 1.12-13; 3.1-15; 14.15-21; 15.26; 16.7-11; Acts 1.8; 2.14-21; 4.23-31; Romans 8.4-11; 12.1-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Galatians 3.1-5; 5.16-26; Ephesians 1.13-14; 5.18-20; 6.17; 2 Timothy 3.16-17; 1 Peter 4.10-11; 2 Peter 1.20-21
3. Humanity, Gender, and Marriage
Humanity is the crown of God’s creation, made in His image and likeness. As God’s image-bearer, he possesses innate dignity and great worth. God created man to live in joyful communion with Him, to gaze in worshipful awe of His glory, to walk in trusting obedience to His benevolent care and counsel, and to faithfully steward all His creation. God created gender, making man both male and female, and declared it to be very good. He designed man and woman, not as interchangeable, but as complimentary equals to come together in the one-flesh union of marriage through which they would enjoy lifelong companionship, sexual intimacy, and family. God designed heterosexual monogamous marriage as the exclusive realm for sexual experience, and family as the essential social unit of civilization, both of which are to be esteemed, nurtured, and protected. God also ordained the principle of male headship in both the home and the church, and that certain leadership roles within the church, such as elder, are reserved for men. This complementary nature of gender and marriage points to Christ’s relationship with the church, where the husband leads in a way that displays the caring and sacrificial love Christ has for His bride, and the wife submits to her husband in a way that demonstrates the respectful devotion the church has for her Lord. Singleness in no way diminishes one’s dignity, worth, or place in God’s creation, but can afford one the ability to serve Christ with even greater rigor and sacrifice.
Genesis 1-3; Psalm 8; 51.1-5; Matthew 19.4-6; Romans 1.18-32; 13.13-14; 1 Corinthians 6.19-20; 11.2-16; 12.1-16; Galatians 3.28; Ephesians 5.3-14; 22-32; Colossians 3.18-19; 1 Thessalonians 4.1-8; 1 Timothy 1.8-10; 2.11-15; 3.1-7; Hebrews 13.4; 1 Peter 3.1-7; Revelation 5.9-10; 7.9-10
4. Sin, the Fall of Man
God created man to live in joyful communion with Him, morally upright and with free will, but through the temptation of Satan, Adam sinned against God and fell from his original state of intimacy, innocence, and freedom. Adam’s fall impacted his posterity--all mankind--who likewise are alienated from God, have a corrupted nature, and deserve God’s just wrath. In this fallen state, man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan and is helpless and hopeless, incapable even of turning to God apart from a special work of His grace. The greatest need of all mankind is to be redeemed from sin and its consequences and be reconciled to God, which God made possible through Jesus Christ and Christ alone. Given man’s unique creative status, and God’s gracious gift of His Son, even in his fallen state man is to be esteemed and respected impartially regardless of gender, race, class, creed, or other difference.
Scripture: Genesis 1-3; Romans 1.24-27; 3.9-18; 5.12-21; Galatians 3.28; Ephesians 2.1-3; James 2.1, 8-9
5. The Gospel, Salvation of Sinners
The Gospel, meaning good news, is God’s gracious plan to save sinners. It is centered in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Fully God and fully man, Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, lived a sinless life, died on a cross, was buried, and then raised three days later. His death on the cross was substitutionary in that He bore man’s sin and received God’s just wrath, and in exchange God offers free and full pardon to those who turn from sin and toward God (repentance) and trust in Christ as Savior and Lord (faith). Salvation is all of grace, or unmerited favor, a work of God which man neither deserves nor can earn. It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and includes regeneration, adoption, justification, sanctification, and glorification.
A. Regeneration. In regeneration, or new birth, the Holy Spirit touches the sinner’s heart, awakens him to repentance and faith, baptizes him into union with Christ, indwells him, effects his adoption as God’s child, and seals him for the day of redemption.
B. Adoption. God the Father adopts into His family those who trust in His Son for salvation. He sets His affections upon them, places His Spirit within them, and makes them joint heirs with Christ. Through adoption, one truly and fully becomes a child of God, and relates to God as Father.
C. Justification is God’s full pardon of the sinner, declaring him righteous in His sight, and bringing him into a relationship of peace and favor with God. It includes a double imputation: the believer’s sin and guilt are imputed to Christ on the cross while Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer through faith alone in Christ.
D. Sanctification is the state and process of the believer being set apart for God’s purposes and enabled to grow in Christlikeness. Essential to sanctification are the spiritual disciplines of worship, Bible study, prayer, community, and confession, through which the Holy Spirit works powerfully to purify the believer of sin, cultivate Christian character, and produce the fruit of the Spirit. Sanctification is progressive in this life, but not complete. The regenerate believer will struggle against sin, but victoriously so, and will persevere in their faith, practice ongoing repentance, and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
E. Glorification is the final and ultimate state of salvation where God gives the believer a glorified body, removes all vestiges of sin and brokenness, and ushers Him into full and eternal communion with Him.
John 1.11-13; 3.1-17; Acts 2.37-39; Romans 3.21-26; 5.1-2; 6-10; 6.1-23; 8.28-30; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 3.16-18; Galatians 4.4-7; Ephesians 2.8-10; 1 Thessalonians 5.23; Titus 3.4-7; 1 Peter 1.13-19; Revelation 21.1-5
6. God's Sovereign Grace in Saving Sinners
The salvation of sinners is the gracious work of God from beginning to end. Before the foundation of the world, God the Father chose in Christ whom He would save, and in love predestined them for adoption as His children. No man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him, and those He calls, He also justifies and glorifies. All true believers will persevere in their faith until the end, sealed by the Holy Spirit and kept by the purpose and power of God through faith. God’s sovereignty does not diminish man’s responsibility to repent and believe the Gospel, and is consistent with the church’s responsibility to pray and evangelize which God ordained as means to accomplish His plan. In all, salvation is a glorious display of God’s power, wisdom, love, grace, and goodness, and moves the sinner away from boasting and toward humble and thankful praise.
John 1.12-13; 6.37-44; 10.25-30; 16.7-11; Acts 13.48; Romans 3.1-4.25; 8.1-17,31-39; 9.1-23; 10.8-10; Ephesians 1.1-14; 2.8-10; Philippians 2.12-13; Titus 3.3-7; 1 Peter 1.3-5
The church is a universal spiritual body with Jesus Christ as its authoritative and lifegiving head, and whose members include every regenerate believer of every age united through faith in Him and by His Spirit. The church is primarily local in its expression as an identifiable gathering of believers who assemble to worship and pray, to study God’s Word, to observe the ordinances of baptism and communion, to minister to one another, to hold one another accountable, to impact their community through service, and to work toward local and world evangelization. The church is to be led by God-called elders and deacons, with elders giving spiritual direction and deacons providing practical care. God has called every member of the church to be a priest, ministering before Him and to one another, vital to the healthy functioning of the church, and uniquely gifted to serve in ways which administer God’s grace and glorify His Name.
Matthew 16.17-19; 28.18-20; Luke 4.18; 21.1-4; Acts 2.42-47; Ephesians 3.14-21; 4.11-16; 1 Timothy 6.8; Hebrews 10.23-25; 1 Peter 2.4-5,9-10; 4.7-11.
Jesus Christ has given to His church two ordinances: communion and baptism.
Communion, also known as The Lord’s Supper, was instituted by Jesus during the Last Supper when Jesus declared the Passover bread and wine to represent His body and blood. When we partake of communion, we remember Christ’s sacrifice, anticipate His return, and draw nearer spiritually to Him and to other believers. Communion is only for those who profess faith in Christ and are faithfully following Christ, and is to be taken sincerely and circumspectly.
In the Great Commission, Jesus instructed that all who follow Him should be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is required for church membership.
The Avenue Church practices both infant baptism and believer’s baptism. Infant baptism is the sprinkling of water on a young child of a believing parent in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, symbolizing the child’s inclusion in the church. Infant baptism does not provide salvation for the child, but rather looks forward in grace-filled hope to a day when that child will be drawn by the Spirit to personally receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Believer’s baptism is the immersion of a professing believer in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through being submerged into the water and raised back out, baptism symbolizes the believer’s faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the believer’s own death to sin, burial of the old life, and experience of new life in Christ. Baptism does not provide salvation for the believer, but publicly declares and demonstrates his faith in and union with Christ. It also formally marks the person’s inclusion in the church.
9. The Mission of the Church
Before His ascension Jesus gave to His followers a Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. This mandate includes proclaiming the Gospel to all people on earth, baptizing those who believe, teaching them the words and ways of Jesus and how to follow Him, and gathering them into churches to further this mission. The aim of evangelism, discipleship, and missions is to join God in redeeming for Himself a people out of all the earth who will worship Him for all eternity. All followers of Jesus are to pursue this privilege and responsibility with great intention and passion until Jesus returns. Zeal for this relies on a heart transformed by the Holy Spirit, filled with love for God and others, compelled toward obedience out of that love, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 12.1-3; Matthew 28.18-20; Acts 1.8; 2.1-12; 4.31; Romans 10.13-15; Ephesians 3.1-11; Revelation 4-5; 21.1-8
10. The Kingdom of God, and Society
The Kingdom of God is both universal and individual. Universally, God is sovereign over His creation, and though Satan has limited reign and sin limited ruin, God is at work to fulfill His purposes and plans. God’s Kingdom is individual in those who are born again as citizens of His Kingdom through childlike faith in Jesus Christ. Joyfully yielding to God’s rule, they seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, praying and working toward His good and perfect will being done on earth. Compelled by a love for God and man, and governed by God’s Word, Christians are salt in a world of decay and light in its darkness, and engage sinful brokenness, not to become one with it but to bring Christ’s renewing beauty to it. As such, believers serve the least of these--the hungry and thirsty, the stranger and poor, the sick and prisoner. They work to free those in bondage from whatever enslaves them—human trafficking, substance abuse, pornography, injustice. They advocate for the voiceless—the unborn, the orphan, the widow, the aged. In all this, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is kept first and foremost, for it is only through the Gospel that man’s heart is changed. The full consummation of God’s Kingdom will be realized when Jesus Christ returns.
Micah 6.8; Matthew 6.1-33; 25.24-40; Luke 4.16-21; John 3.1-16; Acts 2.45; 6.1; 2 Corinthians 9; Galatians 3.26-29; Philemon, James 1.27; 2.1-8
11. The End of All Things
In a day and hour known only to God, Jesus Christ will return to earth, personally, physically, visibly, and gloriously. The dead will be raised, and all men will be judged. Jesus will assign the unrighteous, along with Satan and his angels, to eternal conscious punishment in hell, fully and forever separated from God and all that is good. He will assign the righteous, who are declared so by faith in Him, to eternal enjoyment in His presence. They will receive their glorified bodies, their eternal rewards, and will forever worship and serve Him. The heavens and earth will be made new, sin and its effects eternally banished, and God’s people united with and enthralled in Him forever and ever.
Matthew 24; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11; Revelation