When someone walks into our church off the street and wonders what type of church we are, our hope is for that person to quickly realize what we find worthwhile. What we value is written on our walls, but we hope those values are far more than cool decorations and phrases reminiscent of a modern art gallery. Our values come out in the way we gather, the way we serve, the way we live in relationship with each other, and the way we live among those that don’t follow Jesus.
These values wouldn’t make it into an innovative church magazine. They aren’t earth-shattering and trendy, but they are life-altering and timeless. If you read them all together, you might think, “Hey, Veritas is just like every other church.” Honestly, that would be a wonderful comment, but unfortunately, not all churches embrace these values. Now, let me be clear, if a church has different stated values, that doesn’t mean they don’t value the same things we’ve tried to communicate clearly. They simply may state them differently. Ultimately, our hope is to communicate enduring values that would quickly and effectively help people realize the type of church we are.
Our first value is “Gospel.” It is simply the good news. The good news that when we were dead in our sins and trespasses, Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life that we couldn’t live, died a death that we deserved to die, and rose from the dead to give us new life. It’s the good news that leads to our salvation and the lens by which we approach all of life. The Apostle Paul said it this way, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). The gospel is what we preach, what people receive, what saves people, and is the truth we stand on daily. At Veritas, we state it this way: “We believe the greatest news in the world is not what we have done for God, but what God has done for us in Christ. Therefore, we place a high value on this good news shaping everything we do.”
In his book Gospel 101, Jeff Dodge writes about this good news and says, “It is news, a message we are to proclaim to all people. And it is good because the King in whose realm we live is coming and he wants us to know him and enjoy him forever. This news is not just informational, it anticipates action” (Gospel 101, p. 12). Here are a few ways that the gospel influences our actions at Veritas:
The gospel shapes how we counsel people in difficult shepherding situations.
The gospel shapes our strategy to impact our city.
The gospel shapes how we preach and apply our sermons.
Ultimately, the gospel humbles us by reminding us that Veritas is nothing apart from the work of Christ.
The term “gospel” has had a resurgence in recent Christian culture. Our churches have become “gospel-focused,” “gospel-centered,” and “gospel-oriented.” This is a great thing! Unfortunately, like anything in any culture, a sharp increase in popularity can lead to a sharp increase in overuse. Then, overuse can lead to watered-down meanings. Eventually, watered-down meanings lead to decreased understanding and use of what was popular becomes extinct (until 30 years go by and what had become uncool becomes cool all over again...hello 1990’s).
At Veritas, may we never let “the gospel” go extinct. May it never even become endangered. May we never cease to let it shape every single thing we do. May we hold true to the Apostle Paul’s words to the Romans and say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).
So what kind of church is Veritas? We are a church that values the gospel, because it has transformed us and is the only thing that will transform our city and world. Veritas isn’t about Veritas. We’re all about God’s kingdom where Jesus reigns as King. That good news shapes who we are and how we minister to those around us.