As a church, we value Encounter. In other words, we engage in a heartfelt and thoughtful pursuit of our ever-present God.
Heart-felt: sometimes, God needs to communicate things to us, and we need to communicate things back to God that can’t be expressed in any other way but through emotions, sensory experiences, poetry, symbol, and song. Perhaps we have built up cerebral barriers which leave no room for the reality of God. What if God wants to encounter us in a way that is undeniable?
Thoughtful: some people need to know that they can trust the people who have created the worship environment before they can open themselves up to forms of worship that are more emotional and passionate and right-brained. In a post-Christian culture, we can’t assume that people have a rich religious background to draw from to give them context and meaning, and so we need to take time to regularly explain what we are doing in worship, and why we are doing that. We need to give them a structure, based in Scripture, that creates the mental boundaries that allow them room to play in God’s Presence.
Pursuit: a church community's leadership is responsible to remind people that the life of knowing God is a pursuit and a journey. It’s a relationship that has a destination: Jesus has opened up the way for us to know and experience life to the fullest. He wants to introduce us to the ones that he calls “Father” and “Spirit.” This is a journey that doesn’t have a final destination because it’s a relationship, and relationships are always going deeper. Jesus wants us to know that there is always more to know of God, and God is always calling us deeper and closer.
Ever-Present God: the modern world has left no room for the reality of God. It’s not that God is dead, it’s that we don’t have eyes to see and ears to hear the voice of our Creator, and so we live our lives as if God is dead. But the biblical story is full of people who discovered that God is ever-present, even if we are unaware. In worship, community, and spiritual practices, we want to create space for people to encounter the Living God. As a church, we will train our eyes, ears, and hearts to recognize God's presence wherever we find ourselves.
(See: God Was In This Place & I, I Did Not Know, by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner; The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard; The Shattered Lantern, by Ronald Rolheiser; The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer; and Knowing God, by J.I. Packer)