Times have changed how we view things we once considered safe. Every day, in the news, we are sadly reminded things are not as safe as we once thought. The schools, local hospital, the food we eat, the toys we play with have proven themselves not to be safe anymore. Children have been abused in our schools, patients infected with diseases caught in the hospital, food tainted with salmonella and toys made with lead. Unfortunately even churches have fallen victim to this alarming trend. The abuse scandals rocking the church are tragic and unnerving.
At Central we recognize the urgent need to assure everyone who visits our church for just one time or makes it their home that Central is a secure place, a safe church. Our vision statement reads: The vision of Central is to create a safe church that provides a healthy and nurturing environment for seekers and believers to grow toward becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. This is more than a cute slogan for us. Here is what it means.
- All people matter to God. Everyone is welcome and accepted as a child of God, regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey.
- Jesus must be the focus of all we teach and practice. It is not about doctrine or church policy, but about a relationship with Jesus. Jesus alone saves, not anyone or anything else.
- Church is to be a fellowship of unconditional love and acceptance. Without passing judgment we accept all people and allow the Holy Spirit to take them where they need to be.
- We value authenticity in our relationships. We strive to be real, not phony. We do not believe in masks or games but being who we truly are in Christ.
- We value truth-telling in love; not lies, rumors or gossip.
- Grace must reign supreme in a safe church. We are all sinners and will fail. At that time we need grace, not condemnation. We believe this is what Jesus modeled in all His relationships with broken, fallen people.
- We realize that obsession with how people look is a human trait that is hard for us to break. So we place the emphasis on the heart, not outward appearance. Only God knows the heart.
- A safe church does not cater to one socio-economic group or religious persuasion. The young and old are welcome, rich and poor are equal, conservatives and liberals sit in the same pew, blacks and whites serve side by side.
- In a safe church the Bible is preached, not the traditions of man or the customs of churches.
- Finally, in a safe church everyone is invited to share in the life and ministry of the church. Ministry is not just for the paid professional. We believe in the giftedness of all believers.
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