We believe that the light of the poor and oppressed weighs heavily on the heart of God. “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because he has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor…” (Luke 4:18a)
We believe that inner-city men are the most broken element in society and, at the same time, are the key to the growth of any church that ministers there. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
We believe that the church is indispensable to the evangelization and preservation of the poor and oppressed. “…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
We believe that evangelism offers the only hope to anyone, and especially the poor and oppressed. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)
We believe that youth and children are critical areas of focus and are God’s means of avoiding a short-lived ministry. “Jesus said, the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
We believe that the Lord has called us into service to relieve suffering. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10)
We believe that the Lord commands us to blanket everything we experience with prayer. “pray continually;” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
We believe in the efficacy of strong families. “…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
WE HAVE A DREAM
“I Have a Dream…”
With those words, Martin Luther King forty-six years ago launched into one of the finest addresses in the history of American rhetoric. And God has given us at this merged church a dream no less lofty.
We have a dream that every person walking in here will feel accepted, affirmed, admired, applauded, and acclaimed by Jesus Christ and His people-they’d feel it down to the soles of their feet-even if they feel it at no other place during their week.
We have a dream that our baptistery would never lay empty, that every Sunday people would be baptized-and not by the pastors or elders but by the very individuals who led them to Christ. In fact, we have a dream that every person in church would know how to evangelize and would do it-over and over.
We have a dream that no matter what has been said about the inner-city-or about inner-city refugees who have been displaced to the new suburban ghettos-that Jesus Christ would do monumental things for them which no other power on earth could come close to.
We have a dream that the most elusive evangelistic target in America, inner-city males, would cram into our church whenever the doors open; and stream out into the world to bring even more males back in.
We have a dream that every father would worship with his children, in church and at home-and that every man would marry his woman.
We have a dream that Browns, Blacks, Reds, Yellows, and Whites, old and young, urban and suburban, would worship under one roof, as one body.
We have a dream that parents would learn how to give their children the love and discipline they never received themselves.
We have a dream that the age-old skepticism about marriages-especially inner-city marriages-would succumb to a new reality: fabulously successful relationships that are helped at the first sign of trouble.
We have a dream that every believer in our church would know his or her gifts and use them.
We have a dream that graduation rates would spiral off the charts and that every child would be tutored-daily.
We have a dream that no one here ever gets in debt, but if someone does, it wouldn’t be for long.
We have a dream that every New Life believer would be comfortable with the Bible and bring it to church for every service.
We have a dream that every one of our believers would leave a job only because the Lord has opened the door to a better one.
We have a dream that a generational curse of prison confinement ends with this generation; that killings end with this generation; that child and spousal abuse end with this generation; that substance abuse ends with this generation.
How dare we dream such things about a people for whom society holds such little hope? Because we have been watching the Lord do amazing work through us and among them for thirty-five years.
Now we have a dream that He will do even more.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians, Chapter 3)
Written By Pastor Jack LaPietra
STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Word of God: We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original writings, complete as the revelation of God’s will for salvation, and the supreme and final authority in all matters to which they speak.
The Trinity: We believe in one God, Creator and Sustainer of all things, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that they are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct and harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence, and redemption.
God the Father: We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. He concerns himself mercifully in the affairs of men and women, hears and answers prayer, and saves from sin and death all who come to him through Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ: We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son, and has precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He is not only true God, but true Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. We believe in his sinless life, his substitutionary atonement, his bodily resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, his priestly intercession on behalf of his people, and his personal, visible, premillennial return from heaven.
Holy Spirit: We believe in the Holy Spirit, his personality and his work in regeneration, sanctification, and preservation. His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and implement Christ’s work of redeeming the lost and empowering the believer for godly living and service.
Humanity: We believe God created humanity, male and female, in the image of God and free from sin. We further believe all persons are sinners by nature and choice and are, therefore, spiritually dead.
Salvation: We believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This salvation is based upon the grace of God, was purchased by Christ on the cross, and is received through faith apart from any human merit, works, or ritual. We believe salvation results in righteous living, good works, and proper social concern.
The Church: We believe that the church is the spiritual body of which Christ is the head and is composed of all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This body expresses itself in local assemblies whose members have been immersed upon a credible confession of faith and have associated themselves for worship, instruction, evangelism, and service. The ordinances of the local church are believers’ baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper. We also believe in the interdependence of local churches and the mutual submission of Christians to each other in love.
Separation of Church and State: We believe that each local church is self-governing in function and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority. We also believe all men and women are directly responsible to God in matters of faith and life, and they should be free to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences.
Christian Conduct: We believe that the supreme task of every believer is to glorify God in life and conduct and be blameless before the world. Each Christian should be a faithful steward of all possessions and seek to realize in every area of life the full stature of maturity in Christ.