The Vision and Values of Highlands

Our VISION: “A redeemed community, reaching out…at the intersections of life and culture.” It makes such a difference to live life in a redeemed community. The grace and truth of Christ are freely received and freely given. It is accepting, affirming and relational. And we care about our world!

Highlands really wants to be a Christ-centered church that makes a difference in our area, state and the world. This redeemed community reaches out “at the intersections of life and culture.” We believe this happens, not just through what God leads us to do corporately (as a church), but also as individuals – in our spheres of influence.

We believe that every believer has callings from God to show His glory in these spheres of influence. Our vision also means and emphasis on planting new churches and deep involvement in world missions. This vision is challenging and thrilling to us!

Our Values: WTNR. Values are those core pillars that God has shown us in Scripture upon which He wants to build His church. The Values are fixed by Scripture. They never change.

Our biblical core values provide the framework that guides all we are and do as a congregation. Creativity is premium in gospel ministry, but it must never range beyond the desires and dictates of what Scripture teaches. God has spoken. He has spoken about his church. The following passage is a helpful “thumbnail sketch” showing us what is important to the Lord in His ministry. Once biblical values are determined and embraced, then creativity is virtually limitless within those boundaries.

Acts 2: 42-47 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

WORSHIP:

Worship means the development of hearts that look to God in reverence and praise. God’s glory demands hearts and minds that focus on his glorious attributes and his mighty works. A biblical theology of worship emphasizes both the Transcendence (that God is holy, and above and beyond his creation) and the Immanence of God (the transcendent God is with us through Jesus Christ, Immanuel). God is both ultimately great and gracious. This leads us to reverence before God and joyful praise to God.

This value of Worship develops a heart for corporate worship, and a heart for private worship.

Worship also affirms the centrality of prayer. We believe that worship is the heart of our new lives, the atmosphere of a Christian, and the atmosphere of heaven.

TEACHING:

Teaching means to communicate the truths of the Bible in such a way that people actually learn and apply them. Teaching is not just informative. Because it is empowered by the Holy Spirit and grounded in the Word, it is also transformative. God’s people should be lifetime learners with a goal not only to be “hearers” of the Word, but “doers” of it as well.

NURTURE:

According to the dictionary, “nurture” means “to promote the development of a person by providing nourishment, support, and encouragement during the stages of growth.” In our case, this involves personally attending to the care and development of people in Christ. It is ministering to the “whole person” – to people’s spiritual, emotional, and physical needs in the context of personal relationships.

REACHING:

Reaching means to take our place as partners in ministry together, seeking to be faithful to do our part in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to strengthen His church and extend His Kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel at home and abroad.

WTNR. No, they aren’t the call letters of a local radio station!

In fact, these four letters come from our four values here at Highlands (Worship, Teaching, Nurture, Reaching), and from the four elements of the process of discipleship through which we seek to grow in grace as a redeemed community. Though elements of all four values can be seen in everything we do as a church, each value finds primary expression in one of four vehicles of ministry here at Highlands. It’s simple!

W = Worship on Sunday Mornings

T = Teaching to the church on Wednesday Nights

N = Nurturing relationships that come through our Sunday Communities (during the Sunday School hour) and the events and small groups for men and women offered by our Men’s & Women’s Ministries.

R = Giving back to God, being a part of the great commission by serving in and through the church, and reaching out to the Jackson area through participation in one of our many Servant Teams.

In our fast-paced, busy, multiple choice world the church needs to be a place of relationship, learning and ministry. It’s hard to have relationship when the church offers 39 flavors of everything and expects people to choose among all those – all meeting on different days and times. The multiple-choice church produce a group of people who may be unified in their commitment to the organization, but are rarely actually with one another.

At Highlands, being the “redeemed community” means being together, and being together often .

  • The whole church will always be together Sunday mornings for worship.
  • We will also be together Wednesday nights for a common meal and the premier teaching time, not to mention all the time spent talking with each other around the edges!
  • Communities and small groups for men and women will serve to enhance our togetherness by enabling people to connect with fellow-travellers in their season of life and grow close to a few of the people that they see each Sunday and Wednesday.
  • Servant Teams of various shapes and sizes will allow people the opportunity to connect with others of like-interest and commitment as they serve the Lord, His people, and the world around them together.

Because we are only “at church” Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, there should be room for you to spend more time with your family, spend more time getting to know your neighbors or having other Highlands people over to get to know them, and participating with one of our many Servant teams as you are gifted and able. It’s simple!


The Path of Discipleship

WTNR challenges each of us to move from the largest group (worship), into increasingly smaller groups for fellowship, learning and service. It leads us from worship to the Wednesday night teaching time to a Sunday Community, to a small group and a ministry team.

We’ve designed this path to correspond with the way the Spirit of God has “hard-wired” us as believers.  We believe that God has created us to need five basic things:

1. The first need that He’s created in us is to CELEBRATE our redemption in Christ through times of corporate worship centered in the preaching and teaching of the Gospel.

2. The second need that we each possess is to CONNECT with like-minded believers with whom we can live out the calling to love and care for one another as we walk together through various seasons of life.

3. The third need that each of us as believers is designed to CONTRIBUTE to the health of the body and the growth of the Kingdom as we use our spiritual gifts in service to God and others.

4. The fourth need that we each possess is to GROW CLOSE to a smaller group of people who can come to know us well and with whom we can share our lives as we give ourselves to the work of becoming disciples of Christ.

5. Finally, we each possess the need to CLOSE THE CIRCLE by inviting others to join with us in this process of seeking the Lord.

Following this path is designed to lead us into greater and greater personal connection with the Lord and with one another.  If that’s true, then the question is:

What is your next step on Highland’s path of discipleship?

If you’ve begun to worship with us on Sundays and study with us on Wednesdays, the answer is to come an hour earlier to church and become part of one of our Sunday Communities. If you have become a part of a Sunday Community,  then your next move will be to find a ministry by which you can give back to God in a way that fits the way God has gifted and equipped you to serve. If you’ve begun to contribute your gifts of service to the life of the church, then your next step might be to join a small group of men or women who are studying the Scriptures and encouraging one another in their walk with Christ. And of course, all the while, you can seek to ‘close the circle’ by inviting a friend to church this Sunday.  It may just be the beginning of a process of discipleship they’ve needed for a long time! It could be the beginning of a new life in Christ!

It’s just that simple!

WTNR……church made simple, bringing us together for growth in grace – and into more meaningful relationship with one another and service to others in the name of Jesus.