Core Values

Listed below are our core values. Our overall emphasis is that we desire to be a community of people who holistically embrace God and every aspect of the life He has given us.

Ministries
Our incorporated name is Oasis Ministries. Oasis involves finding rest for our soul so that we might minister to others, hence the ministries portion of our name. In the New Testament, the words translated as “to minister” or “ministry” are often the same words used for deacon. These words carry with them the idea of service. Primarily, we are in the service of God, and next we are in the service of others. This harkens back to the two greatest commandments to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).

Service to God
We exist for God’s glory (I Corinthians 10:31; I Peter 4:11). Our primary goal is to glorify God, and God is glorified in the context of relationship with people. Since the creation of the human race, can you think of a time where God chose to glorify himself outside the context of human relationships? God created, and his creation exudes his glory. As part of his creation, we are called to exude his glory as well.

One way we glorify God occurs when we recognize our need for him. We need God. He is the giver and sustainer of all life. Therefore, we desire to cultivate our dependence on him and our awareness of that dependence.

God loves us and cares about us. We matter to him. God is alive and active in our lives. God demonstrates his love for us in many ways. One way God shows his love for us is by helping us grow. God created human beings to grow and change. We commend and promote growth and the process by which growth occurs. We want to invite each other to learn and grow.

Growth implies successes and failures. We want to share with each other both our successes and failures. Through all we do, we want God to be glorified.

Therefore, we will consider, how can we open ourselves further to God? How would he like to access my life—my thoughts, emotions and will? As we encounter God personally and through our community, we anticipate connection with others.

Service to Others
God has always used his people (from the very beginning of the human race through today) to make his name known and to bless others (Genesis 12:2-3). We are committed to an outward focus, a focus on others. We will love people; we will act in their best interest. In other words, we are committed to love others in a healthy manner.

As a community, we want to treat people holistically, as people not projects. We want to interact with people in an authentic manner. We will love people consistently, whether or not they ever come to Christ, whether or not they ever believe as we believe. We are committed to hearing the doubts, questions and struggles of others. We are committed to becoming effective listeners.

We desire to create an atmosphere where people glorify God through healthy interactions with others. We want to give of ourselves primarily out of a passion for God and a passion for people, not simply because we should or from a shame motivation. The book of Isaiah has much to say about our worship. When we give to God and others, we are to honor God both with our lips and our hearts (Isaiah 1; 29:13). Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 when he says in Matthew 15:7-9, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

Responding to God and others with the appropriate attitude is crucial to a life of worship. Authentic worship requires us to learn the art of becoming cheerful and responsible givers. Taking care of ourselves in a healthy manner is not the same as being selfish. There are times when we must say “no” to good things. We cannot meet all needs, but must ask God for conviction and wisdom in meeting the needs of others. We recognize our limitations and we give to others from a healthy position. We take care of ourselves so we can take better care of others.

Genuine Community
We wish to create a place where people can find others with whom to share their lives. These groups are relational reality groups, relational because they involve truly getting to know other people, reality because the groups are genuine and grounded in truth (reality).

In these groups, people are willing to know and be known. People will support each other, pray for each other, challenge each other, listen to each other and be there for each other. People may call each other, go out for lunch or a soda, meet in homes, meet at the gym or enjoy a hobby or interest together. The goal is to develop one or more meaningful relationship(s). Within the context of this relationship, significant aspects of each other’s lives are shared. Because these relationships are long term and allow for in-depth interaction, they also provide a safe environment in which to share. These relationships then provide the opportunity to relate to others in an honest, authentic and intimate way.

The danger here is to become exclusive in these relationships because they meet our needs. We need to continually ask, “Who has God placed in my life at this time?” We need to model openness in interacting with people. People are the ministry. Ministry isn’t necessarily what happens at church, but is what we do with people wherever we happen to be—work, play, church, sporting events, clubs, etc.

Worshipping Community
We plan to develop an eclectic worship style. The goal is two-fold: 1) to involve people as participants, not merely spectators. Freedom to share Scripture readings, songs, prayer, words of encouragement, art and poems is desirable. Freedom to raise hands, to not raise hands, to sit, to stand, to kneel would be encouraged. We need to think creatively together in new and fresh ways how we might involve people as participant-worshippers; 2) to introduce our community to a variety of cultures and worship styles. This relates to having a diverse group of people overall, but also includes our focus on ethnic diversity and a world perspective (mentioned later).

Praying Church
As part of being a worshipping community, we would like to be a praying people. One aspect of our dependence on God is demonstrated by our desire to pray. We want to be known as a praying people both individually and corporately. We recognize that God has called his people to prayer. We recognize that God uses our prayers to accomplish his will. The discipline of prayer is one we wish to continually develop. In prayer as well as in worship, we are open to a variety of methods and styles.

Ethnic Diversity
We will be intentional about ethnic diversity in our leadership and therefore in our church. The universal church will consist of people from every tribe and nation. Since we will be worshipping God together in heaven soon, why not get a preview of heaven now?

We will be open to God’s leading. What people group will he draw? Will we be willing to step outside our cultural norms for the sake of other brothers and sisters from other cultures? What if the congregation is less than 50% white? What if some worship styles are not to my liking? Will we be willing to take the time to get to know others and their cultural norms? Will we be willing to visit homes and eat together with those who are culturally different from us? This openness requires sacrifice from everybody involved.

World Perspective
We desire to be missions oriented, both at home and abroad. Again, we would like to introduce our congregation to different cultures, both domestically and abroad. We want to have a world-perspective. We want to think globally, providing our people opportunities to learn about the world, its cultures and history. If we interact with believers from other cultures, we will learn more fully about God. Different Christian cultures are likely to accentuate different aspects of God. For instance, in Guatemala the Deity of Christ is assumed and never questioned. The Deity of Christ would not need to be addressed. In the United States, however, the Deity of Christ may need to be defended against our modern backdrop of humanism.

Different cultures can resonate with particular Scripture passages. Again, a war-torn country reads the Psalms differently than most Americans who have lived their whole lives in relative peace. They may identify nuances in the text that you or I may not even notice. Our varied experiences can cause us to view the Scriptures differently. Incorporating people of varying backgrounds can help us understand God more fully.

Ministers—Everyone!
We are all ministers. The role of the pastor/elder is to equip the saints for the ministry and to facilitate the development of community. Sharing the pulpit and upfront responsibilities with others is one simple way to demonstrate this overall attitude. Ministry is not relegated to happenings in a building, and the building is not the church. The people are the church, and God has provided the church with what it needs to begin ministering to others now. We are each developing the gifts and talents God has given (an ongoing process), but no one should be precluded from ministering to others because they are “not prepared enough.”

Biblical Impact on People
We will present truth. We want our preaching/teaching and community to be reflective of one another. Both are genuine and relevant. Both reflect care and concern. Both invite people into relationship. When we read of Christ’s interactions with sinners,* Christ invites them to interact with him. Rarely does his invitation prompt defensiveness from his audience. He invites them and does not coerce them. He does not condemn them. Christ presents the truth to sinners through fresh avenues, through stories, through metaphors, through parables and by example. We desire this community to do the same; we will model the Christian lifestyle, live it amidst the people surrounding us. We want to be congruent, integrated people, the same people in worship, at work, at home and at play.

*Note the difference between the sinners and religious leaders of the day

Journey Invitation
Our desire is to invite others to participate in our community and to join us on our journey of becoming increasingly devoted to God. We wish to extend this invitation to others through our natural webs of relationships, inviting people to walk with us through life, exploring God and seeking his direction for our lives. We would like to touch people through the natural outgrowth of who we are. We interact with people, both listening and sharing. We address needs in people’s lives. We share with people both socially and spiritually. We approach God and life with an intellectual honesty, addressing tough questions and concerns from people. We admit when we don’t know answers to questions or fully understand God. We share our own stories and experience of God and his impact in our lives. We are process oriented, inviting people to join the community, to share our lives and to experience Christ together.

Wonder and Mystery
The Scriptures indicate to us that God is unchanging in his nature, yet he is notably unpredictable in his methods and in his interactions with us. God and his attributes have been revealed to us in Scripture, yet we are ever learning more about who God is and how he operates. We recognize that God, this life and this world are all too profound and complex to be reduced to simplistic formulas or to be neatly packaged and cataloged in boxes. God, the Bible and life cannot be reduced to a list of predictable principles on how to make life work. Mystery does not imply that we cannot know some things with certainty, but it does imply that what we do know will never fully explain the richness of both God and life. God will never stand still for final interpretation. Therefore, we embrace with humility the wonder and mystery of all creation and of the Creator, and seek to celebrate, enjoy and experience the goodness of God that far surpasses our full understanding. In our worship we seek to guard the wonder and mystery of God. We want to share our faith, not because it offers easy answers to life’s questions, but because our faith is the context in which we explore the mysteries of God and life together.

Pain, Suffering, Lament and Struggle
Life is filled with pain and struggle. We recognize that the process of pain and struggle is often key to our pursuit of God and God’s pursuit of us. Without pain, struggle and suffering, we easily forget our dependence on him. Our goal is not necessarily to provide intellectual answers to people in the midst of their struggle; intellectual assent to truth does not equate to Christian spirituality. Our goal is to provide faith-embodied relationship, a mutual relationship of love. Our desire is to acknowledge and embrace our current circumstances, seeking to honor God in the midst of them.

Since we are truly concerned about others, we use Scripture appropriately. The Scriptures are not to be quoted to eliminate another’s pain, or to eliminate our own anxieties and discomfort while in the midst of others’ suffering. They are not to be quoted or used to quiet our own compulsion to “do something” for someone. The same holds true for prayer. Furthermore, it is possible to exercise biblical wisdom, without quoting the Scriptures. The Scriptures come alive when we embody them or live them out. We can be God’s ambassador and spokesperson simply by being present for others. Isn’t his presence one of Christ’s greatest gifts to us? No matter what happens, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

When we quote Scripture in answer to another’s problem, we often refuse to take the power of God and his presence seriously. We are guilty of using Scripture as a quick fix or as a trustworthy standby answer, using a proverbial “old bag of tricks” methodology. When we become uncomfortable with another’s pain, suffering, circumstances or struggles, we often find ourselves speechless, tentative and feeling unhelpful. When we don’t know what to say, the temptation to reach in the bag and pull out our most reliable “trick” (a scripture verse) grows strong. While in the midst of grief and suffering, few people have the desire or the energy to argue with another who is quoting Scripture, even if the Scriptures are being abused. When Scripture is used in this manner, we not only misuse it, we also further invalidate the feelings of the one who is already crushed under the weight of suffering. We communicate our disinterest in their plight; we communicate our discomfort with their pain. The one suffering could easily quote to us that famous movie line, “You can’t handle the truth!” Do we really want to hear others’ doubts and struggles? Do we want to engage them? Or are we anxiously anticipating an opportunity to escape the situation while thinking in our minds I can’t wait till this is over and I am out of here?! There are better ways to listen and to hear each other’s pain and suffering, and embrace each other with God’s presence. We can be physically and emotionally present for them. What a practical way to demonstrate the care, comfort and love of Christ!

In the midst of pain, suffering and sorrow, our primary goal is to meet God, not eliminate suffering. And in his presence, we find comfort, not necessarily relief from the pain, sorrow or suffering, but a deeper, often lonely and excruciating comfort, simply knowing and believing through faith and through our community that God is with us.

Joy, Rejoicing and Laughter.
In addition to weeping with those who weep, we also rejoice with those who rejoice, celebrating growth, accomplishments, milestones and day-to-day encouragements, whether they are great or small. We laugh with those who laugh, and we love to laugh. We are a group that enjoys each other, has fun and likes to laugh.