We believe that the church exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Being disciples is all about relationship. Making disciples is all about relationships. We can establish programs and funnel people through "canned plans but all of them will fall short of the mark unless relationships remain high on the charts for churches. In Mountain/Plains Region we value change. But there must be enough reason and thought and order to verify that the change is necessary and that it will produce fruit and assist us in making disciples and advancing God's Kingdom.
Change is a word that is characteristic of our culture today. The advance of technology has modified the shape of the family, altered the face of education, and transformed how we do business. From DVDs to MP3's to the internet and I-Phones our world is in a constant state of change. Those who were born after 1985 have entered a world filled with fluidity and advance. Many spend their life in front of a small game boy screen, video arcades, computers and big screens. Many have minimal real interaction with real people except via technology. This gap created and extended by technology is evident in the continual breakdown of relationships. Text messaging and e-mails leave us short on people skills and having something tangible to anchor our life to. There are so many valuable advances related to technology that have advantaged the entire culture, but there is still that relationship gap. Therefore we have placed a few values at the front of our priority list.
We highly value the Word of God
We value having a deep experience with the living God through His Word. One Scripture comes to mind: "…for You have magnified Your word above all Your name" (Psalms 138:2 NKJV). The value of the Word of God cannot be overestimated and we resist any effort to supplant it with gifts or charisma or experience. Of top priority for all of our churches is the inerrant Word of God. Other scriptures that further reinforcement this value are: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (II Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV); and "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Luke 21:33 NKJV).
We value relationship
All relationship in our region has its beginnings with John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Relationship with God (vertical level) established through the blood of His Son helps all of us to establish healthy relationships with people (horizontal level). We value connectedness to one another allowing a network of relationships to take place in order to assist us in fulfilling the destiny we have from God. To develop a relationship culture we are attempting to move more and more of our regional resources back to the grass roots (local church). In that process we will provide additional training and leadership development in a cluster or district setting. We believe the facilitating of cluster groups will assist our unique call to carry the gospel to our specific community. It will also allow for quality time together for pastors.
Across the networks we will join our efforts with the greater Open Bible family to become more effective outside our unique call and community. Knowing that most people can only truly have seven or less deep relationships we will seek to facilitate that community which links to the greater community: "Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:5-6).
We value the harvest
Matthew 28:19 says: "Go". Matthew 9:38 says: "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." John 4:35 states: "Do you not say, There are still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" We value the person who is on their way to discovering the truth of the gospel. The heartbeat of God is with every beat relating to a lost and dying world and we will champion the cause of doing the impossible to get this accomplished. We will assist every church to be in a constant state of alert to keep what is the main thing the main thing: making disciples. No disciple can be made without a conversion experience. We will teach compassion and ministry to the lost.
We value the planting of new churches
"So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5). We know that the apostle Paul planted churches in the cities he traveled to in his missionary journeys. We are emphasizing that every church in our region can assist in the planting of churches in our region. Each church can send, pray and provide funds to assist other cooperating churches in the establishment of churches in every place God calls the region and each local church to launch a new congregation of disciples. We are charged and excited about this expansion of the Kingdom in our states. We will place funds, assist with training, provide prayer teams, and ongoing coaching to all of our church plants.
We value leadership
We value the training and mentoring that will afford us the ability to ever be effective in reaching our current culture with the gospel message: "And the thing that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (II Timothy 2:2). It will be a constant emphasis of Mountain/Plains Region to provide training to our local pastors and their teams of leaders in order to facilitate greater missional effectiveness. We do think the old adage is true: "everything rises and falls on leadership", both for our region and our local churches. It is one of our primary purposes to help raise the leadership level of our local constituency.
There has to be a limit to the number of things that take higher priority in our region. Implied in all that has been stated is the fact that the shepherd/servant leader of each local congregation is of high priority to us. To care, pray, minister and assist our pastors is on the top of our list. We believe that is a natural working of leadership training, relationship, and applying the Word of God. We are impressed that our generations need the gospel and we are the ones to harvest.
Thank you for allowing us the privilege to share the joys and trials of this adventure.