It seems kind of weird for a group of people that is trying to follow Jesus write out their own philosophy, right? He had a philosophy of his own, and we are convinced it was a good one. Rather than trying to differentiate ourselves through clever innovations, we want to try to live as if what Jesus said was true. All this being true, two thousand years is a long time to layer on plenty of new and "improved" ideas or principles to Jesus' simple movement. This evolving list calls out some of the more counter-cultural principles we need to keep in front of us.
Our goal is simply to see the movement of Jesus flourish in an organic and natural way. We intentionally keep our institutional side as minimalistic as possible. We give up a lot of control. We are more decentralized by principle. This is hard to maintain, so we keep a few big ideas up front as we make organizational decisions.
We find ways to intentionally minimize our “brand” and ensure we are making a big deal about Jesus and his ways.
We use annoyingly extreme discernment with all "marketing" ventures.
We seek to partner with other churches, especially ones that are not exactly like us.
We humble ourselves, we learn from others, we celebrate others.
Small things slowly
This is Jesus’ movement. He is a big deal, and history proves that time and again. The Neighborhood is just one tiny member of his family. We will not burn ourselves out trying to do grandiose things. Whenever necessary, we will have smaller gatherings, less stuff, fewer staff, and quieter schedules. Being faithful and consistent over flashy. Family takes precedence over events and organizational priorities.
Unity in Diversity
We unify over the Creed and passion for Kingdom expansion.
Though we will naturally impart generational similarities in new communities that are formed (for better or worse), we want to avoid confusing unity with top-down control or homogeneity. The gospel is a cross-cultural message for all nations, and we love to see how the story of Jesus planted in different cultures produces much different looking results.
What works from one community may not work for another.
What looks different from "us" is not inherently wrong anymore than what looks like "us" is inherently right.
Not So With You
There is a scene recorded in Matthew 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-45, and Luke 22:25-27 when the disciples start arguing over which of them was going to be greatest. Jesus quickly calls them out in their dangerous hunger for power. He teaches that the leaders of the world fight for power, but that his expectations of leadership within his family are different. Leaders are to be servants, not demanding respect and obedience, not domineering over those in their care, and not using people for their own goals. Rather, they are to see those in their care as more significant than themselves, and to consider the needs of their extended family above their own. The New Testament is clear that Jesus' plan for his Church includes leaders and leadership. Scripture is also clear that what the qualities, qualifications and even tasks of a leader in God's church are. We must not model our leadership from the often corrupted standards we learn from politics or business.
Character before skill
It is the foundation upon which skilled leaders must be developed lest their lives and the lives of those around them come crashing down.
It starts in the home
Good leaders love and are loved by their families. They have shown faithfulness in the home that is easily translated into the larger community.
accountability is for everyone
Every disciple needs to be in accountable relationships with others. Leaders are not exempt, in fact, the responsibilities of leadership require accountability.
Jesus' family, not ours
Leaders are simply stewards of his people and must act like it. We are not building something for ourselves, we are teaching others the ways of the chief Shepherd, Jesus.