Our Core Distinctives
We desire and strive to being a people passionate about knowing Jesus – Philippians 3:7‐10. Knowing the person of Jesus, as revealed in the Bible, and having a deep, intimate, growing, abiding relationship with Him is the most valuable possession a person can have. And pursuing this kind of relationship with Him is the highest pursuit a person can be dedicated to.
We desire and strive to be people engaged in empowered prayer together — Matt 21:22 Acts 1:14 Our prayers together are powered by the Holy Spirit when we pray out of our anguish, out of our need for God and out of our passion for God’s purposes. Prayer is the lifeline for all of us to enter into the very presence of God, the weapon against our common enemy, the fuel by which we can do what God commands us to do and the glue that sticks us all together in unity.
We desire and strive to be a people united in the essential truth of two things:
The Gospel – 2 Cor 5:18‐19, Eph 2:8‐9
We embrace the essential truth of who Jesus is, why He came, what He did and how we are saved by grace through faith in Him, the Gospel.
The Church – Matt 16:18, 1 Cor 12:13, John 17: 11‐22 Being united around the essential truth of the gospel, we are then united together with Jesus through the Holy Spirit into His Body. We are united in our understanding of purpose, design, ordination and command as the people of God, which is the Church.
We desire and strive to be a people connected with each other in Gospel centered missional communities called Community Groups — Acts 2:42. We all exist in God’s grace, and so we walk together in transparent, loving, forgiving and missional communities in the grace and reconciliation of the Gospel. Living life together through real issues about real life in real time, praying, connecting, growing in the Bible and locking arms in missional life together.
We desire and strive to be a people obedient in Multiplying Disciple‐Making — Matt 28:19‐20. Jesus commanded all of us who are saved by Him and follow Him to “GO” into the world and make disciples who follow Him. This is the eternal purpose and eternal design for His church. So, we desire to live lives that are well equipped and fully deployed into the world to change it by engaging people into becoming multiplying followers of Jesus.
We affirm the bibles declaration of the Believers’ Priesthood — 1 Cor 12‐14, Eph 2:10; 1 Peter 2:5‐9 Every believer in Jesus, who is saved by grace through faith, is supernaturally gifted for the mission of Jesus. Every believer, no matter the length of time a believer, is a member of the royal priesthood with a life calling to the mission of disciple‐making prepared in advance, for him or her, by God. We strive to affirm those callings and support them by equipping people to lead others to Jesus. To be active as personal disciple‐makers, leaders of missional communities (called community groups or other missional communities), leaders of ministry teams as well as other varied expressions of missional life; all to prepare people for their unique calling to serve Jesus.
We desire and strive to be a people who looks to Gospel centered sacrificial leadership within the Church – 1 Cor 16:15‐16; Eph 4:11‐15; Heb 13:17 God has given gifted leaders to His church. These gifts of leadership are given to the Church, not only in the past, but in the present and future. These gifts can be found in Ephesians chapter 4 and they are given to the church for a specific reason – to equip, or in modern terms, train people for the work of serving Jesus on mission.
These leaders can be Elders, staff people, Home Group shepherds or those in other areas of service that require leaders. In the book of Hebrews, we are encouraged to look to those leaders in a submissive way, in unity, with joy, work alongside them and allow them to lead, as they are held to a higher standard by God for what they do, how they lead and in what direction they lead and thereby carry an extra weight.
The people that God calls to lead others among the people of Stonewater Fellowship are extremely important. Elders, Pastors, leaders and teachers must meet the biblical qualifications as set forth in the books of 1st Timothy and Titus. This indicates that those leaders are to follow the Apostle Paul’s example of being authentic, forthright, steadfast, hardworking and sacrificial to the best of their ability under grace.
We believe in one triune God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing outside of creation and in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people to Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
We believe that God has spoken, revealing Himself in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired or God-breathed Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings and has been divinely transmitted and faithfully translated to us in the modern languages. It is the complete unveiling of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can any human be rescued from God’s wrath, reconciled in to right relationship with God and renewed back to spiritual life.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest, Advocate and Lord.
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only grounds for salvation.
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips, gifts and empowers all believers for Christ-like living and Christian service or ministry to the unbelieving world.
Empowered Prayer is powered by The Holy Spirit when we gather together in prayer and pray out of our brokenness, our anguish, our need for God and our passion for God’s purposes; this is our life line to come into the presence of God!
We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, have compassion toward the poor, desire justice for the oppressed, and anguish for the unbelieving. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission of making disciples from all people.
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel in deed by turning to Him in repentance, freely receiving gift of forgiveness of all sin and submitting one’s life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen!