C1 Network Core Values
C1 Network Core Values and Practices
As of: February 1, 2022
I. ABIDING IN CHRIST
- God created us for a deep personal relationship with Himself, which is our greatest fulfillment and joy, both for this life and for eternity (Genesis 1:26, Jeremiah 9:23-24, John 14:1-4, 15:1-11).
- The greatest fulfillment of that relationship comes as we know God, our Creator and Savior, more completely and intimately, adjusting every aspect of our lives in accordance with him and his desires (Philippians 3:8-11). Jesus also described eternal life as knowing God, period. “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
We acknowledge that getting to know God more and more does not increase our righteousness before God, nor does our inadequacy in knowing Him and abiding in Him affect our righteous standing before God. When God places us into Christ, he immediately views us as righteous—both now and forever. (Romans 3:24-29, 4:5, 5:1, Ephesians 1:3-14, 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:21).
- To abide in Christ means to live with our focus on Christ, understanding and appreciating all of his characteristics, trusting what he has already done for us, putting our hope in what he has promised to do, and obeying His voice.. (John 15:1-11)
- We believe that fruit is borne out of abiding in Christ and not out of our own efforts and works. (John 15:5)
- We recognize that God is eagerly revealing himself to us and conforming us to the image of his Son at all times and in every circumstance (Romans 8:28-29).
- God’s initiative of unconditional love toward us drives our desire to know Him more and more completely and intimately. (Romans 5:8)
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- We make it our life’s passion to know the Triune God (the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit) more completely and intimately with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength (intellectually, spiritually, and relationally). Learning more about God is the highest priority for every disciple, even as it was for the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:7-10).
- We continually seek the Holy Spirit’s help to learn, understand, remember, and apply all that he reveals to us of the nature and heart of God in relation to every aspect of our lives (John 14:26, 16:12-15).
We listen to and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, seeking confirmation through Scripture, in the context of the Body of Christ, and prayer.
- This focus of knowing God impacts how we approach the other core values of “God’s Word, Reaching the Lost, and Love and Unity.” We focus on God and what he is doing in the lives around us so that our techniques can become more effective.
- II. THE GRACE OF GOD
II. THE GRACE OF GOD
- God’s grace through Jesus Christ is our bedrock and power supply for our salvation, our life in Christ and our ministry, both individually and as churches (2 Corinthians 9:8).
- God’s grace to those who believe in Christ includes the following:
- Our wonderful forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7).
- God’s passionate and unconditional love for us in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:19; Romans 5:8).
- The truth that eternal life is a free gift from God, received by faith apart from our religious or moral works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- The power and strengthening God gives us by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).
- Our glorious position in Christ as new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- The power given by God to Christians to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, as well as to preserve us in trials and difficult circumstances (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- The supernatural power to do ministry (John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
- The future grace we will receive in heaven and at the return of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).
- The grace we receive from God to meet whatever need we may have (Hebrews 4:16).
- Grace will lead to works and result in fruit in people’s lives (Ephesians 2:8-10).
- Those who have been born again by the Spirit are eternally secure and will not lose their salvation (Romans 8:37-39; Titus 3:5-7; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
- We believe in a balance between God’s grace and man’s responsibility. We believe the Bible teaches both the sovereign grace of God and the solemn responsibility of man to trust, obey, and serve God (Philippians 2:12-13).
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- When we sin, God’s grace teaches us not to wallow in shame or make attempts to regain God’s favor through our works, since we know we have already been cleansed by the blood of Christ once for all and are eternally accepted by God (Hebrews 10:14; Romans 8:31-39).
- We aspire to model grace and to avoid legalism or hypocrisy so that people in our churches, including pastors, will openly deal with their sins, failures and weaknesses.
- We aspire to proclaim a message to unbelievers and believers in which the grace of God in Jesus Christ is central.
- God’s grace inspires us to show every consideration to all men, knowing that we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, yet God had mercy on us (Titus 3:1-3).
- Because of God’s grace for us and in us, we aspire as a practice to go the “extra mile” in loving and serving God and people, and to have a strong work ethic in all that we do for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:10).
III. COMMITMENT TO GOD AND HIS WORD
- Our supreme desire is to glorify God. Our love for God and devotion to Him must be our deepest passion and greatest motivation—more than possessions, human relationships and personal accomplishments, including ministry accomplishments (Matthew 22:37-38; Philippians 3:7-8).
- Our lives and our ministries must aspire to wholehearted devotion to God through worship, through prayer and through studying, memorizing, meditating upon, obeying and teaching His Word (Joshua 1:8; Ezra 7:10).
- We value a faith-filled, childlike approach of simply believing and obeying the Scriptures (Matthew 18:3-4; Acts 17:11).
- Christian maturity is a work of God by the Holy Spirit. We do not believe that simply being a Christian a long time makes a person mature. Nor is maturity accomplished in our own strength. Rather, yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit and submitting to, following, trusting and obeying God and the Scriptures over time are the primary factors in becoming spiritually mature (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 2:20; Psalm 111:10; James 1:22).
- The Bible is our final authority for doctrine and practice and our instruction manual for life. It is God’s revealed communication for matters of our faith, for our personal lives, for raising our families, for our behavior in the workplace and for all ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- We recognize that the Bible is sometimes difficult to understand and was written in different languages and to different cultures than our own and that we must work hard to correctly understand it (2 Timothy 2:15).
- In determining truth, if there is a conflict between what we believe the Bible teaches and what we believe the sciences or social sciences teach, we will give precedence to our understanding of the Bible (Psalms 1:1-3).
- Obedience to God’s Word is crucial to an accurate understanding of the Bible. Without such an attitude of humility, His Word becomes mere knowledge which eventually leads to pride and possibly deception (James 1:22).
- All of us are under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures as our ultimate and final authority. God has also given us human authorities that we are to honor and submit to within their God-ordained spheres of authority. Wives are to honor and submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22), children to their parents (Ephesians 6:1), church members to their elders (1 Peter 5:5), employees to their employers (Ephesians 6:5-6), and citizens to the civil government (Romans 13:1- 7). In submitting to a human authority, at no time is a person to disobey God’s Word.
- We value a dependent attitude of faith, demonstrated through a reliance on God in prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-5).
- We value a Christian life that is focused on heaven and eternal values rather than the world and the world’s values (Colossians 3:1-4; 1 John 2:15).
- We value obeying Christ Jesus in the face of opposition, with the understanding that those who desire to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- A common practice for a C1 member is to have a daily devotional time, in prayer and reading the Bible.
- A common practice is for C1 members to have extended times alone with God (at times with fasting) for the sake of personal direction, encouragement, reflection and spiritual nourishment.
- We desire to develop our Biblical understanding in community since listening to different opinions, experiences and perspectives, and working them out together, inevitably give us a clearer picture of the true meaning of the Scripture.
- It is common for C1 members to come together for an extended time of corporate prayer, sometimes two to three hours or longer, in church meetings, pastors’ gatherings, and regional/national conferences.
IV. ALL NATIONS REACHED WITH THE GOSPEL
- Out of our love for God and people (The Great Commandment, Matthew 22:37-40), our mission as individuals and as churches is to fulfill the Great Commission—to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that Christ commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).
- While we understand that God sets apart some people in the church to be full time missionaries, it is also God’s desire that each individual in the church personally embrace the Great Commission. All believers are to be “on mission,” to do their part in reaching their city, nation and the world for Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:9).
- God’s will is that while personally embracing this mission every individual works together with others as a team, serving within his giftedness and unique role as part of that team in fulfilling the Great Commission (Ephesians 4:11-16).
- We believe that a key part of the Great Commission is not only evangelism, but also discipleship, where each follower of Jesus Christ is instructed to obey all that Jesus commanded.
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- A practice of C1 members has been to equip and train others to effectively share their faith with nonbelievers, to sow the gospel with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and strangers.
- C1 members take to heart Paul’s words when he said that he “did all things for the sake of the gospel,” and consider how their life decisions regarding family, moves, career opportunities, etc., may affect their success in reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- C1 members seek to be “culturally relevant” to those we are trying to reach with the gospel.
- Although we aspire to reach all generations with the gospel, we place a special emphasis on ministry to the next generation. Our two-fold strategy is to equip parents in the church to train their children and to reach unbelieving and unchurched young people through various ministries.
- Church planting is a key strategy in fulfilling the Great Commission.
- Participation in short-term mission teams, domestically and internationally, has been a common practice for C1 members.
- C1 members practice acts of compassion and service to the poor and needy in our churches, in our local communities and beyond.
- Based on the example in Acts 1:8, Great Commission C1 members have generally sought to follow a principle of progressive geographical expansion, reaching people in their city, their region, their nation and the world.
- In international ministry, we believe both in Christians leaving their own country to spread the gospel to other countries and in entrusting the work to nationals. Because of cultural and language factors, we prefer, whenever possible, to entrust the reaching of a particular country to the nationals who have been saved and raised up.
- We favor an intergenerational and geographical approach, in which intergenerational churches and intergenerational regions of churches are started and built within a city, state, or nation, whenever possible.
- Because of Jesus’s exhortation in Matthew 9:38, a practice of C1 members is to pray for the multiplication of workers who will proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
V. THE CHURCH
- God has commissioned and established the local church as His primary means of fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission—loving God and others by winning people to Christ, building them to maturity, raising up leaders and sending teams to start new churches (1 Timothy 3:15).
- We believe God calls some mature believers to significant ministries that partner with local churches.
- We believe that God sends teams of mature leaders to other cities, regions and cultures to preach the gospel, gather converts into new churches, establish them in correct doctrine and life practice, and appoint leaders for the new churches, as patterned in the New Testament. These missionary teams are to be sent out and given on-going relational support by their local churches (Acts 13:1-3, 14:21-28).
- We value building relationships between C1members and encouraging cooperation between C1 members in a geographical region, as well as nationally and internationally. This is done by having conferences, prayer meetings, training events, and mission trips for mutual edification, accountability, and outreach and service endeavors. To facilitate this, C1 members partner with regional ministry teams, the national ministry team and international ministry teams which coordinate regional, national and international mission efforts, equip church members, encourage pastors and leaders, provide accountability and assist in leadership training (2 Corinthians 8).
- We believe that Jesus Christ is the Head of each local church and ministry and that each local church and ministry has final human authority over its affairs under Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:23).
- The Bible uses many word pictures to describe what the church should be and how it should function. For example, the church is described as a temple where God is worshiped, as a family, and as a body (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Timothy 3:15; Romans 12:4). In addition, the church, like an army, is to engage in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18).
- A key verse used by C1 members in describing church life is Acts 2:42: “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
- We believe that the Scriptures combined with the local church are God’s primary system for providing pastoral care and the healing of souls. While God may lead pastors to refer certain individuals to godly, Biblically based counselors as a supplement, this works best when it is coordinated with the efforts of the church and its leaders (2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 4:15-16).
- While God can use outside authors, teachers, and seminars to supplement the ministry of the Word in each local church (1 Corinthians 4:15), God desires the local church to be the primary source of preaching and teaching of the Scriptures for the building up of believers (2 Timothy 3:14).
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- It is typical for churches to organize around small groups for building friendships, Bible study, discipleship, mentoring, accountability, outreach, providing pastoral care and developing leaders.
- It is a common practice in churches in our network for members to be “best friends,” sharing their lives together, in community, throughout the week.
3. As an example to the world, the church is to live in integrity and holiness. In that regard, occasionally, it has been necessary to exercise church discipline for individuals who are unrepentant of known sin.
4. C1members are encouraged to practice tithing, financially supporting the local church leadership and church ministries by giving the first 10% of their income to the local church. In addition, the common practice is for each local church to financially support its regional ministry team by tithing to that team.
VI. CHURCH LEADERSHIP
- 1. Recognizing Christ as the Head of the church, we further recognize that He has appointed certain men of character to be spiritual elders, or pastors, in the local church. These men, rather than someone outside the church, have the final human authority in their church’s affairs and decisions. In addition to elders, we recognize
the role of deacons in the church—those individuals who are officially appointed servants of the church (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Philippians 1:1).
- We believe that the terms “elder,” “overseer,” and “pastor” each refer to the same position (Acts 20:17, 28).
- The New Testament model is that of a Christ-centered submissive plurality of pastors rather than a single-pastor leadership structure (Acts 14:23; Philippians 1:1).
- Elders/pastors are to be appointed based upon the character qualities described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
- Leadership in the church must be radically different from leadership in the world. The greatest in the church must be the servant of all. Church leaders are to be humble servants, very teachable, responsive to criticism and models of always learning, growing and improving.
- We believe that the character qualities and doctrinal understanding needed to become an elder/pastor/overseer are best developed within the local church. We view additional training (such as that offered by Bible schools or seminaries) not as a qualification for a pastor, but rather as a possible supplement to the equipping of a pastor within the local church (Titus 1:5).
- We value and esteem women in the church and encourage their ministry in various roles. In accordance with the New Testament, we reserve the office of
elder/pastor/overseer for men alone (1Timothy 3:1, 2:12).
- A pastor/elder is to be a servant, modeling Christlike humility, teachability and love, as well as a leader, demonstrating faith, courage and strength in managing the church (Luke 22:26; Hebrews 13:7).
- Elders are to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word as their primary focus in the church. Deacons are servants of the church who assist the pastors in areas that enable the pastors to focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:1-6).
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- C1 members have practiced a plurality of elders model with elders having equal authority in the church, rather than a traditional senior pastor model. Some churches have chosen to select one of the elders to provide servant-leadership to the community of elders for the management of the church. Yet, even in these cases, the church is being led by Jesus Christ through the community of elders, not through just one man.
- In our membership, the practice is for elders to be active as the spiritual leaders in the church, whether or not they are paid church employees.
- The practice in C1 members is to encourage men and women to share the word of God with each other (Colossians 3:16)—and to do so in a way that does not violate 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” How this verse is interpreted and applied varies somewhat from church to church and culture to culture.
- In our membership our preference is to have more than one elder in each church. However, where this does not exist, our preferred practice is for that one elder to select a group of mature men to act as an advisory group in order to protect, encourage, and confirm him in his leadership of the church.
- Although there are exceptions, our general practice is to develop and appoint leaders (elders and staff) from within the local church.
- In training for church leadership a man who has a family, our churches give special attention to equipping him to lead in his home as a husband and as a father. When we evaluate a married man for leadership, we look at the strength of his marriage and his family before evaluating his ministry skills and other credentials (1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12).
VII. ONENESS (LOVE AND UNITY)
- We strongly revere the “doctrine of love and unity” within all of Christendom. God desires unity between believers as a high priority, and we strive to maintain a unity with every believer, both within and without our association (Ephesians 4:3).
- We believe that our unity must be centered in Jesus Christ and in the truth of the gospel and of the Scripture. Unity is maintained and enhanced as we believe and obey the Scriptures, unite in a common vision and follow the Lord together.
- We value a deep “Jonathan-David” covenant love and loyalty for one another, particularly among leaders in churches, regions, nationally and internationally (1 Samuel 18:1).
- We believe that an essential part of love and unity is the ability to speak the truth in love to one another (Ephesians 4:15). And that truth should be full of grace and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- For the sake of the gospel and the Great Commission, our practice has been to avoid divisive arguments on “gray areas” of doctrine and to discuss “gray areas” in an atmosphere of grace and respect with the goal of increasing our unity.
- When disunity arises on ministry and doctrinal issues, our practice is to encourage leaders to persevere in seeking unity so that the church can move forward.
- When members have a disagreement with the leadership on secondary issues, our practice is to grant full fellowship to that member as long as he/she respects the teaching of the elders and does not create strife or disunity through that issue.
- One reason that we advocate an elder-led (versus a congregational-led) structure is that it promotes and encourages unity in the church.
- Recognizing that spiritual warfare exists and that our enemy seeks to divide, we place a high value on building and maintaining unity between elders and between their wives.
- We promote the practice of church members being empathetic listeners, humbly seeking first to understand and then to be understood (Romans 12:15; James 1:19).
- We encourage a culture of healthy transparency in relationships where leaders can share and receive hard feedback with one another as part of their process of becoming complete in Christ.
Valid outcomes from this process could include:
Recognizing that this culture may require an increased focus on healing from woundedness (as part of the sanctification process) so that leaders can receive difficult feedback without getting defensive or being triggered.
Listening well to one another and recognizing the potential to disagree with one another amicably.
- We promote the practice of defending, and believing the best of, one another, and not receiving an accusation against another person or an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 Timothy 5:19).
- We seek to honor, love, pray for, and cooperate with God-fearing and Bible believing churches and leaders locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Our goal is not to compete with other churches but to cooperate as allies in furthering the Kingdom of God.
- In international ministry we aspire to support, cooperate with, and honor the national Christians in each country, striving for the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17. We believe that God will honor our church planting efforts as we first humbly seek counsel from and unity with national Christian leaders in each country.
VIII. RAISING GODLY FAMILIES
- We believe that strong families are foundational for the physical, social, emotional and spiritual development of each individual; for healthy relational patterns within the church; and for stability in society. Strong families produce strong churches and strong communities (Ephesians 5:22-6:4).
- We value the husband and the wife following Christ’s example in loving and honoring one another sacrificially. We also promote differing but complementary roles in the family, with the husband as the head of the household, wholeheartedly laying down his life for, sacrificially loving and leading his wife, and his wife wholeheartedly laying down her life for him, honoring, supporting and submitting to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-33).
- We believe that human sexuality is a gift and is to be celebrated and practiced exclusively within the marriage covenant between one man and one woman. Therefore, in accordance with the Bible, we consider any sexual expression outside of or apart from that covenant (including adultery, fornication, homosexuality or viewing pornography) to be a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9; Matthew 5:28).
- We believe that life is a gift from God that begins at conception and should be valued and protected at all stages of development and ability (Psalm 139:13-16).
- We aspire to provide compassionate ministry to those who are divorced while at the same time teaching that God hates divorce and wants couples to stay married. Churches in our association (with some exceptions) generally teach that God permits remarriage after divorce in two instances—marital infidelity or if an unbeliever leaves a believing spouse (Matthew 5:32; 1 Corinthians 7:15).
- We believe that parents are primarily responsible for their child’s spiritual, academic and personal development. Church ministries, including youth ministries, are intended to strengthen the parent-child relationship and to support parents in fulfilling their God-given responsibilities (Ephesians 6:4).
- For C1 members we place a high value on men being strong spiritual leaders in their marriages and with their children (Ephesians 5:25-27, 6:4).
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- Although ministry is important, we hold that one’s home life takes precedence over ministry outside the home.
- Our practice is to encourage families to be “on mission,” actively involved in evangelism, discipleship and church planting.
- Our practice is to affirm those whom God has led to be single in a desire to have an undistracted devotion to the Lord.
- C1 members put a great emphasis on equipping and supporting parents as a church community to win the hearts of their children so that they will love God and love people their entire lives. In parenting their children, church members are encouraged to grow in their humility before God, their faith in Christ, their love for and relationship with their children, their faithfulness in teaching God’s Word to their children and their diligence in providing godly correction and discipline (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:4).
- For a two-parent Christian family, our churches focus on the father and mother working together as a team and on equipping the father to be the spiritual leader in training their child(ren). For a parent who is single or who is not married to a Christian, C1 members seek to provide that parent extra support and specialized ministry as a church community (Ephesians 6:4; James 1:27).
- C1 members encouraged parents to take the lead in their child’s education, whether through homeschooling, Christian schooling or secular schools. While all parents are supported in whatever educational choice they make, it has been a common practice among our leaders to homeschool their children, particularly in their early formative years.
IX. EVERY MEMBER A MINISTER
- While we recognize that God calls some to be workers in the gospel as a full-time vocation (1 Corinthians 9:14), we affirm the “priesthood of all believers” rather than a “clergy-laity” system. All Christians are “priests,” according to 1 Peter 2:5-9, empowered through the Holy Spirit to worship God and be workers in the church and the world.
- The elders have the responsibility to train and equip the members in ministry, but not to actually perform the entire ministry of the church (Ephesians 4:11-16).
- God desires each member to utilize his or her unique spiritual gifts in ministry (1 Peter 4:10-11).
- All ministry is in vain without the help of, and our reliance upon, the Holy Spirit. He is our source of power in the church and in the believer. He is our Helper in all matters of faith, service and direction (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
B. COMMON PRACTICES
- C1 members seek to equip others with certain basic spiritual disciplines such as daily devotional times, serving in the church, sharing the Word with believers and sharing the gospel with unbelievers.
- From the example of the Jerusalem church in Acts 8:1-4, the practice of many church members has been to voluntarily and spontaneously spread the gospel to new areas and new people groups, without relying upon pastors or paid staff.
- Though C1 would not be considered part of the charismatic movement, our members emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of members and in the ministry of the church.
- C1 members encourage the use of spiritual gifts in their many forms. As for the sign gifts, most churches in our association have understood these gifts to be for the purpose of authenticating the message of Christ to unbelievers. For example, most would understand the gift of tongues to be the supernatural ability to speak a known language as a sign to unbelievers (Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 14:22).
- It is a common practice with C1 members for believers to share communion in informal settings (homes) as well as church buildings, and for baptisms to be conducted by non-pastors as well as pastors.
- Our historical practice is for our church’s ministry to be both centralized (in a rented or church-owned building) and decentralized—ministry performed by church members in homes and in the marketplace (Acts 2:46, 5:42, 20:20).