I have been sharing the Principles that appear below in the meetings of the Convocation throughout the Diocese of New Jersey and invite vestries and other leadership groups within the diocese to discuss and embrace them as we move forward in God's mission together.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:10-11)
Principle I The mission of the Church is the primary mission of the Diocese:
“To restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”
Principle II The mission of the Church is carried out through commitment and faithful adherence, both corporately and individually, to the Baptismal Covenant:
A. Commitment to the statements of belief contained in the Apostles’ Creed
· I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth
· I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father,
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
· I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
B. Commitment and faithful adherence, corporately and individually, to the five Christian “lifestyle clauses” contained within the Baptismal Covenant:
· Continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.
· Persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.
· Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.
· Seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.
· Strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.
Principle III The life of the Christian parish/mission and individual is shaped by a balanced rhythm of prayer/worship, study, service and fellowship.
Principle IV The ministry of every parish must have a balanced internal/external mission focus.
· Parishes/Missions must minister to those within their walls with particular emphasis on Christian formation for all ages.
· Parishes/Missions must also reach out and engage those within the communities in which they are set with particular attention to the poor, needy and otherwise marginalized.
Principle V Vibrant Christian Faith results from a vital partnership between the institutional church (denomination, diocese, parish/mission) and the home, no matter what that home configuration is.
I accept the Five Principles of the Vibrant Faith Ministry Frame:
· Faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal trusted relationships often in our own homes.
· The Church is a living partnership between the home, the congregation the diocese, the denomination and the wider body of Christ
· Where Christ is present in faith, the home is church too
· Faith is caught more than it’s taught
· If we want Christian children and youth we need faithful Christian adults, parents, mentors.
Principle VI Growth matters and numbers matter.
· Growth in faith.
· Growth in number of committed, faithful Christians.
· Growth in church attendance and participation
· Growth in monetary income.
You shall know them by their fruits
Principle VII The standard for all ministries in the Diocese of New Jersey is one of excellence.
· This should be the basic standard of all of our offerings to God.
· Today’s “church market” dominated by a consumerist culture and mindset does not tolerate mediocrity.
Principle VIII To forward the Gospel in today’s world, technology is to be embraced.
· The Church’s easiest access to the home today is through social media and technology.
· The Church’s most direct access to young people is through social media and technology.
· The Church can reach out and engage in Christian formation and other activities through technology.
· The Church will use technology and social-media to communicate and to build community.
· In today’s world, a parish/mission without an active website, or with one that is poor or out of date, doesn’t exist to those beyond its walls.
Principle IX To be a Christian is to be a member of the body of Christ and part of a purposeful community. You cannot be a Church of one.
Principle X In today’s culture there is a deep hunger for God and a deep hunger for genuine, purposeful community. The ministry of the Church is to meet at this crossroad, address and help satisfy both of these hungers.