core values

 
 
The Core Values of Saint Stephen United Methodist Church are:  Love, Worship, Generosity, and Spiritual Growth.
love

In our church, we are discovering a new way of life; a life of true love because God is love (1 John 4:8).  Words that come to mind as we think about love and grow into love are – Kindness, Radical Hospitality (Romans 15:7), Justice (Isaiah 1:17), Unconditional (John 13:34-35).  We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).  Here at Saint Stephen UMC we want everyone to experience this amazing love of God’s.  We seek to help others answer God’s call to them, to come and have a relationship with the one true God who loves them and who has sacrificed for them.  This is a love that does not condemn but saves (John 3:16-17).

worship

While we sometimes fall short, we strive to anticipate each worship event as if it were Christmas Eve and Easter all molded into one.  We worship with a new found passion. We seek to experience God and make God the focus of our attention rather than ourselves.  We hope for a worship experience that creates a hospitable atmosphere where all, especially the Triune God  feel welcome (Deuteronomy 24:19-22). We delight in displaying adoration through words, visuals, “smells and bells” song and physical presence (Psalm 100).  Our worship is participatory and experiential.  Our messages are biblically based and point to the gospel of Jesus Christ, in such a way that you won’t leave feeling undermined, or belittled.  In other words, our hope is that everyone, including the pastor will learn something from scripture as a result of the sermon.  Please bring a Bible to follow along the message.  Bible apps on cell phones and notebooks are encouraged.  If you don’t have a Bible, please let an usher know, so we can accommodate you.    

generosity

Words that support our core value of generosity are Service, we want to share our time and energy in ways that model the Way of Jesus (John 13:1-8).  Offering – at this church, we bring our offerings forward and place them in the baskets before the altar (Matthew 5:24). This is what Jesus asked us to do, and what the ancient church practiced.  It is by doing this, we are not only bringing our financial gifts forward, but ourselves, as this is what God really wants – us. God wants our hurts, our brokenness and our joy and elation we bring this to the altar along with our prayers.  Tithes – God said, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (Malachi 3:10 NLT).  The true meaning of Tithe is to give 10% of your income to the church, which means back to God. We realize this may be difficult to do, or even accept, but this is a Spiritual practice that we can strive to achieve.  Many people who do this realize the abundant blessings that come from the practice of generosity (2 Corinthians 9:11).  As a church, we want to share our time, financial gifts, talents and service with God, each other, and the community and world.    

spiritual growth

The coffee served here at SSUMC is great, and so are the snacks, but we realize that people want a whole lot more out of the church than a great cup of coffee.  We hold this value to the highest regard, as we here at SSUMC exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  That takes growth -spiritual growth.  As United Methodists, we tap into our heritage as we begin to discover and practice what the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley called the “Means of Grace.” These are Corporate Worship, partaking in the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism, the Study of Scripture, Acts of Mercy, Tithing, Prayer and Fasting. These practices grow our faith, and draw us closer to God, as we experience and grow into God’s generous love for all of humanity.  When we look at the early church, we can see a tried and true model of making disciples in Acts 2: 38-47