Every church has its own culture. Some churches are more liturgical, others are more relaxed. Some are more expressive, others are more reserved. Calvary is no exception, for we too have a culture that is unique to this assembly.Recognizing this, we desire to have a church culture that is neither consistently shifting according to the latest trends, nor one that is entrenched in inflexible traditionalism. Our desire is to have a church that is shaped and defined by the word of God. For this reason, we have sought to craft six biblically based core values that essentially answer the question, “What type of church is Calvary?”
We are GOD-EXALTING
We believe we were created to “Passionately Pursue the glory of God.” At Calvary, we desire to portray the Lord as BIG, MIGHTY and SOUL-SATISFYING, for that is who He really is. We believe that joy is to be found only when we take our eyes off ourselves and lift them to the God who is truly worthy of our praise. Church is not fundamentally about improving self-esteem, but rather exalting the character of the Almighty God.
We are SCRIPTURE-SATURATED
At Calvary we do not want our church to be “sprinkled” with references to the Bible. Rather it is our desire that everything we do be saturated with the Scriptures. This means every program and activity at Calvary from the expository sermons to biblical counseling, to children’s ministry to corporate worship will be driven, shaped and informed by the vast riches of God’s sufficient word.
We are CROSS-CENTERED
We love the gospel, for it is the only means through which sinners enter into a relationship with the Lord. Jesus hung on the cross as a substitute for my sin. What a glorious thought! This doctrine not only has application for how we enter a relationship with God, but also how we continue in it. For this reason, we want to regularly magnify and meditate on Christ’s atoning work on our behalf. We believe that we always relate to God through the grace purchased for us at the cross. Therefore, when the cross slips from our view, it means we have lost our way.
We are SPIRIT-EMPOWERED
The Scriptures tell us that the Lord intends to build his church through the work of the Holy Spirit. This means that at Calvary we will seek to do ministry not in our own power, but in the strength that God provides. It is this belief that drives us to cultivate a sense of dependence on the Spirit, an expectance of the Spirit’s work, and a willingness to serve the body through the Spirit’s empowering.
We are COMMUNITY-BUILDING
We believe that when God saves a person, he does not intend them to be an island unto themselves, but rather calls them to live as part of the community of faith. At Calvary we want to consciously recognize and emphasize the simple yet profound truth, “we need each other.” This means that we will place a high-premium on cultivating strong, Christ-centered relationships within our local church. We believe through fellowship we enjoy a channel of grace that enables us to grow to be more like Jesus.
We are PEOPLE-EMBRACING
We believe that the gospel, rightly understood, sounds the death knell for all prejudices. The Son of God came to earth to purchase for himself a people from every nation. This means Jesus died for people of every race of every ethnicity and of every economic class. What is more, the Bibles says that in the church, we are to trade our titles of nationality, ethnicity, skin color, profession and socio-economic status for the labels of “Brother” and “Sister.” For this reason we desire that Calvary be a church for ALL of Joliet. It does not matter if you are black or white, rich or poor, young or old; we welcome all, for Christ died for all types of people. We believe that there is a beauty to Christian unity amidst diversity that sends a clear message to world about the amazing power of the gospel.
We certainly do not reflect these core-values perfectly in our church, but we will continue to earnestly aspire to them, for we think they are solidly rooted in Scripture. Our church has and will continue to change through the years, but it is our desire that even amidst changes, these core values will serve as rails on which Calvary continues to run as we passionately pursue the glory of God both in the present and the future.