The name MasterPiece comes from the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible in Ephesians 2:10 -- "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
The point of the passage is that collectively the church is the premier work of God, created from people of many backgrounds for the purpose of carrying out his ongoing work in the world.
As we gather the initial MasterPiece community there are some core values which we see as important for the long-term health and effectiveness of the church.
We are striving to become a CHRIST-CENTERED church. We'll worship and live our lives in such a way that the primary focus isn't on ourselves or our personal needs but on what God has done and is doing -- especially through the gift of Christ Jesus into the world. It is important that we each have a growing relationship with Christ.
We are striving to become a BIBLICALLY-DEFINED church. We believe that the Bible, made up of the Old and New Testaments, is God’s Word and the only perfect guide for faith, doctrine, and living. The Bible will play an important role in the life of our congregation. Preaching and teaching will be Bible-based. We're trying to become big picture Bible people, hearing the whole message and story of God -- grappling together with the challenges that come with trying to live out that story today.
We are striving to become a MISSION-DRIVEN church. We see ourselves as a grass-roots missionary force in our homes, communities, and workplaces. And by mission we're talking about the whole mission of God -- sharing God's Word and challenging people to become followers of Christ, feeding the hungry, caring for refugees, the stranger, the afflicted, the addicted, the struggling -- and addressing the issues that keep people down. Whether we're doing this in Arizona or Africa we want to be a hands-on mission community.
We are striving to become a WORSHIP-FOCUSED church. Our mission in the world flows out of the kind of worship which first focuses on God -- recognizing him for who he is, what he does, and what he is saying. Ours is an eclectic approach to worship, recognizing the diversity of generations and cultures. We value congregational participation.
We are striving to become a HIGHLY-CONNECTED church. MasterPiece is a part of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) and is in fellowship with all faithful Christian bodies which proclaim and live out the historic Christian faith -- regardless of denominational labels or structures.
This means that we see ourselves as connected with all who have lived as followers of Christ throughout the ages and connected with the faith that they have confessed. While we see the Bible as the final authority we affirm the classic statements of the church, such as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, as faithful expressions of the biblical message. We stand in the stream of history with all who acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord.
As a part of the ECC we share some common missions (for example: youth camping, world mission projects, ministries of compassion & justice), values (for example: emphasis on core biblical teaching and freedom in non-core matters, openness to women in all areas of leadership), accountability, and history with other congregations in our extended church family.
For more information about how Evangelical Covenant churches approach faith in Christ download the Covenant Affirmations booklet (.pdf) or Afirmaciones del Pacto (.pdf).
We are striving to become a RELATIONALLY-COMMITTED church. The Gospel is primarily relational in nature and so is the church. Institutions, buildings, organizations (as helpful as these things can be) are secondary to relationships. MasterPiece seeks to be characterized by an air of hospitality -- a welcoming spirit where imperfect people can worship together, learn together, eat together, work together, care together, hammer out differences together, have fun together -- and reflect the life of Christ together. We want to be a community where those from all generations and races live and learn together.
We are striving to become a SIMPLY-STRUCTURED church. This kind of earthy simplicity is not to be confused with being simplistic. We're saying that we want to keep things simple enough that ordinary people feel empowered to take risks and initiate ministries without having to navigate a complex church bureaucracy. We value lay-initiative. One aspect of our simply-structured outlook is that instead of becoming a huge and complex church we will be starting many smaller congregations.
The name MasterPiece Church suggests that God is at work. We're excited to be a part of what he is doing in Phoenix and around the world.