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"Nurturing the Heart by Becoming Christ-Like"

Vision Statement

We as members of the Church of the Brethren, believe in the Bible and the teachings of Christ, and that they affirm that the church is instituted of God for the purpose of allowing us to give expression to our faith and trust in God. As the Body of Christ, the church enables us to give specific witness to our intention to do the will of God. Therefore, we regard our baptismal vows as sacred commitment to God and to those with whom we have pledged to be in faith relationship.

We Believe that life is a journey in which as the Body of Christ we may be supportive of one another, together seeking the wisdom and guidance of the Scriptures and the spirit of Christ within us. It is our desire to live our lives so that we may grow in faith and that at the end of our journey be found to have a deep and profound love of God within our hearts.

Thus, we take seriously our commitment to God and to one another as fulfilling the spiritual calling of nurturing the heart. We share as a vision that the task before us is to find ways to nurture the heart by becoming Christ-like. All of our efforts and striving should be to express such nurturing within the lives of those who are members of the Lebanon Church.

We believe that God calls us to nurture the heart by becoming Christ-like, so therefore, we would uphold such a vision and seek, to make it part of our life together. In living out such a vision our endeavor is to find ways in which to we may follow the teachings of Christ and act in Christ-like ways.

One Christ-like behavior is forgiveness. Jesus teaches through word and deed that learning to forgive one another is the way in which God's Love and grace comes to us. The Bible teaches us that if we expect to be forgiven by God, then we need to forgive others.

We believe that being Christ-like means we have to choose between behaviors and to be responsible for our choices. We believe that being Christ-like means learning to develop a spirituality within us that allows us to trust, honor, and be open to God's guiding spirit. We recognize that the church becomes the instrument of encouragement, as we help one another in overcoming the temptations to turn away from God. Therefore, as members of the Body of Christ we always would be mindful of others and respect their individuality.

We would treat others as we would wish to be treated, always being respectful of one another. We would seek to develop an attitude of caring, being deliberately attentive to the needs of others, seeking to be helpful wherever possible, encouraging creativity and risk taking in the name of Christ.

When there are differences, we would agree to disagree in love, always mindful that God calls us to be united by our hearts by becoming Christ-like. If we offer criticism we would be careful that it would be constructive, so that never intentionally would we seek to hurt the feelings of others. When we fall short and human frailty is expressed in our actions and attitudes toward others, we would follow the teachings of Christ to seek the healing of forgiveness.

We believe that being an member of the body of Christ calls us to be responsible for out own actions. Therefore, we would understand commitment as fulfilling our tradition and heritage of making our word as good as our bond. We would be open minded, accepting of one another's weaknesses, sensitive to what others may feel or think, tolerant of those who have different opinions, and pledge always to listen to one another.

We believe that it is important to be involved in the life of the congregation, so that members would be encouraged to be supportive in suggesting new ideas and helping those ideas to be brought int fulfillment. We would value the need to be present, always nurturing the heart by sharing and giving spirit.

We would seek to reflect the faithfulness of God in our dealings with one another, recognizing that our loyalty and commitment is the most sacred gift we give to God. We would define commitment as never being quitters. In such matters, we would follow the teachings of God that we never allow anger to guide our actions, and that as Christ taught in Matthew 18, we would go to those with whom we differ in a spirit of love and forgiveness seeking reconciliation.

We would never deem it appropriate behavior to blame others for out actions, nor would we believe it appropriate to reject the body of Christ because of own anger or frustration.

We believe that in nurturing the heart by becoming Chris-like we allow for the creative spirit of God to live and move within us. We would seek to live our lives responsibly so that together we may grow in the wisdom and love of God. Together we would seek to be confident and courageous in our faith, ever positive in our attitudes, willing to persevere, and always to seek the joy and blessings God brings to our lives.

It is only then that we truly can reach out to those outside our church fellowship to share the love of God.