Vision statements, mission statements and purpose statements are only as valuable as their intentional implementation. Southwood has a vision. It is to "advance the Kingdom of God." We have a clear mission. It is to "experience and express Grace."
We are unwaveringly focused on this mission. The experience and expression of grace has been in our DNA since the first group of people met to dream about the church that would become Southwood. The reality of that dream is this church, which is committed to preaching, teaching and living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theology reflects this. Our church culture embodies this. The ethos of Southwood oozes grace. It is intentionally and unapologetically present in everything we do.
Every great organization in the world has a strategy for the accomplishment of its mission. Our strategy is to pursue the experience and expression of grace in three places. We call these three places our "environments."
From the parking lot to pew, we long to see people connecting with each other on Sunday mornings. On the Lord’s Day we worship together, learn together, serve together, drink coffee together, talk with each other and enjoy time together when the church is gathered corporately.
The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation or anonymity. It is lived in community with each other. As a large church, we have intentionally committed to being a fellowship made up of small groups, not simply a church with small groups. Unless you connect through a small group at Southwood, you will never be truly connected.
Grace cannot simply be something experienced; it must be expressed. Grace that claims to be experienced but lacks expression is simply religious self-deception masquerading as orthodoxy. Grace that claims to be expressed but lacks personal experience is simply social activism masquerading as Christianity. We embrace both the experience and expression of grace at the expense of neither.
When you choose to do something, you can’t do everything. This may seem self-evident, but to embrace this as a church is somewhat revolutionary. This means that Southwood has determined and declared where she is gifted, equipped and called to put her focus and energy when serving. As a "gathered" body of believers we serve in three areas:
From cradle to college, Southwood is a place for children. Whether it is ministry service through the nursery or working as adult leaders in Junior or Senior High-Life, we embrace the amazing opportunity to love, lead and learn with our covenant and community children.
C.S. Lewis said that Christians are "beggars telling other beggars where to find bread." As a community of broken, needy "beggars," we have embraced our calling to come alongside hurting families, hurting marriages, broken people and broken situations. Through our leadership, staff and members Southwood intentionally moves toward people who are in need. We understand the importance of this because we too are needy people.
This term is an umbrella term we use to describe our participation in the restoration of creation. When the Fall of man occurred, every person, system and strategy within creation fell with us. Community Development is our attempt at working toward redemption to alleviate the physical and spiritual poverty created by the Fall.
For a discussion of "gathered" versus "scattered" ministries at Southwood please click here.