This involves not only accomplishing this as a church, but also providing means for each disciple of Jesus who is a part of our church to grow in these areas as well. We believe that diligently applying ourselves to this purpose brings God glory and pleasure.
Our primary mechanism for loving God at Lakeview is our Sunday service. It is shaped and structured to nurture in the disciple a growing understanding of and love for God, as well as a growing desire and ability to respond to God obediently. We worship God in a number of ways during our Sunday service: as we greet one another, as we sing, as we pray together, as we read Scripture together, as we gather around God’s Word for a sermon, as we invest our resources, as we partake of the Lord’s Supper, as we provide time and space to respond to God as he leads, and as we encourage one another with occasional testimonies of God’s grace in our lives.
Small groups at Lakeview exist primarily to help us with the second command, to love others. Obviously, as we participate in small groups and learn to love others in God-honoring and God-pleasing ways, we also learn more of what it means to love God, and we experience growth as disciples (followers) of Jesus. These are not mutually exclusive commands, in other words. However, small groups help us accomplish our mission as a church primarily functioning as a mechanism by which we may grow in our love for one another.
To make disciples of Jesus, two things are involved. First, we serve one another with our gifts, talents, and energies, to minister to and equip fellow disciples. That is, we employ ourselves for the purpose of helping one another grow into more mature followers of Jesus. Second, we go get new disciples! That is, we share Christ with others around us in the hope that they would come to know and follow our Savior and our King, Jesus.
To put it another way, we want more disciples and better disciples at Lakeview. More followers of Jesus and better followers of Jesus. As a recent re-plant we are still fleshing out specific means to make disciples, but there are a number of ways to get involved at Lakeview to serve one another. Further, we are more concerned that our church attenders be equipped and motivated to share Christ with others on their own, in their homes, in their lives with their circles of friends, than we are to do that for them as a church. In other words, we do not believe the best way to make new disciples is to bring people to a church building where we introduce them to Jesus. Rather, we are the Church wherever we go, introducing Jesus to all we meet in the ways that we love and serve others. To this end we will work to equip and encourage our church to be effective ambassadors for Christ wherever we are, lovingly urging others to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20).
The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:
At Lakeview we are an elder-run, congregationally-ruled church. We also are served by a team of deacons as well as a small staff.
Lea Anne Edwards