REVIVING HOPE WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
A multicultural family of families building gospel centered pathways for the community to revive hope, love, and unity through Jesus Christ in the South Bay. We are a diverse team for a diverse region. Our stories are as divergent as the many different people in our context. We aim to be the most unified place that this divided area sees when they enter our community. We believe the words of Jesus, that our unity testifies to His reality in ways not often seen (John 17:20-26).
Predicament: ‘Lost Angeles’
1. Fragmented and divided culture in our region: need for multiethnic, multicultural unity in community. In a racially, ethnically, economically, and politically diverse area, racism is alive and well, and people in our region keep to themselves, and remain divided.
2. Family brokenness: need for healthy examples of grace centered family, and men rising in a fatherless generation. Our community is a community of young families struggling to survive.
3. High cost of living: need for wisdom and frugality with finances in a consumeristic culture where the rent and cost of living is very high.
4. Over worked and long commute: need for healthy work/life balance in a fast-paced, workaholic, “Lost Angeles” culture.
5. Lack of hope: people sense no real opportunity for upward mobility, and the glass ceiling needs to be shattered by hope.
1. Heat and light: passion for the scriptures exposed, proclaimed, and applied in a way that affects our hearts, changes our lives, and moves our hands and feet to action. We are a gospel centered group that sees the gospel as the driving force in genuine life change.
2. Heart for the city: our team is passionate about seeing the city flourish, and the lost saved.
3. Youth culture and strong families: our team is passionate about seeing young people reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ, as we have seen for years lives altered and trajectories changed by the gospel.
4. Relationship-driven missional community: our team is passionate about spiritual friendships, enjoying eachother’s fellowship, celebrating, having fun, and being outwardly focused about welcoming more and more people into that fun, joy, and relationships.
5. Mission: outwardly-focused people concerned to see souls won to Jesus Christ, and churches planted locally, globally, and cross culturally.
1. Diverse stories from a diverse team of leaders: our team is as diverse as the community, but is passionate about the unity we find in the gospel of Jesus Christ (John 17:20-26). About half our team is bilingual.
2. Creatives: our team are artistic creatives; outside the box thinkers who create culture through doing justly, and working towards the flourishing for our city, and the legacy our children will grow up in, and inherit from us.
3. Organizational builders: our team is filled with leaders in many spheres of life. Organizationally gifted, entrepreneurial, and Kingdom minded. We are in pursuit of making a great city with ethical integrity.
4. Building families: we are a family of families, and we believe that the first church we will ever plant is at home with strong marriages, and intentional parenting. We believe in a generational approach to discipleship that has a passion for training the youngest generations, and including singles in our family of familes.
5. Gifted group of teachers and communicators: our team is experienced in communicating the gospel in truthful, simple, and understandable ways.
HOW WE DO IT
From the fringes to the family, and forward. Our discipleship pathway is meant to be as accessible as possible for people who don’t know Jesus. As the disciples themselves were following Jesus before they were ‘saved,’ so we believe that many ‘pre-Christians’ are willing to follow Jesus, and ‘belong before they believe.’ We’ve seen this first-hand, and want to make space to serve the community’s flourishing side-by-side with people who don’t know Jesus, so that we might earn the reputation, and the opportunity to proclaim the saving grace of God in the gospel to them. We also understand that people need time, and acceptance in the process of asking questions, doubting doubts, and being drawn by the Holy Spirit to saving faith. It doesn’t always happen overnight with a response, and when it does it typically happens with someone coming from a Christian worldview. In our post-Christian era and region, most people don’t have a Christian worldview, and they certainly don’t have positive views of Christianity necessarily provided to them from Evangelicalism. We allow time in the process and in the pipeline for people to process through the call to Christ, all the while loving, accepting, and encouraging them along the way. With boldness the message is proclaimed (Rom. 1:16-17), but with patience we walk the person through the process.
FROM THE FRINGES TO THE FAMILY AND FORWARD
Our heart is to have a service that is both rich in orthodox tradition, and ordinance, but likewise user friendly for those on the fringes. For the unchurched, dechurched, and anti-churched, we can’t soften the offense of the gospel, but we can do all we can to remove the offense of ‘us’ and make it as sensible, and understandable as possible. The next steps for discipleship include basic courses for new believers, community groups as discipleship hubs of community (Eph. 3:14-21, Heb. 10:24-25), and servanthood roles both inwardly (in the church’s systems) and outwardly (on mission in the community, with each challenged to find a missional niche). Those who grow into character and proficiency are given opportunities to lead others, even as they are already leading others to Jesus; and still yet, our ultimate goal is the frontiers: to send new apostolic leaders, and teams to plant new churches in new communities in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We value church multiplication over church name, and renown; and believe that to meet the rising tide of worldwide urbanization, new churches need to be planted. Our plan is to partner with Gospel Ventures and Acts 29 to continue training, and sending out church planters as we grow.
WHAT IS A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY?
A Missional Community is a group of 12 to 18 adults who orient their lives around being on mission together to make the Gospel known among a shared network of relationships, neighborhood, or target group of people. They do this by developing intentional devotional and missional rhythms in their lives together.
THE CHURCH WE STRIVE TO BE
Church planting and strengthening
Building a network of interdependent churches through A29 and Gospel Ventures; focused on the interior of the Los Angeles area, and urban church development specifically. Building, developing, and sending out church planters to further serve the greater Los Angeles area.
Michelangelo said, “criticize by creating.” While a majority of evangelicals flee urban centers in the height of urbanization, we feel called to be culture-making Christians, who redeem rather than reject, and believe the gospel is the hope of the world for making a great city, one redeemed soul at a time. We want to encourage Christians to be for the world, not against it, while not worshipping at the world’s altars. Civic engagement, creative arts, and God-glorifying work are values that shape and change a culture as well as the very clear purpose of the church: to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10).
Kingdom Business for social flourishing
Along the lines of being culture creating, we want to inspire, encourage, equip, and resource Christians to engage themselves in businesses that bless and flourish the urban interior of the cities we want to reach. A majority of stakeholders in our area don’t reside there, but instead they deplete the resources (including people and materials). In contrast to this, we want to be those who are permanently engaged in the area, so that it would prosper and grow. We want this to be a foreshadow of the city that is coming, where all things are made new (Rev. 21). Living on the edge of ‘Silicon Beach,’ local businesses like Tesla, SpaceX, Boeing, and others, are shaping the world as we know it; we want to encourage Christians to engage in building businesses that love and serve the community with a permanent presence, rather than merely using the city for their own personal good.
redeem the broken places
We want to be a church that is present in the broken places in our communities, standing near the breaks in the walls with a shovel in-hand and a song in our hearts as we prayerfully find ways to love and serve the least, the last, and the lost; both towards their salvation, and assisting them towards flourishing.
We want to be a church where family stories are redeemed, where legacies, trajectories, and brokenness find redemption at the cross of Jesus Christ. We want to see fathers leading their families in the calling of God, as the pastors of their homes; loving their wives, and leading their children into the instruction of the Lord.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
II CORINTHIANS 4:7
HOW WE MEASURE SUCCESS
Believers prioritize the Kingdom of God first in the family, and then welcoming others into the family; making their homes into havens for hospitality towards outsiders, and organic outreach, as well as safe places for spiritually shaping the memories and legacies of their children. This mark is developed in singles as well as families.
People who are on the fringes are coming to faith in Jesus by belonging before they believe, and having their lives shaped by revived hope in the gospel. Believers are actively playing a part in making followers of Jesus, and the discipleship process. God’s people are magnetized together in prayerful unity, and catalyzed outwardly in evangelism by intentional focus. House churches are being led by character leaders who step forward and plant new, interdependent churches both locally, domestically, and globally. Apostolic teams are being developed, planned, and participated in as believers grasp our mission to neighbors and the nations.
People are moving from the fringes to the family within missional community, developing house churches that care for each other (all of us take care of the rest of us), reach out, care for each other, serve each other, and multiply.
UNION IN CHRIST
Christians are celebrating their identity in Christ with life, action, spiritual gifts, and service that is not personal identity building; but moving forward from approval not for it. Spiritual formation is happening through hearing, and responding to the word of God, and our new-found position because of the gospel.
The city sees a reputation of selfless servanthood with no ulterior motives but helping the city’s city’s moms, dads, children, including broken families, people, and places. Our people are finding the broken cracks in the community, and seeking to be those who stand in the gap (Ezek. 22:30). This includes generosity with stewarded resources (time, energy, gifts, possessions, and resources).
WHO WE ARE
We seek to celebrate our wide range of cultural and racial diversity both within our church and within our community. Our racial and cultural differences are celebrated most when they are demonstrated in a multifaceted unity around the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is for all peoples.
GLORY OF GOD
Our highest driving value is that God alone would have His glory in all things in, and that we would have our highest joy in that glory.
We believe in a God whose salvation is of grace extending to every man from first to last (Eph. 1:6, 2:7). Demonstrated by gospel fluency, application, and proclamation in the walk of individuals towards their community as grace is God's favorite attribute of His glory (1 Tim. 1:10-11).
We are a people of the book who love our bibles and believe that the truth sets us free (John 8:31). The truth is not merely words on a page, but a person: the God-man, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). The Bible is not only inerrant, and God-inspired, but also sufficient for feeding and shepherding God's people in all areas of life (2 Tim. 3:16).
We want to make a great city: demonstrated by bringing kingdom servanthood, flourishing, justice, generosity, and love for our city into the dark places where the vulnerable have fallen into; intentionally focusing our time and attention on those outside our church and the faith.
Demonstrated by serving the unity of divided cities and our land with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our aim is to be the most unified place people ever see in our divided land, time, and cities.
FAMILY OF FAMILIES
The gospel's restoration in the lives of families moving into the household of God, demonstrated by being a family of families, advocating for families, and seeing the lonely find family.
SALVATION FOR ALL PEOPLES
That all peoples would hear the gospel proclaimed for the saving of many lives. This is demonstrated by an outward, others-orientation in all that the church does; aspirationally in pursuit of salvation for those on the fringes.
We desire to bring the reign of Christ into all areas of our lives, and expand the Kingdom through Churches planted, and souls saved; This is demonstrated by a clear agenda of discipleship pathway with the end game as church planting for some; and the challenge of all serving on an apostolic team.
3 SPHERES OF INFLUENCE
Jesus took our sin upon Himself and to us He freely gives His righteousness to apply by faith. (2 Cor. 5:21) All are welcome at the Table. The greatest news of all is what God has accomplished on our behalf to save us from sin, death, hell, and ourselves. God sent Jesus to bear all the judgment, condemnation, and punishment that our sins deserved; that we might receive freely all the righteousness, acceptance, and gracious gifts that Jesus‘ perfect life deserved. God now looks at us in Jesus Christ, and sees us standing in His perfect righteousness, and no longer sees us in our sins. Jesus bore our hell, to give us His heaven. We are saved not by our works, but by Jesus’ work on the cross. (Eph. 2:8-9, 2 Cor 5:21) God forgives all of our sins because of Jesus’ death in our place. God is now pleased in us for Jesus sake (Matt. 3:12), adopts us into an inheritance of sons and daughters (1 Pet. 1:4, Eph. 1:18-19), gives us eternal life (John 3:16-17,11:25-26), and internal life (John 10:10). Our response to this gospel is to cast our trust upon Jesus for salvation. All of life is changed by this gospel, so that it is tied to all that we do (1 Cor. 15:1-3); but this gospel is not about what we do. It is rather all about what Jesus has done.
The way of Jesus is life lived in an interdependent community of people. We believe the love of God is amplified in ways we can’t experience alone when we become the means of the love of God for each other in community. (Eph. 3:14-21) We become the hands, the feet, and the words of Jesus for each other, extending ourselves to both the community of believers amongst us, the lost amongst us, and believers in other churches all around us. The Church is not merely an institution, but an organism primarily. The Church is not a building, meeting time, or organization; the church is made of people, following Jesus together; ministering to each other with the gifts God has given. (Heb. 10:24-25) The Church is a team of spiritually gifted people, all playing their unique part in edifying the whole, and expanding God’s Kingdom. In the community of believers, we steward the gifts of God (both physical and spiritual) in ways that bless and serve others, and glorify God. Generosity is not just a rule, it is a joyful way of life, more blessed than getting. (Acts 20:35) The Christian community is a place of encouragement, hope, and transparent spoken truth. (Eph. 4:25,29) The Christian community is built upon the gospel message, proclaimed from the word of God; and applied to our lives. (1 Tim. 3:15, Titus 1:3)
The Church is the missionary sent in John 20:21. That ‘sentness’ is a together ‘sentness’, and isn’t just for the professionals amongst us. It is the way of life for all followers of Jesus, who understand that life is to be lived on mission; whether we are sent to the country and culture next door, or the cubicle across the office. This is to be lived ‘as we are going’ in lives and rythyms that are shaped by the the gospel. Instead of living life separate from the world, we understand that we are sent to the world, in the same manner that Jesus was sent to the world (John 20:21). Missions, and living a missional life, means there is no divide between sacred and secular. We seek to live and do life in all capacities ‘Christianly’ as unto the LORD as an act of worship that glorifies Him (1 Cor. 10:31); open and exposed to both believers and non-believers. Living this way is living life ‘on earth, as it is in heaven (Lk. 11:14), with Jesus bringing His Lordship into all areas of our lives, setting them under his feet, and claiming them as places where He is King. We understand that the greatest threats to our spiritual lives are not outside of us, but inside of us (Rom. 7:18). God has made creation good, but sin has corrupted our hearts. Therefore, we don’t view being in proximity to ‘the world’ as that which defiles a Christian; but rather, worshipping what the world worships, rather than God himself as that which defiles us (Rom. 1:25). We believe we engage (not retreat from) the world in every conceivable, faithful opportunity to display Christianity in ‘a thousand points of light.’ We believe there are no secular jobs, but all are sacred and holy callings given to Christians to show off the work, excellence, and glory of Jesus Christ (Col. 3:23). We believe the power for mission lies in the power of the Holy Spirit, given for the expansive proclamation of gospel witness in our location, next door, and unto the ends of the Earth (Acts 1:8). We are passionate about international missions with a passion for global Christianity. We are also passionate about seeking the peace, and flourishing of the city we have been called to (Jer. 29:7). This happens through people meeting Jesus, as He seeks and saves those who are lost (Lk. 19:10), and by living lives worth following, inviting people to come and see (Mark 1:18).
We function as an apostolic team that takes its cues from the book of Acts and the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul. Paul operated in teams of gifted leaders who use their unique “gifts to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” (Eph. 4:11-12)” These gifts included apostles (sent ones), prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. The synergistic activity of Paul’s team is what led to the evangelization of the Roman world, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The only person ever to occupy all five of these leadership gifts is the one at the top of the chart: Jesus Himself. For the rest of us, we share leadership and lean on each other’s giftings in interdependent ways that value team, feedback, and the contribution of the whole.
We as men function as a plurality of elders who serve the spiritual needs of the church. Our pursuit is unanimity: that the Holy Spirit would lead us through prayer, and direction, and that authority only be used either to serve, or serve as a final decision in areas of indecision or controversy. This means our leaders are accountable to each other as equals, with one of us (lead Pastor) serving as a first amongst equals. He is accountable enough to have to listen to all, but free enough to lead and make prayerful decisions. Our deacons consist of gifted men and women who meet the physical needs of the church, and help execute the plans of the apostolic team. In summary, elders shape and influence in their leadership gifts while our deacons assist in the implementation and execution of prayerfully laid plans to reach our cities with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
GATHERING AS MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES
Missional Communities are integral to our Discipleship Pathway and growth in Christ. Functioning as discipleship hubs with an evangelistic focus, these groups and gatherings are the next steps for those finding fellowship at Stone Table Church. Our front doors consist of our morning service, and our Community engagement events, service projects, and evangelistic outreach into the community.
We are a diverse team for a diverse city. We are a diverse family serving Hawthorne. Lawndale, and Gardena’s unity with the hope of Jesus Christ. We are a family of families, with young families represented, seeking to draw our famililes in to the Great Adventure: the mission of God.
We believe children to be liturgical sponges, absorbing the life path, and rhythms that we set as parents, as we steward and shape their memories. We have rejected consumeristic approaches to church in favor of God’s mission. In so doing, we believe that we are teaching our children through what is caught and taught about what is most important in life: Gospel, Community, and Mission, all in line with the glory of God, and expanding a coming Kingdom. We have an intentional family focus that doesn’t make the family the focus, but the Kingdom, and King. We believe that church can be done at a pace that serves our children, and factors all generations into the discipleship matrix of the church. We believe that our little young believers and ‘pre-Christians’ are benefitted greatly by the different gate groups and life stories of the body of Christ. With some reasonable boundaries, we don’t believe our kids should be quarantined off from the ‘main church’ and treated as necessary evils that sometimes get in the way of our ‘getting fed.’ We believe that they either are members of the body of Christ, or will be members of the body of Christ, and are valuable members of our church; who won’t make up the next generation of the church because they already are a part of the church (or close to meeting Jesus).
Our pace as a church plant therefore isn’t breakneck abandonment of healthy family rhythms but is organically meant to grow out of our family rhythms. Sometimes the best witness you will have is your family, and the life you live with your family pointed towards God’s Kingdom. We believe that families need time, and that sometimes our job is to equip the parents of children, and get out of the way. Less is indeed more in the discipleship process; and the best children’s and marriage ministries come forth from the church at home, and the Pastor at home: a man and His wife alive with a vision of God’s Kingdom in their home. This means that we intentionally move slower, and trust the slow work of God in this process; not avoiding sacrifices, but believing that our families are not the sacrifices that God requires, but that God requires that we care for the needs of our household before our church (1 Tim. 3:5). In fact, we as a team are aware that the first church we will ever plant is the one at home.
We believe that in this life, in the words of one of our teammates, ‘you hold your relationships tightly, and your things and money loosely.’ We believe in an openhanded generosity with God’s people, with eachother, with the broken, and with the lost. In order to start a church in an urban location we know that this will require sacrifices for all of us. Our long term plan is to share leadership responsibility as a team, and to pursue bivocational work; both for our resources to be used to create a self sustaining church, and for mission (We have the privilege of working for and with people who don’t know Jesus). This makes our communication, roles, and relationships key; and it means that we must share responsibility when it comes to the plant. Each one of our lead men can teach and function in the APEST giftset paradigm of Ephesians 4:11-13, influencing the whole. Our ladies are similarly extremely gifted planners, creative thinkers, and executers of the vision God has laid out for us. We believe in a synergistic approach to leadership that welcomes feedback from each contributing team member.
In our Core team we represent 4 interracial marriages; and cultures from around the world, including the fact that half of our team is bilingual. We are a diverse team for a diverse region. Our stories are as divergent as the many different types of people in our context. We aim to be the most unified place that this divided region sees when they enter our community. We believe the words of Jesus, that our unity testifies to His reality in ways not often seen (John 17:20-26).
WHY HAWTHORNE AS OUR EPICENTER?
• Situated at the crossroads of 4 major freeways (405, 105, 91, 110), The Hawthorne/Lawndale/Gardena area of the South Bay is also cultural convergence of connection for the city of Los Angeles.
• El Camino College sits on the edge of Hawthore and Lawndale, and boasts some 30,000 commuter students from the greater South Bay area.
• Hawthorne is situated between the urban core, and the beach cities; making it a key intersection between socioeconomic divides; giving the opportunity to reach into both realms of society.
• Hawthorne as a city is a place where the collision of socioeconomic, and even racial lines are seen and felt. The division is palpable, though many within the community are committed to its unity, and social flourishing.
• The schools in the region have been blessed with a great deal of state funding for improved education and upward mobility.
• The Rams and Chargers stadium under construction in Inglewood will offer increased revenues, and commerce for local business, and developers. It will also mean rising prices on homes in a community where 73% of residents already rent at notably high rental rates.
• Hawthorne is predominately made up of young families, and as property values continue to increase, they are finding it more and more difficult to live within their means.
• Nearly 300,000 people live within a 3-mile radius of Hawthorne High school, with about 65,000 family households.
• The area is characterized by the rising number of “nones” who claim to have “no religious preference” and are largely secular in their worldview. In fact, 38% of the population fall into this category.
• 52% of residents believe that faith in Jesus does not require participation in a church; while the percentage of evangelicals in the area is well below the national average.
• Roman Catholics make up the majority of Christian expressions, while overall Christian expressions have dropped alarmingly across the last 10 years.
• With the large number of young families in the area, the most notable reason for declining church attendance is the struggle to meet the demands of raising children. Additionally, growing distrust for organized religion and religious leaders deters church attendance.
• At 70.4%,the top reason for non-participation from within the church is because of strict, or otherwise inflexible beliefs. While we would validate orthodox truth, we also believe passionately in the gospel of grace and leading with a gracious outlook towards people through participation.
• In the region, the numbers of nearly all Christian denominations have dropped significantly in the last 10 years.
MAJOR LA FREEWAYS
Situated at the crossroads for 4 major freeways (405, 105, 91, and 110), Hawthorne is a cultural crossroads of connections for the city of Los Angeles..
Hawthorne is located between the urban core and beach cities making it a key crossroads between socio-economic divides.
HISTORICAL RACIAL TENSION
In a racially, economically, and politically diverse area, the region has experienced a long history of racial tension, and outright racism.
• 1/3 of Hawthorne’s households are single parent with children homes.
• Immediate area shows some 70,000 children in the 3 mile radius of Hawthorne High School
• There are 117,000 people in family households.
• 55.8% of people are white collar with some 44.2 % of people as blue collar
• Education standards are rising for the area, but the majority percentage of Hawthorne’s adults still do not have college degree (Some 130,000 of 187,000 adults).
• Average household income (not individual, collective): $77,846, some $20,000 off the state average
• 15.5% of the population is below the poverty line, which is higher than the state average (%12.0)
• The biggest generation represented is millenials, representing some 33%
• 40% of people in Target never married
• Larger Households are some 25% over state average (5,6,7 person households) • 60% of households are Married with children
• Most Housing in the area is from the range of $400,000-$999,999
• Average Age of community is between 30-35.
OF THE POPULATION IS BELOW THE POVERTY LINE
OF HAWTHORNE'S HOUSEHOLDS ARE SINGLE PARENT WITH CHILDREN HOMES
OF LOCAL POPULATION ARE MILLENIALS
MEDIAN INCOME IS 35% LESS THAN STATE AVERAGE
AVERAGE RESIDENT AGE
OF HOMES ARE BILINGUAL
A LETTER FROM OUR Lead PASTOR
My name is Chris McCulloch, and I am the lead Pastor of Stone Table church. My passion is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and encourage people to find their true identity in what Jesus has done (not in their list of ‘Do’s’; 2 Cor. 5:21). I love encouraging people, building up leaders, and seeing people meet Jesus who are far from God. I love my wife Sara (of 13 years) and my three precious children Abigail Raja (5), Paul Andrew (2), and Owen Wrigley (5 Months)). I count the leading of my wife and children to be the greatest responsibility and duty of my life, and the greatest source of joy in my life in the grace of God. My greatest prayer in life is that my children would walk with Jesus, on mission with Him, and be given a voice for their generation to declare the name and renown of Jesus.
I played five years of College Baseball, and through that process led Bible studies on my teams, led teammates to Jesus, and found my calling in the midst of the game: proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners like me (both the lost and the found kind).
I met my wife in Junior College at El Camino College (a two year commuter school with ~30,000 local students); In her first year there, she also met Jesus. Many of our teammates (she played soccer) also met Jesus. Those 15 years ago we witnessed God doing a work in the very community we are seeking to plant in now. Sara grew up in El Segundo, a neighboring community that we would like to reach into as well where many family, friends, and relationships are.
After spending 12 years in existing churches, and ‘vocational’ ministry, in 2015 the Lord began impressing upon our hearts a ‘new thing’ (Is. 43:81-19) that He was doing in the Hawthorne, Lanwdale, and Gardena area of the South Bay. He began building existing relationships with a similar passion to plant ourselves organically in a diverse community in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We kept running into people who had little/no working knowledge of Jesus or of the gospel, but were hungry to learn, hear, and understand the truth (John 14:6). We spent a few years dreaming about what a new church would look like in the area, and began seeking network help that could provide a pathway forward in the journey. We also began building a team of people committed to God’s Kingdom over ecclesiastical territory, and the vestiges of old machine-like movements that have lost a vision for God’s Kingdom.
In September of 2016, we stepped out of our old church community in Whittier to plant a new work in the Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena area of the South Bay. In leaving, the Lord gave us a word from Joshua 3, where the step forward into what is overwhelming is what God calls his people to do. Some will get neck deep in the mission of God, while others will still watch from the shoreline. His word for us is that there is rest in the middle of the river, (Heb. 4:9-11) and there is a rest we walk in when we recline our hearts in Jesus. Through this year of being out of ‘formal’ ministry, we have seen God bring restorative health to our family patterns, and line our path with miracle after miracle as the Lord faithfully validates His word, and promises. His promises are true, secure, and worthy to be walked upon step-by-step (Prov. 16:9).
In our church plant story already, we’ve met the man who likely put the Gideon Bible in my wife’s hand 15 years ago that she would read prior to receiving the LORD. We have prayer walked the streets where she was born again, and we have begun our Core gathering in the condo of the godly woman who led her to Christ. God is writing this story, and we can’t wait to see what He does next. Our prayer is that all who see Stone Table Church and our family would know, ‘The Lord has done this.’ (Ps. 109:27)
CONFESSION OF FAITH
& BIBLICAL DOCTRINE
We affirm our belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the power of God to redeem a people for his own possession, establish His kingdom, and renew the world through the perfect life, substitutionary atonement, and resurrection of Jesus. We affirm that this Gospel not only saves us from sin (the power for salvation), but also daily transforms our lives to be like Him (the power for sanctification; 1 Cor. 15:1-4, Titus 2:11-14, Mark 1:14-15, Rom. 1:16-17).
The Word of God
We believe the Bible is God’s written revelation to man. It is composed of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. It is verbally inspired in every word, and absolutely inerrant in the original documents. We affirm the infallibility, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture. We affirm its supreme infallibility in all matters of faith and conduct.
We believe that there is but one living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing spirit, perfect in all his attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – each equally deserving worship and obedience.
God the Father
We believe in God, the Father, an infinite personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love.
We believe that he concerns himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that he hears and answers prayers, and that he saves from sin and death all that come to him through Jesus Christ.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, and has precisely the same nature, attributes and perfection as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that He is not only truly God but also truly man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born, in flesh, from a virgin. We also believe in His sinless life, His substitutionary atonement, His bodily resurrection from the dead, His ascension into heaven, His priestly intercession on behalf of His people, and His personal, visible return from heaven.
The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is a person and is fully God. As the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption.
We believe that every person is a sinner by nature and by choice and is, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We believe that the salvation of man, who is sinful and lost, is instantaneous and accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the gospel in the word of God when the repentant sinner — enabled by the Holy Spirit — responds in faith. This salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works. All Christians are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever.
We believe that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church, of which Christ is the head. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by building its members up in the faith, by instruction of the word, by fellowship, by keeping the ordinances, by discipline, and by advancing and communicating the Gospel to the entire world. We believe in the local church consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on credible profession of faith and associated for worship, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, and evangelism.
The Last Things
We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; the saved unto the resurrection of life and the unsaved unto the resurrection of eternal judgment.
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of belief. For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, vision, and discipline, the Pastors-elders of our church are the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. In Addition to biblical authority, we look to historical documents of orthodox Christian faith to assist us with summaries of belief. These documents called ‘Creeds, Confessions, or Catechisms’ provide us with a biblical faith, deeply rooted in history. These documents don’t replace the Bible, but assist us in clarifying what we believe, and giving us the testimony of history, and historical precedent in our interpretation of the Bible.
The Apostles Creed
We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into death. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy universal church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Evangelical Confession of Faith
We affirms the 1689 London Confession of Faith as a historic summary of confessional Christian belief. Though affirmation of the Confession is not required for membership, The Church is founded upon a Biblical, Historical, confessional understanding of the Christian faith. A copy can be obtained digitally by emailing the church office.
not required for membership, but influence our vision, mission, and philosophy
"What beliefs distinguish STONE TABLE CHURCH from other Churches?"
The gospel is the center and ultimate motivator of all we do as a church.
Reformed Soteriology (salvation)
God is sovereign in all aspects of salvation, Mighty to save. Salvation Is all of grace, from first to last. Apart from God’s effective call, no human would choose him of their own free will. He elects, died for, draws, saves, sanctifies and preserves his people, all of His free will.
Men and women are created equal but have different roles which complement each other in the leadership in the church and in the home. The office of Elder is reserved for qualified men only. We are an Elder Led (Theology, Mission, Vision), Deacon run (Implemented) Church. Women have a role in virtually every area of church life, with the exception being the sermon. Women teach, and lead in their unique, celebrated, and qualified gifts in virtually every other area of ministry.
Marriage & Sexuality
Stone Table Church holds marriage as a God-given gift to humanity to show his personality and relationship to his Church. We believe that from cover to cover the Bible holds marriage between one man and one woman and that an any expression of sexuality outside of that covenant is outside of God’s created will and sinful.
All the gifts of the Spirit listed in the Bible are present and active in his church and free to be used by members according to the guidelines of the Scripture. We believe the bible shows quite a different picture of the gifts of the Spirit than is often displayed In American Evangelicalism; but we also keep an open mind, and heart towards the continuing work of the Spirit in the life of the Church.
The church is on a mission to seek and save the lost and make disciples of all nations as assigned by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church exists primarily as God’s missionary vehicle in all the world. We as the church, aim to multiply and plant, develop, and revitalize other churches.
Sunday liturgy is planned with care so that the entire service is a demonstration of the gospel to the glory of God. Every service walks through elements that proclaim the storyline of the Bible including Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.
The engine of the Stone Table Church is the Sunday Worship Gathering when the church gathers for singing, prayers, the preaching of the Bible, the sacraments, the edification of the people, and the sending out of the people on mission. This is the front door of the church and requires the majority of resources and leadership attention.
Stone Table Church has the Bible at the center of all of its worship. Sermons, Community Groups and events are centered around expounding Scripture. The Bible is the final authority of the church and Stone Table Church strives to not go beyond what is written.
We believe that all sixty-six books of the Bible tell one story that details God’s relating with humanity. This story’s progression can be summarized under the headings of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration (consummation). The progression of the story follows a pattern of covenants in which God chose his people, commands obedience, offers grace for disobedience, and sacrificially acts to redeem them to himself. Therefore, God has one plan of salvation for his one people which is demonstrated in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament God fulfills his plan through the line of Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, and Jacob. In the New Testament God continues to fulfill the same plan through Jesus and the church. This covenantal view is seen in the two Covenants unfolded through scripture, both fulfilled in Christ Jesus; the covenant of works (law), and the covenant of grace.
Five Solas of the Reformation
Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone has the authority of God
Sola Fide - Man is saved by faith alone in Christ Jesus and not by good works.
Sola Gratia - Salvation is granted by grace alone and is not merited by man in any way.
Solus Christus - Christ alone is the way to salvation
Soli Deo Gloria - All glory goes to God alone
We believe that all humans are made in the image of God and in many ways display His nature and character. This means that there are some graces God gives to all people, even though some people do not receive the special grace of salvation. Some of these graces include: the ability to marry and experience the benefits of marriage, the ability to learn and communicate truth, the ability to create beautiful things, and the ability to work together for the common good of humanity. These are examples of a few common graces that we highlight and acknowledge as truth and grace from God.
We believe that art and music are powerful gifts that God has given to humanity to display his beauty. Therefore, we use art as a means for people to engage with God. Sometimes we use or display art that is created by secular artists if it displays Biblical truth on the basis that all truth, if it is really true, is from God.
Elder led, Deacon run, Member served
We are lead by biblically qualified pastors (elders) who have been entrusted with the leadership, governance, and care of the church. We are an Elder led, Deacon run church. The Deacons carry out the vision, and mission the Elders have developed. We function as a plurality of elders and a lead elder to guide the team (Lead Pastor). The Elders will appoint Biblically qualified Deacons to assist the elders in leading and caring for the church. We have committed members who serve, pray for, financially give to, and faithfully participate in the worship and mission of the church.
Acts 29 Distinctive QUALITIES
We are a member of the Acts 29 Network (one of two network affiliations) a family of church-planting churches that stands in the tradition of historic evangelical confessionalism. As a member our convictions align on the following five distinctive theological foundations.
1. We are passionate about gospel centrality.
2. We enthusiastically embrace the sovereignty of God’s grace in saving sinners.
3. We recognize and rest upon the necessity of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all of life and ministry
4. We are deeply committed to the fundamental spiritual and moral equality of male and female and to men as responsible servant-leaders in the home and church.
5. We embrace a missionary understanding of the local church and its role as the primary means by which God chooses to establish his kingdom on earth
Your donation or tithe goes directly towards reviving Hope in our city, the city of Hawthorne.
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