At Heartland, worshiping God is our highest priority, because our lives are unavoidably shaped by who or what we worship. We believe that when the church gathers to worship, there’s a lot more going on than just a group of people singing songs together. In worship, we experience God together. We believe that God is present with his people, and in worship we are actually with Him. As we express thanks, adoration, love, commitment, and devotion to Him, we are “drawing near” to God, and we believe that God himself is also drawing near to us (James 4:8; Hebrews 4:16, 10:22).
Because we believe that God is alive and well, and in a good mood, we believe he communicates with us today. So we practice listening to God (not as spooky as it sounds) as well as speaking and singing to him. We value conversational worship, where we respond to God’s “voice” and move with the rhythms of God’s Spirit (again, not as spooky as it might sound). Most of the time this conversation is expressed in song, but we’ve also seen it painted, danced, enacted, and declared.
But the experience of God extends far beyond our gatherings. God inhabits the air around us, and indeed dwells within us, and He is constantly present and at work in the world. We believe that wherever we go, God is already there. So try as we might, we can’t leave God’s presence when we leave a gathering. We want our experience of God to expand to encompass and drench every aspect of our lives, so that in every conversation, every task, every relationship, every moment we are conscious of and listening to the presence of God with us.
At some time in the future, God will complete his mission of renewing creation, of “making all things new.” Then will be fulfilled what the ancient Scripture says:
“Behold the dwelling place of God is with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4)
When we gather to worship, experiencing the presence of God together as his people, and as we learn to become aware of his presence with us every day, we are declaring and enacting God’s future in the present. As we experience God in small and big ways in our everyday lives and our larger gatherings, we are experiencing a little bit of our glorious future ahead of time.
Heartland values healing hurts wherever they are found, because the kingdom of God is about restoring people to wholeness of body and soul. This value is rooted in a clear-eyed vision of the pain and brokenness in our lives because of sin. Rather than put on a happy face and shove real problems under the rug, so to speak, we want to see our lives healed and made whole, fully alive as God intended us to be.
We pray for healing because it seems to have been a major component of Jesus’ ministry, and it was a major part of what he taught his disciples to do the first few times he sent them out: “Tell them the kingdom is here. Heal the sick, raise the dead, touch the untouchables, kick out demons” (Matt 10:7-8). Healing was and is a significant sign of the coming of the kingdom of God, so we practice it. So as we pray “let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” we recognize that the manifestation of God’s kingdom will include people’s lives being healed and restored.
But this is not a magic formula or a lucky charm we wave over people’s heads. Not everyone is healed when we pray. This is because there is an element of mystery to the coming of the kingdom. It’s here but it’s not yet here fully. It’s already but it’s not yet. It came and still comes in an unexpected way, and we don’t have all the answers. But more people get healed when we pray than when we don’t pray. So we pray; we ask God to heal; we ask God to expand his kingdom on earth; we ask God to bring wholeness of body and soul to everyone inside our circle of influence, exercising the authority of God to bring healing to broken hearts, health to broken bodies, wholeness to broken lives.
At Heartland, we have a strong emphasis on equipping people to step into their destiny, living the adventure of the kingdom of God. We want to see people grow into doing the things God has gifted and called them to do, because we believe everyone has a deep, God-given desire to make a real difference in people’s lives, to do good work, to bless others in their labor. We devote a lot of time, energy, and resource into helping people discover God’s distinct calling and gifting on their lives, launching them into their destiny, and encouraging them along the way.
We believe that every Christian is an ambassador of the kingdom wherever they are, and that most Christians are called to express the kingdom in the marketplace, in their normal jobs. You don’t have to become a professional church worker to be a passionate Christian fulfilling God’s destiny for your life. God forbid we all turn into church workers! We believe God has called us to live out the kingdom in our homes, families, schools, and jobs, and that as we pray “Let your kingdom come … on earth as it is in heaven” we are also partnering with God to make that a reality in our spheres of influence.
Embracing destiny means we take God’s calling seriously, and that each member of the body of Christ has a part to play in transforming our world.
At Heartland, we value the throwing and attending of parties. We are learning to recognize and validate the people getting together, eating and drinking and playing and laughing together for no reason in particular. Part of the full, “abundant life” that Jesus gives his students is the simple act of enjoyment: enjoying creation, enjoying one another, enjoying good food and drink, enjoying the young and old among us, enjoying God in the context of a party. Actually enjoying and celebrating life is a way of saying “thank you” to God for his gift of life.
This value of enjoying and celebrating life is based on the practices of Jesus himself. When Jesus walked around Palestine all those years ago, he had a reputation for being a bit of a party-animal: “The Son of Man comes feasting and you call him a lush” (Luke 7:34). Now, neither Jesus nor any of his followers ever advocated drunkenness (Eph 5:18), but what kind of life did Jesus live that he ended up with that kind of reputation? Apparently the picture of Jesus as grumpy, boring, and stuffy is significantly wrong. When Jesus promised his students the same kind of joy he had within himself, they didn’t wince, because they knew from being with him that he was a genuinely happy, pleasant person. His first miracle, after all, was to extend a wedding party by making more wine (John 2:1-11)! People generally loved to be around him because he was a joyful person who enjoyed life.
And when we look forward to when God will renew and restore creation and humanity, we don’t see an endless church service. Instead we see all of life redeemed and transformed, made “as it should be.” It will be a time when all our daily activities, all our working, playing, eating, drinking, talking, singing, listening, partying and praying will be gathered up in celebration of all that God is and has done. We bring a bit of that future into the present when we throw a party and take time to celebrate and enjoy life right here and now.
Heartland Church values learning, growing and being fruitful in the Spirit. We believe that to say yes to God is to say yes to the ongoing teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus and teaches us the things of God (John 14:26). As we listen and obey we are transformed in character and conduct to be like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we obey, we mature and demonstrate the fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Growing this way not only as individuals but as a family at Heartland requires continual instruction and application. We value small groups and classes as one way to reach this value of maturing disciples.
To learn is to grow. To learn is to change. As we commit to see life from the perspective of the Bible and the Bible from the perspective of life we are challenged to repent and change old ways of thinking and embrace the truth of God’s Word. We highly value the Word of God and in our life together we find ways to get into the Word until the Word gets into us. We don’t want to just study Scripture for information, but for revelation and transformation. As we receive revelation and embrace change, we become more like Jesus.
As we study and apply the Word of God we endeavor to be raised up to the standard of Scripture in our experience, not lower Scripture to our limited experiences. We don’t want our lives as Christ’s disciples to be defined by culture or political correctness, but with God’s help we desire to allow the Bible to define all of life including our culture.
We value the message of the Kingdom of God and are progressing in living out our lives as a member of the Kingdom of God. The message of the Kingdom is good news and a radical invitation to change not only our own lives, but the lives over which each of us have influence. Living in the ThroneZone (where God rules and reigns) enables us to share what we receive from the Holy Spirit with others. We realize we are just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.
We invite you to come grow up in Christ, be a maturing disciple, with the Heartland family.