If you are visiting this website for the first time, your most pressing question is probably who we are, that is, how we approach “doing church.” It is important to realize that our approach is simply the expression of what matters most to us, our fundamental values and commitments. Let us help you to understand our identity in light of these values.
Do you like church? More to the point, do you like to go to church? To some this might seem an inappropriate question; they assume people are supposed to like church. Others, as represented in the billboard quoted in the heading, see it as the point of departure in discussing the topic. At CTK, our understanding leads us to react to it somewhat differently. It is not so much that the question is inappropriate; after all, if a person doesn’t like a given church or church in general, it might be because the church isn’t what it should be, and that is a valuable insight, made evident by the dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, we think it is better to say that it is the wrong question. It is a question that flows out of the spirit of our age, one prominent aspect of which is consumerism.
We believe that, in the long run, the more helpful question for us is whether God likes our church, for two main reasons. The first and most important is that the world is meant for God, not God for the world. Since God is the Creator, we are obligated to think first of what pleases Him, not ourselves. The fact that we don’t naturally think this way has to do with our natural fallenness and brokenness, what the Bible calls sin. But sin never fulfills its promises or leads to what is best. The ironic thing is that thinking first of what pleases us does not lead to true satisfaction or the fulfillment of our needs. Rather, as is always the case, what we ought to do, as God defines it, is what eventually will satisfy and please us most, and this points to the second reason why focusing on God’s pleasure is better.
Our impression of what we like might ultimately not be what is best for us, or even what we would most like if we were exposed to something better. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, most people are like children who are so enthralled by playing with mud pies that they resist obeying their mother calling them in to go to Disneyworld for the first time, because they cannot comprehend or imagine how much better it would be. Many churches today, out of a desire to attract a crowd, are like vendors on a street corner in a starving city offering candy canes. The candy seems attractive, especially to starving people, but it will not fully satisfy hunger, and it cannot really nourish. But God wants to give us a steak, potatoes, and vegetables dinner! As our Creator, God knows what we need and what will truly satisfy us, and although His way might not seem as attractive at first, we will always prefer it eventually to anything else. Our first commitment at Christ the King, then, is to God-centeredness in building our church. This means asking as our first question in regard to any matter, including our style of worship, what we teach, our programs, and everything else we do and how we do it, “What does God think about this?” and “What pleases Him?”
How Do You Know?
Our ideas about what God wants flow from our conception of what He is like. It is common today to hear one person say, “My god is ….” and another person respond with, “Well, my god is ….” There are many different opinions of what God is like, and the prevailing idea in today’s culture is that all conceptions have equal value and validity. At CTK, we reject this notion, because we are committed to the truth that God has spoken. God has revealed Himself to mankind, so we do not have to figure out what He is like or what pleases Him. Thus the important thing is not what we think or imagine, but what He has said. He has revealed Himself primarily in His Word, the Bible.
Many today, including many Christian churches, historically speaking, believe that the Bible contains error and is unreliable as a guide to truth. Others affirm their belief in the trustworthiness and importance of the Bible as God’s Word, but fail to emphasize its teaching in the life of churches. At CTK, we believe that the heart of the ministry of the church is the proclamation and teaching of all of Scripture, because it is as the truth of God is understood and put into practice that people experience the fullness of life as God created it. As such we seek to conform our methods and ministries to Scriptural principles, and our goal is to help people increasingly formulate and adopt what some have called a biblical world and life view. This is why we are committed not only to acknowledging the authority of God’s Word, but also to teaching it in all its breadth and depth, in such a way that God’s people understand and relate to every aspect of their lives in the light of its truth, coming to see the world and themselves as God sees them. What we need is not clever formulas for successful living from insightful leaders, but instead a careful and consistent focus on learning and applying God’s truth to our lives.
With this in mind, CTK also seeks to equip each person to understand and apply the Scriptures properly for himself. We want to develop Christians who can feed themselves from God’s Word as well as profit from good teaching, especially as they learn to distinguish good teaching from bad! Our goal is not simply to give a people good teaching, but to enable them to supplement that teaching with their own appropriation of God’s Word, and to evaluate and hold their teachers accountable accordingly. We want people to follow us only so far as we accurately and faithfully follow Jesus Christ. We want to produce mature Christians who can discern the truth for themselves and communicate it effectively to a needy world.
The Main Thing
This brings us to the climax, the main thing and really the only thing that we offer. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now there are many different conceptions of what that means around today, and that is why what we’ve already said here is so important, because it is only what the Bible says the gospel is that matters, since it is God’s Word. If we are going to understand what that really means, we have to become proficient in understanding the Bible and applying it to our lives. But it is not the Bible that meets our needs, it is Jesus Christ in the gospel. It is not programs for this and that that address our real needs, it is Christ. Our problems and struggles ultimately come from the fact that we are sinners and sin has broken us. God’s answer to our sin is Jesus Christ and his work. He can free us not only from guilt but also from slavery to the sin that has gripped us and makes life empty and miserable. Our main commitment is thus to helping people understand the gospel and live out its implications in all of life. We do this by helping people understand how Christ and the gospel can change us from the inside out and begin to experience life as it was meant to be lived, with purpose and meaning based on the Creator’s Word to us.
So Where Are You?
We care about you no matter who or where you are in your spiritual life. You might never have set foot in a church and be very skeptical about what you have seen of Christians and Christianity. You are welcome and we treasure the opportunity to dialogue with you. You might be someone who once attended church but became disillusioned and left. We would like the chance to reacquaint you with what Jesus said his Church should be (not that we perfectly demonstrate it!). You might be someone who has experienced significant loss or sought meaning in things or people which you now see cannot provide answers or meaning as you once thought. Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe your marriage is on the rocks. Maybe you’ve discovered that the American Dream and materialism can’t satisfy you, and you’re wondering what is real and true, and what makes life worthwhile. We invite you to come and discover the answers which God himself has given in Christ. Finally, you might simply be a Christian who has been looking for a fellowship of Christians in which you can learn in depth what God’s Word means and thereby grow substantially in your relationship and service to him. In short, we invite you to join us!