We believe, we care, and so we act. We believe that God has shown a miracle of love through Jesus Christ, our Savior, seen in Romans 5:8-11. We live by faith in Jesus. Any good things we do spring from a thankful loving motivation, and not an attempt to earn God’s love. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” – Ephesians 2:8
We respond, loving God and people. We respond with our wholehearted love for God and a sacrificial love for our neighbors, as Jesus taught in Matthew 22:37-39, also in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Philippians 2:1-11, 1 John 4:7-11.
City Harbor Church…helping people take next steps in following Jesus. Loving God & Loving People
Together we follow Jesus and his teaching with the help of the example of his first followers, in Acts 2:42-27. We do this by inviting people to receive this saving grace through Jesus, and by committing to the lifestyle of grateful wholehearted devotion, seen in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 2:38-47, 4:29-35, 5:42. This wholehearted devotion, see in Acts 2:38-47, includes key elements that Jesus taught and the resulting devotion that his followers implemented: receiving salvation by faith including repentance, water baptism (as a public sign of our confession of faith), receiving the Holy Spirit completely, and devotion to Jesus as seen evidenced by commitment to the apostles’ continued teaching, fellowship in celebratory intentional relationships, sharing a communion table in keeping Jesus’ instruction for the “Lord’s Supper”, and prayer. We will follow the example of the first Jesus-followers in their wholehearted devotion regardless of challenges.
Five Values: We aim to be a gospel-centered, Spirit-filled, multi-ethnic, healthy local church in urban Baltimore.
Urban: We are in the heart of the city, for the heart of the city. We value the renewal of Baltimore City through local churches.
We see Jesus and his first followers sharing this Good News throughout their area and in the middle of cities, such as Jerusalem in Matthew 21:1-11, Rome in Acts 28, Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1, Ephesus in Acts 18-19, Antioch in Acts 11, 13, 15 Galatians 2, and Philippi in Acts 15-16. The middle of a city provided an opportunity to share the Good News and meet the practical needs of more people in a focused area.
At times, God’s heart for people is revealed in cities. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.” – Psalm 107:6-7, 30-31 Further images of this: Hebrews 11:10, 16, Revelation 21:2
Multi-ethnic: God makes beautiful people who are better together. We value the racial and socioeconomic diversity of Baltimore city and have a particular heart for a local church culture of celebrated equality and mutual respect.
“Go and make disciples of all the nations (urge people of all ethnicities to become my followers)” – Matthew 28:19
We are following the example of the Christian church in Antioch who became a cohesive healthy spiritual family of Jesus followers, as seen in Acts 11:19-30. They did not allow unique characteristics of race, ethnicity, culture, economy, or education to keep them from being a unified group. They took action to help others across such lines. We come together and build relationships with each other as a church family where each person has value, identity, and purpose, as seen in 1 Timothy 3:15, 5:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 12:16-17.
Spirit-filled: God is alive today and at work through us. We value the power and presence of the Holy Spirit for ministry today.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” – John 14:16-17 “I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from Heaven.” – Luke 24:49 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” – Acts 1:8 “Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit,” – Acts 2:4 The early Christians held praying in the Spirit as a value, Ephesians 6:18, Jude 1:20, Romans 8:26. Today Jesus-followers should be interacting with God the Holy Spirit, receiving from the Holy Spirit: guidance, comfort, and ability.
Healthy: God brings healthy lives into healthy relationships. We value the integration of spiritual and emotional health.
Now the love of Jesus gives us spiritual strength, Ephesians 3:16-20. As we give the best of our energy to receive this love of Jesus and respond to it, we will be positively changed for the rest of our lives.
Now we experience spiritual freedom from any darkness. “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14 We are now free to live in new ways, Ephesians 2:1-10, receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit, John 16:13, and allowing the Holy Spirit to shape new ways of thinking and feeling, Ephesians 4:23.
We will follow the example of the early church in their high value on loving respect & equality, Ephesians 2:11-18, seen in mutual submission to each other, motivated by a constant awareness of Jesus, Ephesians 5:21. This is informed by our growing understanding of who Jesus is, what Jesus values, what Jesus has taught, and what Jesus desires, as seen in the New Testament.
We find guidelines for our healthy relationships within the church in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Hebrews 13:17, Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5, Galatians 6:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, 1 Timothy 5:19-20, Titus 3:10-11.
Missional: God’s love gives and so we serve the needs of our city neighbors. We value the mission of God in word and deed, fulfilling the Great Commission and Great Commandments through local churches.
The message that Jesus wanted communicated, first and foremost: “There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.” – Luke 24:47 Here is the truth that this early church, at large, was focused on: “Through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God – something the law of Moses could never do.” – Acts 13:38-39 Jesus gave his followers purpose. We are to communicate this message.
We believe that God wants us to make this way of living available to more people each year, Acts 16:5, 18:9-10. We will help people take next steps in following Jesus, in ways that are as simple and as effective as possible, as seen in Acts 15:7-19.
Motivated by the compassion of Jesus, we choose a lifestyle of courageous generosity and working together, meeting the needs of others, as seen in Acts 4:29-35, 11:19-30, 2 Corinthians 8-9. God’s direction for us to (and value on) meeting the practical needs of the poor and rebuilding areas of urban decay is seen in Isaiah 58, Jeremiah 29, Galatians 2:10, Matthew 19:21, Luke 12:33-34, 14:12-14, Proverbs 19:17, 22:9, and many more.
We believe that God has shown a miracle of love through Jesus Christ, our Savior, seen in Romans 5:8-11.
Jesus made clear the focus of God’s “big picture” purpose: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 This is what Peter, and the witnesses of Jesus were focused on communicating, constantly, everywhere: “Everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.” – Acts 10:43 This is the message that the early believers and Paul focused on giving to others: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9