Tell Me More About Patterson Road
We at the Patterson Rd Church of Christ are called to be a place of joy, celebration, and service in the cause of the Kingdom of Jesus. While we are grateful for our heritage in the Restoration Movement and in the Churches of Christ, we are free to question, examine, and follow the leading of the Spirit wherever He directs us. We are true to our Lord, true to Scripture, and true to each other. Despite having various preferences and interpretations of many religious and biblical subjects we will not argue or divide over non-essential matters but will love one another, defer to one another and unite around Jesus and His perfect sacrifice.
We are a diverse church that welcomes all who want to follow Jesus as their Lord. We come from various socio-economic backgrounds, many religious heritages, and all races. We even come from different sub-cultures within the churches of Christ. This is a church that encourages you to seek the Lord with all your heart and we welcome you to join us on our journey of faith and to become involved in one or more of our ministries. You will be loved here.
We are affiliated with the Churches of Christ; a religious body comprised of independent, locally governed, and loosely connected congregations. There are approximately 13,000 Churches of Christ in the USA and thousands more spread around the world. We do not believe or teach that you must be a member of our particular named church in order to be in a right relationship with God or to accomplish many mighty works in the kingdom.
The Churches of Christ trace their roots back to the religious revival of the early 1800’s in America known as “The Second Great Awakening.” A group of Baptists and Presbyterians were independently walking away from their human creeds and from the traditions that divided believers from each other in search of unity in Jesus. They sought a simple faith without all the denominational laws and structures that had led to hostility and division. They came together in a movement known to historians as the American Restoration Movement and stressed that the Bible should be our only creed and that a righteous life along with a faith in Jesus as the Son of God were the only things required to be called a Christian and to be regarded as a brother or sister in Christ.
There are three religious groups today that are “cousins,” sharing a common heritage with one another. The Churches of Christ are predominantly acapella (which means that they sing without instrumental backing in their worship gatherings) though this is increasingly becoming less of a distinction and all churches have the right to choose their own style of singing and worship practices. The Churches of Christ have their largest concentration in the southern and western states while the Independent Christian Churches – all of which use instruments – have their largest concentration in the northern and Midwestern states. These two fellowships divided in the early 1900s over disagreements concerning missionary societies and other para-church organizations as well as the use of instruments in regular, weekly worship. They were first recognized as two separate fellowships in the US Census of 1906.
Our Local Church Structure and Governance
There are a large variety of governance styles found in churches. At the Patterson Road Church of Christ we have a staff driven church that is overseen by elders. Elders are spiritually mature men often called “shepherds” or “bishops” in scripture. These men are responsible for the spiritual health and well being of the Christians that consider our congregation to be their church home and place of membership. The Elders have a two-fold role: Providing leadership and spiritual oversight in the congregation:
Our elders steward the vision (see vision later in this document). In other words, they are responsible for ensuring that the congregational mission and direction remain true to God’s calling.
The elders shepherd the spiritual health and well-being of those entrusted to their care. Our elders divide the flock into twelve smaller flocks enabling the elders to give more personal attention to those under their immediate oversight. The elders rotate their “mini” flocks at least twice a year.
The elders meet based on needs but generally twice a month in order to discuss the spiritual needs and workings of the church, pray over immediate needs of families, and preliminary oversight topics. These regular meetings allow church staff members to quickly alert the elders to critical issues and needs relevant to their area of oversight. The Elder/Shepherds then alert the entire eldership if that is deemed necessary. It is one of our elders who will most likely contact you when you are in crisis, in need of prayer, or in need of guidance and help. You may call on any of them at any time.
Our congregation is “staff driven” in that we have professional staff chosen for their ability to lead various ministries. Currently our staff includes: Pulpit minister, Youth minister, Office administrator.
There is no denominational organization or headquarters for the Churches of Christ. Since each local congregation is autonomous, a wide variety of beliefs, interpretations of scripture and practices exist from one Church of Christ to another. The common foundation in our churches is a desire to be Christ centered in all things and root our faith and practice in the Bible alone, not in creeds, councils, or man-made religious laws.
Deacons and Ministry leaders/Coordinators:
Our Deacons lead, direct, and organize many areas of service while focusing on those physical matters of church life freeing up our elders to work as spiritual leaders and pastors. Our church also uses many Ministry Coordinators, both men and women, who serve and lead in many vital areas of service
Each member is expected to become an active participant in any area of service they may be gifted in. If there are no areas of formal ministry that call to you then you are strongly encouraged to start your own ministry effort (small or large) as a contributing part of the family church life and outreach to our community. We do not cater to church spectators. Ours church asks all of its members to be relevant, to grow, to serve and to move beyond feeding on milk and simply attending church with the expectation that others are here to meet your needs (although we are very good at serving each other) but to become invested servants, growing into givers and not just takers when it comes to church life.
Core Values of the Grand Junction Church of Christ
- Compassion, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation
- Spiritual development of each member and each child
- Inclusive and inspiring worship
- Active local and international mission work
- A community defined by love, faith and service in Jesus’ name
- Generosity, Harmony, and Hospitality
- Freedom of thought, open minded regarding Scripture, always learning
- Grace, patience, and forgiveness
- Freedom to create ministries
- Building each other up with words of blessing and acts of service
- Being a part of the solution not a part of the problem
- Truth as embodied in the life of Jesus
- Each member’s life transformed by faith and the Spirit
- Always answering the call of Discipleship, always leading others to follow Jesus
- Deep commitment to and engagement with the underprivileged, sick, and needy of our community
- We love God, others, and honor the Word of God.
Our mission can be summarized by a phrase you will hear often at the Patterson Road Church: “Relevant, Growing, Serving.” Our faith is an active faith. Membership is not something to be taken casually. We believe that Christians should be known by their love, their faith, their character, and their passion for Christ. We connect by being relevant to our culture. We strive to grow closer to Christ and spiritual maturity. We serve others. God has placed us here in this community for such a time as this to penetrate and influence the western slope of Colorado with love and service in the name of Jesus. We intend to introduce all we meet to a transforming relationship with Jesus while renewing and transforming the lives of individuals, families, and congregations in this region. We are here to make a difference. We are here to expand the borders of the Kingdom of Jesus. Our mission and our vision propel us outward.
When John the Baptist spoke of Jesus, he said “He must increase; I must decrease” [John 3:28-30], he could have been speaking of our vision for each member at this church. Our vision of “Relevance, Growth, and Service” drives us beyond ourselves. While some churches might spend the bulk of their resources in maintaining the status quo and keeping the peace among their members, we reject that model. We do not believe that we have been called to be housekeepers for the Lord. Instead, we are priests, teachers, servants, combatants, and missionaries. Our mission and vision require us to be taking risks and changing lives in relevant ways in our community.
“Christianity” and “church” are not so much about “me or us.” According to Jesus they are about our being salt, light, and leaven for the sake of people who do not know him yet.
We offer these core beliefs as a theological framework to help unify our faith community under the authority of Christ and Holy Scripture, and to advance our efforts to embody the Gospel to the world. Each member is free to study, think, and decide based upon their own interpretation and understanding of these matters. However, this is a brief description of what we generally believe as a church body about these subjects:
We believe there is One Divine Being who has existed eternally. God is the creator, ruler, and sustainer of the universe. He exists and reveals himself to humanity in three distinct, equally divine personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is by nature pure and holy and because of man’s sin is unapproachable without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God is the epitome and very definition of pure love and deeply desires a personal, eternal loving relationship with us (Genesis 1:1; 26-27; Psalm 90:2; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2).
Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the eternal Son of God. He is equal with the Father, and our only way back into the life giving presence of the Father. Jesus chose voluntarily to take on humanity, was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, born both fully human and fully divine. He lived a sinless human life, and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He rose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. Jesus has bought the kingdom rule of God into our world. He ascended to Heaven and will return again someday (Matt. 1:22-23; John 1:1-18; 14:10-30; Heb. 4:14-15; 1Cor. 15:3-4; Romans 1:3-4; Acts 1:1-11; Titus 2:13).
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and Jesus the Son of God. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christ follower from the moment of salvation distinguishing us as children of God, guiding and transforming us in the way of Jesus. He provides us with the power to live a fruitful, victorious life, discernment and understanding of spiritual truth, and boldness in sharing the good news of Jesus with others. The Spirit is also called our Comforter [John 14-16], the One who walks with us to share our burdens and give us guidance and companionship as we walk from here to heaven. The Holy Spirit continuously transforms us into increasing holiness as we daily yield our will to His, desiring to be further changed into Christ’s image. He also gives each Christ-follower unique gifts for the purpose of serving others (2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13; 14:16-17; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:12; 3:16; 12:4-11; Eph. 1:13; Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:18; Rom. 6:11-13).
We believe God created all of humanity in His image, to live in relationship with Him. Being made in God’s image, we were designed for relationship. But due to our own willful rebellion against God, we are alienated from Him and are consequently lost and without hope. Jesus Christ is our only hope for reconciliation through forgiveness. Salvation, the forgiveness of our sins and deliverance by the invasive power of the Spirit of the risen Christ, cannot be earned, but is given freely by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus. We connect with this grace-gift of God through our baptism based upon an obedient and penitent heart. We practice believer’s baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), by immersion; baptizing those who believe and confess that Jesus is Lord of their life (Rom. 3:23-24; Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:1-11; 6:1-11, 23; Eph. 2:8-10).
We believe the Bible is God’s story, His love letter revealing his character to humanity. God divinely inspired human authors allowing them to write with freedom and choice within the context of their own experiences, culture, and traditions to communicate the values which please Him and which are in our eternal best interests. The Bible is accurate, reliable, and completely trustworthy. We accept the Bible as our timeless guide in all matters of life. We do not look upon it as a dead book of rules but as a living narrative of principals and relevant specific guidance that tells us God’s story and, thereby, our story (Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Evil and its Powers
We believe Satan is a real force in the physical and spiritual world. He is the ultimate personification of selfishness and evil. He was originally an angel created as good by God, who, before the creation of the human race, rebelled against the Creator and became the chief antagonist of God and man. He and his army of fallen angels (demons) as well as the oppressive systems they perpetuate continue to work against God’s purposes and God’s children in the world (2 Cor. 4:3-4; Rev. 12:10; Eph. 2:2; 6:11-12). Despite Satan’s evil intentions in the universe God has secured ultimate victory over him, over sin, and over death through Jesus Christ.
The church is not a physical structure, nor is it defined by a sign on the doorpost. The church is a living, spiritual organism that Scripture calls the “body of Christ” and includes all the saved of the world. Jesus is the head of the body that carries out his ministry in today’s world. The church is also called the Bride of Christ, the Community or Gathering, and the Fellowship within communities. We believe the Spirit empowered, Bible based, Jesus centered, and love intensive local church family is the primary vehicle God uses to represent Jesus on earth and reach out to a hurting and fallen world. The local church is also your community of love, service, fellowship, and friendship (Col. 2:19; Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27).
As stated before, each congregation of the Church of Christ is an independent entity led by its own staff and overseen by its own appointed elders. Because of that, each congregation has its own distinct character and you can expect to find variety in worship style, leadership style, and practice from churches with the same name world-wide.
One of the ways that we at the Patterson Road Church of Christ may be unique is its view of membership. As a fellowship we emphasize the necessity of baptism by immersion of people (young and old) who have professed their faith in Jesus. However, we welcome those who have not yet come to that understanding of baptism. As long as they exhibit by their words, actions, attitudes, and character that they belong to Jesus and that they believe that Jesus is the Christ, they are considered members at our church. If they choose to join us on our faith journey, we welcome them. Because baptism is so important to us, due to our understanding of scripture, we do not typically use un-baptized members as teachers or as ministry leaders. It is our hope that those members who have not yet put on the Lord in baptism will do so but we have committed to accept them, love them, and welcome them into our community even before their baptism.
Some churches restrict membership in the community of believers to only those who have been baptized. Our view is that this practice tends to screen some out of the Kingdom of God, forever. They never get the chance to get close enough to people of faith for that to rub off on them. What they get instead is a discouraging message that says “unless and until you share our understanding and interpretations then we do not accept you.” Our conviction is that for many in our culture, they “belong” to our church family and begin to get connected with the community of faith BEFORE they fully “believe” in the biblical sense.
That is the primary reason we hold the position we do as it relates to baptism and church membership, since “church membership” is not a concept that is found in the New Testament. We encourage all who can to identify themselves as members at the Patterson road Church of Christ and intentionally engage in the process of connecting with God and other believers, grow in the understanding and practice of faith, becoming an active participant in the works and ministries of the church and in serving others with the gifts and abilities that God has given. We discourage our members from being content to be simply “Sunday Christians.”
Many churches require new members to sign a doctrinal statement. We do not. What we do require is that each member lives up to a very high moral standard. We require every member to cooperate with the Spirit in order to grow the fruits of the Spirit in their life (Galatians 5:22-23) and to love one another in spite of any differences – political, doctrinal, etc. – that may exist between them. (I Cor. 13; 1 Peter 4:8; John 13:35) We will hold each member to account for their moral choices. We believe that as salt and light in this world and as cities set on a hill, our life IS our testimony of faith and, as such, cannot be allowed to be undermined by anger, division, immorality, arguing over non-essential matters, or the breaking of our covenants. Despite personal imperfection in each of us, we believe that a holy life is the sign that we actually believe what we claim to believe – that Jesus is Lord (Micah 6:8; James 1:26,27).
Church family life:
We believe that no one can make this faith journey alone so we ask all members to be a member of a Life Group – a smaller group that gathers at various places during the week to offer each other support, love, and encouragement and takes on specific ministry endeavors and service projects as needed.
(The above Life Group ministry is still under consideration)
We expect each member to attend our weekly worship gatherings, participate in that assembly, be intentional about greeting and meeting visitors and seekers to our assembly, and to give in keeping with their financial blessings understanding the Lord, not our money and possessions, is God. No one will tell you how much to give, or question you about whether you decide to give or not. We realize the Lord spoke about money very frequently and taught us that how we give is a demonstration of how we view material possessions. From time to time God may give us opportunity to meet an emergency need that may arise. We hope that this opportunity to bless someone would be above and beyond our normal weekly contribution.
All members are encouraged to visit with the elders as frequently as they desire and to seek their direction and guidance as needed. However, because of our responsibility to grow in maturity and discernment we ask that all personal preference issues be prayed over and seriously considered before bringing them to our eldership.
We expect our members to resolve any conflicts according to Jesus’ direction in Matthew 18:15-17. This involves as a first step going to that brother or sister and making things right before involving others or the church leadership.
If there are specific questions or concerns you may have our Shepherds will gladly visit with you. We will not always agree or interpret Scripture the same yet we can be One in Christ, saved by His blood, in fellowship with one another for the Kingdom’s sake despite various opinions, traditions and preferences in worship and life.