- Know God
- The Torch
We believe that the basis of the Christian faith is to know God through repentance for sin, receiving Jesus Christ as Lord, and building an intimate abiding relationship with Him allows us to be conformed into His image. God has declared us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ and not by our ability or inability to do or not do a certain work but by faith alone (John 1:12; John 15:1-10; John 17:3; Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 5:21). All values and guiding principles for us must be rooted in the scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Timothy 2:15). We see ourselves as one of the branches from The Vine Himself which comes from John 15:1-4 where Jesus says that He is the True Vine and His Father (God) is the Gardener, and we (as believers) are the branches. He lets us know that apart from abiding in (or remaining in) the Vine (Jesus Christ) we can do nothing and will not have a fruitful life. Therefore, we seeks to bring all people into the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ and into an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.
We recognize that we desperately need the person and power of the Holy Spirit to minister effectively to our generation. Changed lives are not the product of men’s wisdom, but in the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit as modeled in the New Testament church (I Corinthians 2:2-5; John 15:5). We believe it is essential for a believer to be baptized with the Holy Spirit if he or she desires to have spiritual gifts and to have kingdom power accompanying their witness of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 13:14; John 4:23-24; Acts 1:5; 11:16). All decisions for the church need to be made by those abiding with the Lord Jesus Christ by listening to the Holy Spirit as we make prayer a priority and learn to be worshipers. Worship helps us focus on the Lord and allows us to more clearly hear His voice. We recognize that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against demonic forces. Jesus Christ is our Lord, our Savior, our Healer and our Deliverer (Ephesians 6:12; I John 3:8).
It is our belief that God institutes marriage and family, and healthy, stable families are essential for the church to be effective in fulfilling its mission. Parents are called by God to walk in the character of Christ and to train their children in the nurture and loving discipline of the Lord Christ (Mark 10:6-8; Ephesians 5:22-6:4). The Lord is calling His people to walk in the fear of the Lord and in a biblical standard of holiness and purity. Marriage covenants between one man and one woman are ordained by God and need to be honored and kept (Genesis 2:22-24; Proverbs 16:6; Mark 10:9; I Thessalonians 4:3-8; I Corinthians 6:18-20).
Believing that our God is turning the hearts of the fathers and mothers to the sons and daughters in our day, we are committed to spiritual parenting on every level of church and ministry life (Malachi 4:5-6; I Corinthians 4:15-17). Participation in a church or abiding groups is a fundamental commitment. The churches, abiding groups are fellowship of believers and/or families who are committed to one another and to reaching others for Christ. We believe the Lord desires to raise up spiritual families in many levels including the local church, abiding groups, congregations, apostolic movements in the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 12:18; Ephesians 4:16). We believe each spiritual family needs to share common values, vision, goals, and a commitment to build together, with the need to receive ongoing training in these areas (Psalm 133; II Peter 1:12,13; II Timothy 2:2). We are committed to reaching, training and releasing young people as co-laborers for the harvest, as the young and the old labor together (Acts 2:17; Jeremiah. 31:13).
Multiplication is expected and encouraged in every sphere of church life. Churches should multiply into new churches and abiding groups should multiply into new abiding groups. Church multiplication, or starting abiding groups needs to be a long-term goal of every church or abiding group; for God’s design is that everything reproduces after its own kind (Acts 9:31; Mark 4:20; Genesis 1:11-25). The VFN family of churches will be made up of many new regional families of churches as apostolic fathers and mothers are released in the nations of the world (Acts 11:19-30; Acts 13-15).
Serving others and building trust and relationships is a desired experience in every area of church/kingdom life. We believe the best place to begin to serve and experience trust and relationship is in the church or abiding group. (Acts 2:42-47; Ephesians 4:16; Galatians 5:13). We are joined together primarily by God-given family relationships as a organism, not by organization, hierarchy, or bureaucracy (I Peter 2:5).
According to the scriptures, every Christian is a priest who needs to hear from the Lord personally (Revelation 1:5-6).
Every believer is called of God to minister to others and needs to be equipped for this work with the home as a center for ministry. Fivefold ministers are the Lord’s gifts to His church. He uses fivefold persons, both men and women, to help equip each believer to become an effective minister in order to build up the body of Christ. (I Peter 4:9; Ephesians 4:11-12).
We believe every sphere of leadership needs to include a clear servant-leader called by God and a team who is called to walk with him or her. The leader has the anointing and responsibility to discern the mind of the Lord that is expressed through the leadership team ( II Corinthians 10:13-16; Numbers 27:16; I Peter 5:1-4). Leaders are called to listen to what the Lord is saying through those whom they serve and apostolic leadership as they model servant-leadership and walk in an abiding relationship with the Lord. We value godly character (personal, relational and behavioral fruit) recognized by those around a prospective leader being a major factor of recognized leadership, understanding that gifting can take us places, but it will be God’s grace and our character which will keep us in that place. Someone’s call to minister rests on their character and must be carried out through godly character. They are called to walk in humility, integrity, in the fruit of the Spirit, and in the fear of the Lord. We believe the Lord calls both men and women to serve in various roles of leadership in His church (Acts 6:2-6; Acts 15; Matthew 20:26; Galatians 5:22-23; Matthew 7:15-23; Romans 16:7). We believe God raises up both apostolic overseers and church elders to direct, protect, correct and discipline the church. These leaders must model the biblical qualifications for leadership (Acts 15; Acts 6:1-4; I Timothy 3; Titus 1). Those with other spiritual gifts including administrative gifts (ministry of helps) need to be released to fulfill the Lord’s vision on each level of church life (I Corinthians 12). In every area of church life we believe we need to respect those who are over us in the Lord and hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. (Hebrews 13:17; I Thessalonians 5:12-13).
The practice of tithing and offerings is a grace, based on a revelation of God, as a response to God’s blessing and increase on our life, to be shared with paid ministers and less fortunate who are in our areas of contact. (Genesis14:17-20; 28:10-22; I Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 7:3; John 8:56) Grace abounds in the heart of the giver and God blesses the heart and the giving. We are to love and give to one another should not have to be said. We are God’s kids, and He loves us. As we love Him and others we will enter into a lifestyle of giving, which is really what this is all about, shown by God’s example of giving His Son Jesus Christ for us. Live to give, and when you do, you will find a steady flow moving towards you, and a steady flow out from you. (Matthew 23; Matthew 6:21; Mark 7:9-13; Acts 15:1-21; Acts 2:22-45; Acts 4:32; II Corinthians 8:3-14; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 6:38; II Corinthians 9:6; II Corinthians 9:8; John 3:16) We believe that every area of ministry and church life needs to be responsible financially and accountable to those giving them oversight in order to maintain a high standard of integrity. Spiritual leaders receiving a salary from the church are discouraged from setting their own salary level (Galatians 6:5; Romans 15:14; I Thessalonians 5:22; II Corinthians 8:20-21, Acts 6:1-7).
Jesus instructs us to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth to those who have never heard the Gospel. Our mission is to reach the unreached areas of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Loving God, loving others and leading others to do the same and through church multiplication. Joining together we can work with the body of Christ to reach the unreached (Matthew 24:14, Acts 1:8, Acts 13:1-4, II Corinthians 10:15-16). We are also called to help the poor and needy, those in prison, orphans and widows. This includes our reaching out to the poor locally, nationally and internationally. When we help the poor, both materially and spiritually, we are lending to the Lord (Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 16:15-16; Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:10-12; Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; Proverbs 19:17).
Our focus is on our Lord and His kingdom. We are just a part, a stream, in God’s kingdom. We are called to relate together with other groups, streams, in the body of Christ and pursue unity in His church as we reach the world together (Matthew 6:33; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 17; Psalm 133). We believe in utilizing and sharing the resources of people and materials the Lord has blessed us with. (I Corinthians 12; Acts 2:44-45). Our unifying focus is on Christ, His Word and the Great Commission, and we believe we should not be distracted by minor differences (Romans 14:5).