“The Gospel” is Good News: Jesus came to Earth to reveal the heart of God to us. He provided salvation for us because we could not save ourselves. He was perfect because we are not and, through simple faith in him, we receive his spiritual perfection and are restored into a right relationship with God. At Charis, we want this gospel – the simple good news of the person and work of Jesus – to be the core of everything we do. This means we avoid getting distracted by denominational disputes, politics, and other divisive issues. We want to agree on Jesus and keep other matters in their proper places.
We like to say that "Charis is a safe place to be dangerous!” We encourage all people (leaders included) to be open and transparent with themselves, God, and others. Because God has already given us acceptance, approval, and freedom in Jesus, we do not need to defend ourselves or pretend to be something we are not. We are truly, scandalously free.
We desire to share that freedom with others and allow them the opportunity to explore the Gospel without judgment or pressure. Whether you are a Christ-follower, spiritual seeker, or undecided, that is okay. You will be welcomed as part of our community and free to engage in conversations about this spiritual journey that we are traveling together.
We desire to build relationships that are honest and genuine, with no hidden agendas. People are not projects here. Everyone has the freedom to converse, to hear and be heard, and share in meaningful relationships. The spiritual journey is about having the conversations, not necessarily the answers. At Charis, no one claims to have it all figured out – we are all seeking God’s truth together.
We are are all people in process and therefore, we are all in different phases of our journeys. We value acceptance in community without regard to differences in age, race, gender, sexuality, spirituality, culture, etc. The Gospel frees us to truly love one another both in how we are alike and how we are different.
We seek to do ministry the way that Jesus did. He did not spurn the people or culture around him. He also did not separate himself from the secular and create a Christian subculture. Jesus lovingly engaged, especially those who did not fit the religious status quo. He was able to challenge people into healthy growth, without judgment or condemnation. We seek to do the same.
The Gospel frees us from moral performance and legalism. We are not stuck on a hamster wheel, working tirelessly to earn God’s favor, because we already have it in Jesus. There is nothing we can do, or fail to do, that will cause God to love us any more or less than he already does. This means our obedience will come as a result of a free and loving relationship with God, arising out of a grateful heart for what he has done, rather than as a means to earn points with him or escape his anger.
We believe that as we hear and receive the grace of God, he will lovingly transform us into the people we were created to be. This will happen as a natural, organic result of engaging in relationship with him. Therefore, we do not need to coerce people or seek to “convert” them. This beautiful paradox allows us to both celebrate the transforming power of the Gospel, yet also accept each other just as we are, trusting God with the results.
Our organization is named after the Greek word “charis” (pronounced CARE-iss; rhymes with miss) from the New Testament. This is a tiny word that packs colossal meaning: the radical, immeasurable, and uncompromising grace of God towards his children. The essential meaning is undeserved kindness, favor, or grace, which is what God shows to us, and what we seek to show to one another.
What We Believe About the Gospel
By nature, we are the image-bearers of God, created by him as his beloved children. We carry upon us the stamp of the divine! But just like the world in which we live, we have been marred and broken by sin. Sin has been called “leprosy of the soul” because it infects and distorts the image of God we bear. This has caused us to lose touch with the true essence of our Creator God and has separated us from relationship with him. But God loves us passionately and refuses to give up on us.
In pursuit of his children, God himself came to Earth in the person of Jesus. Jesus was the Word of God made flesh - he was the fulfillment of the biblical law. He was morally perfect and righteous, yet he humbled himself for our sakes and died a criminal’s death on a Roman cross. But that’s not the end of the story: He also conquered sin and death once and for all as he resurrected from the grave. In Jesus, we are made absolutely perfect and spiritually faultless. This is a radical notion since we ourselves are still imperfect in our fleshly bodies, but God’s extravagant grace makes the unthinkable possible!
The Heart Matters
Because our salvation hinges on what Jesus did instead of what we do, we prefer to focus on matters of the heart rather than outward behavior management. Good behavior is external and can be conjured up by human effort, but only God can change the heart. That’s why we have no agenda to change people; instead, we seek to create an environment for people to experience God’s grace for themselves, and then allow them the freedom to respond as they are called. We desire spiritual transformation, which occurs organically as we live in relationship with God. It is not mere religiosity or moral behavior. As the Gospel of grace grows and takes root, outward behavior changes naturally, in step with the Spirit. We seek to surrender our agendas to God and give him space to work in our own lives, as well as in the lives of others.
100% Approval Rating
Through Jesus, we already have God’s approval – we do not need to work for it! This frees us up to enjoy an authentic and loving relationship with him. We obey because we truly want to, not out of fear or with ulterior motives to earn “brownie points” with God. We are completely, radically, and scandalously free!
This radical degree of freedom can be scary, but we believe as the grace of God roots deeply in our hearts, we will find ourselves sincerely desiring to please God. Our entire beings will be transformed as we experience his grace and grow into the people we were created us to be.
First, we are compelled to share the Gospel out of generosity and love, not guilt.
Second, we are freed from fear of being ridiculed or hurt by others, since we already have the favor of God by grace.
Third, there is humility in our dealings with others, because we know we are saved only by grace alone, not because of our superior insight or character.
Fourth, we are hopeful about anyone, even the “hard cases,” because we were saved only because of grace, not because we were likely people to be Christians.
Fifth, we are courteous and careful with people. We don’t have to push or coerce them, for it is only God’s grace that opens hearts, not our eloquence or persistence.