What Makes Us Different

At Moon Valley, we share a common mission with a lot of other churches who take the Bible seriously.  Jesus calls it making disciples.  It involves helping people to believe in Jesus for eternal life and to grow in their relationship with him.  We feel a kinship and not a competition with other like-minded churches who share this mission.

What makes Moon Valley unique is not so much what we’re trying to accomplish, but rather how we go about it and who we want to be as people.  A blend of two ingredients creates a Moon Valley culture that is distinctive:  we try to be relationally safe and biblically sound.  It’s not either/or; it’s both/and.  And that makes all the difference.  We’re both safe and sound.

 

Relationally Safe & Biblically Sound

This doesn’t make us better than others, just deliberately different for the sake of reaching some people who aren’t being reached.  Generally, churches that are biblically sound have not been known for being relationally safe; conversely, churches that are relationally safe have not been known for being biblically sound.  But we’re both safe and sound.  And frankly, this may perplex some long-time church people who have come to expect that the presence of one dictates the absence of the other.

But we’re okay with that because we’re not trying to reach church people, but those who don’t go to church, either because they’ve given up on it or have never gone.  In particular, we want to reach the unchurched among younger generations.  Not because we don’t care about anybody else, but because the future of the church depends on it, and it fits the biblical pattern of one generation reaching the next generation.

This does not mean that those of you who are older will be overlooked or neglected or considered unimportant at Moon Valley.  On the contrary, you are vital to our calling, and we welcome all ages.  In fact, if we are to reach the next generation, it will only be to the extent that we unselfishly reach for them together.

So here’s what we have in mind when we say safe and sound.

Relationally Safe

We want to create an extraordinary environment of grace, humility, warmth, attentiveness, and personal acceptance in which everyone feels welcome among us, everyone is treated as an equal, everyone matters, and everyone can safely consider the next step toward Christ with us, regardless of background or orientation or beliefs or baggage.

Being relationally safe means there’s a freedom to disagree, to be on the fence, to have doubts, to be skeptical, to not have everything figured out.  And the vibe is not judgy or homophobic or political or anti-science.  There’s a freedom to be who you are, to be authentic, to be vulnerable, to be broken and loved anyway, without pretense or platitudes.

Being relationally safe also means that it’s not going to be embarrassing or awkward or weird to invite your unchurched friends to Moon Valley.  Or to be a guest.  No ambushes are lurking.  We’re not big on manipulation or arm-twisting or closing some deal.  We don’t even pass a plate because we don’t want anybody to feel pressured to give.

To us, being relationally safe also includes being community-minded as opposed to self-serving.  We’re not just interested in putting more conversion notches on our belts, or getting more people and money so we can feather our own nest; we genuinely want to enrich our community, both locally and globally, even for the good of those who may never share our faith.  If some neighbor were to say of us, “I’m not buying their religion, but they’re sure good for our community,” that would be a win.

Biblically Sound

We’re convinced that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that it is without error in its original writing, and that it is our final authority under God for what to believe and how to live.  Through the Bible, we find our true story.  And within our story, we find meaning and hope and guidance from the one who created us.  Within our story, we find that we are a big part of something bigger, and that inspires us.

It’s not surprising, then, that we view everything we do through the lens of the Bible, asking “Is it biblical?” not just “Will it work?” or “Is it popular?”  Our sermons are not fluffy pep talks tied loosely to some biblical prooftexts we think might support our own ideas.  We dig deeply into the Bible to understand God’s message for us in its proper context.  And we reflect deeply on how to apply the Bible to our lives.

We’re so committed to trying to understand and apply the Bible that sometimes our own sacred cows get grilled.  Sometimes we find that what we’ve always been taught, or what we’ve always heard, or what we’ve always thought doesn’t exactly square with the Scriptures.

And when we’re faced with parts of the Bible that are challenging or confusing, we don’t summarily relegate them to the fine print.  We struggle to understand and apply, recognizing that we may end up saying, “I just don’t get it,” or “I get it, but I’m not sure I like it.”  Moon Valley is a safe place to struggle.

Even if you’re not convinced that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that’s okay; we still think you’ll find it so true-to-life and so timeless and so helpful that you’ll benefit from its teachings.

So, that’s what we mean by relationally safe and biblically sound.  That’s what makes Moon Valley different.  We’re not trying to be all things to all people.  But we might be just the thing for you.

© 2017 Moon Valley Bible Church | Phoenix, AZ   |   Meeting at Thunderbird High School, 1750 W Thunderbird Road, Phoenix, AZ US 85023