Valley Life Churches are essentially a network of churches that choose to cooperate together. We believe that we can do more together than we can do apart. Of the things that make up our connection to each other like common vision and sharing of staff members, none are as important to who we are as our decision to do theology together.
Doing theology together boils down to a meeting that happens each week where we gather up pastors, planters, preachers, kids leaders, worship leaders, graphic designers and anyone else who might be interested from each church. We talk about God’s word to prepare for Sunday morning. This includes the sermon and accompanying songs that highlight the specific doctrines undergirding the sermon. We work on questions for community groups that spur discussion and the curriculum that will be taught to children. When we gather each week to do theology, we do so for four reasons.
We Do Theology to Know God
When the pastors get together with other leaders each week, we do so in order to know God better. Before standing on the platform each Sunday, every pastor must submit himself to the Scripture’s scrutiny. We must allow the Bible to examine us more than we examine it. We find out more about who God is and what he is like. His word changes us, and we stay under his word until the change happens in our hearts. When we see the vast difference between who he is and who we are, we know that we have something to preach to his people.
We Do Theology for Real Life Change
One of my favorite parts of being a pastor is the immediate application of the word to my own life and the life of the people in the church. We study, prepare, and do theology in real time. As soon as a lesson is complete or a page is written, it is applied. As much as a brick mason can look at the wall he has built, or a carpenter can admire a refinished kitchen cabinet, the pastor doing theology can apply what he has learned, written, or taught to people’s very lives and see real change.
We Do Theology for Evangelism
It is no secret that Valley Life Church wants to see people converted to Christianity. When we bring preachers and pastors together to do theology each week, we do so with a desire for those who are spiritually dead to be made alive. Every sermon we prepare, song we practice or lesson we write is at least partly to convert the unbeliever.
We Do Theology for Worship
The ultimate end of theological pursuit is to worship God. There is no human being who does not worship. Theology then is the study of right worship or a reordering of worship. To know the perfections, characteristics, and actions of God moves the theologian to worship. It prepares the minister or teacher to lead others in worship. Even as the teachers and pastors of Valley Life Churches gather to study and prepare, we are doing so with a heart ready to be moved to worship him. We worship God as a group that we might be able to lead others to worship as a church.
When the people of Valley Life Churches are able to see more clearly who God is, repent of their sins against him, and turn to Christ for salvation, they are able to praise him. The ultimate end of theology is to prepare people, both inside and outside of the church, to praise and worship God.