The Branch is a community of people in awe of the Gospel, embodying the Gospel, and giving our lives away because of the Gospel.
The essence of most religions is ‘try-harder’ or ‘do-better’. Actually, most people believe that Christianity is all about behavior modification, suggesting things one ought to do and ought not to do. Life becomes an ethical game of wishful thinking, hoping that our efforts tip the cosmic scale toward good enough. And yet amid the backdrop of our attempt at becoming ‘better people’ the Gospel declares our effort misplaced. Therefore, the central and core vision of The Branch is to continually and habitually be awed by this Gospel. To be so enamored by the life and death of Jesus Christ that our eyes and hearts never leave its grasp.
To the degree that we accomplish this essential task we will begin to embody the Gospel, experiencing freedom, grace and transformation into the character of Christ. Practically, this means that we can forgive those who have wounded us because Christ has forgiven us, extend grace to the undeserving because we too are utterly undeserving and serve sacrificially because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. As a result, we have the glorious privilege and opportunity to live on God’s mission, giving our lives away because of the Gospel. Therefore, we share this good news with our friends, neighbors and the world, serve our community, fight for the oppressed and advocate for the marginalized.
There are six manifestations or pictures that we desire to see as a result of the outworking of this vision. Pictures are wonderful because they put a face on inner realities, and communicate to the world around what is true. These pictures are results. They are not the vision. The vision is God. His glory. Our joy. All revealed in His great story, the Gospel. We cherish these pictures. We desire to see them manifested. But, ultimately they are manifested to the extent that God is desired and the Gospel cherished.
Life is complicated. But Christianity, at its core, is quite simple. In other words, because of the myriad obligations which accompany each day we purposefully chose to simplify church in order to maximize our efforts in loving God and our fellow neighbor.
A revival is a work of the Spirit of God in such a way that individuals, communities and cultures are forever changed. This is not manufactured by techniques or rituals, but is solely a work of God which centers on the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our prayer that Oregon State and Corvallis would experience a massive work of the Spirit of God, highlighting the person of Christ, for the transformation of the people of God and the good of the community.
Many wrongly believe that Christianity is both boring and for lack of a better term, a killjoy. Yet as the Westminster shorter catechism states “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”. In other words, Christianity by nature produces joy in connection with our relationship with God and our fellow man. Thus we are a community which enjoys God, enjoys life and enjoys people.
Sometimes community can be a place where we pretend to have all of the answers while creating a kind of façade which we relentlessly seek to protect and project. But a community grounded in the gospel is an authentic community which forgives quickly, showers one another in grace and loves self-sacrificially. Thus, there is no need for charades because our identity and approval is secure in Christ and we are freed to enter into one another’s stories.
This is a broken world, filled with broken people and encompassing many broken dreams. All of this gives rise to the need for compassion. The English word compassion literally means to ‘suffer with’. It is rooted in the patient actions of an individual to a person in the midst of suffering. However, this is not a mere intellectual ascent but passion enflamed to action. Compassion in action includes serving, fighting injustice and seeking the prosperity of our beautiful city.
Missional is the act of being on mission. We believe that every Christian is a missionary for Christ in the context to which they live. In other words, a disciple of Christ by nature reproduces, or invests in the lives of other people, teaching them the gospel and how to grow in their relationship with Christ. Thus we value training, empowering and sending people to become missionaries to their neighbors, dorms, social networks and to the extended world.