Union Church is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, a denomination that is a part of the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. Our theological tradition believes that God invites us to a life fully surrendered to Jesus, empowered by His grace and the Holy Spirit, which enables us to love God, people, and our world more fully.
We are created to worship something, in other words, we are shaped by what we worship... by what we love. We are a church that exists to worship Jesus who gives us purpose and direction in life. Therefore, our desire is to live out the beauty, majesty, and sacrificial love of Jesus - to show that He is worthy of our worship in all we do and with all that we are. "And I (Jesus said), when I am lifted up...will draw all people to myself." John 12:32 Our worship gatherings are not about a certain style or aesthetic, but about discovering more and more who Jesus is and how He lived, wrestling with difficult truths and complicated issues in our lives, our faith, our church, and our culture. We will incorporate artistic aspects allowing us to worship, pray and seek God more fully in ways that enable us to connect with Jesus authentically.
We believe that Jesus is still in the business of transforming our lives more and more into people who love deeply and serve humbly. We believe that this happens by the presence of Jesus (the Holy Spirit) in our lives who uses, among other things, mentoring (discipling) relationships. Helping each other fall more in love with Jesus is not just an informational exercise, but one that requires ongoing meaningful relationships. Jesus' love, grace, peace, justice, and acceptance (etc.) aren't just committed to memory, but practiced in relationship with each other. Because of this, transformational discipleship involves building relationships that foster care and authenticity that invite Jesus' gift of confession to heal our broken lives. We learn together that the Holy Spirit moves even in the messy, difficult and uncomfortable times to make us more like Jesus. To cause our identities (who we are rooted in Christ) to become more and more unbreakable even as the storms of life come (Matthew 7:24-29).
In light of who Jesus is, we are and strive to be multi-ethnic, inclusive, and welcoming to all people. In Christ, there is no race considered more important than another. Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew who lived as a refugee in Egypt as a boy. He frustrated Jews with His inclusivity of Gentiles; even physically clearing out the stores and shops in the Temple that were inhibiting the Gentiles worship space. Jesus frustrated the elite of His culture with His love and care for the social outcasts of His society: the poor, the physically and mentally disabled, and the "sinners". He included, taught and honored women, even as the cultural norms of His society were drastically different. So much so, that the first witness and teacher of Jesus' resurrection was a woman. The gospel of Jesus means there are now no more "outsiders".
We are created to exist and to experience the presence of Jesus in community. As those created in the image of God, we reflect the triune nature of God who exists in perfect community as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This means that the church is not intended to be a group of individuals who happen to sing songs in the same church building once a week. We are intended to be a family of worshippers who are brought into union with each other not because we always agree, like the same things, or because we all look the same, but instead because we have been united to each other through Jesus' love and grace. Jesus' Kingdom shows up when we worship together; loving and serving each other and our neighbors.
We live as those who are sent. Just as the Father sent the Son into the world, so too Jesus sends His church into the world. Therefore, to live as a follower of Jesus means that we participate with Jesus' mission in the world. A mission that gives us the ministry of reconciliation; to reconcile neighbors, co-workers, family members, and strangers to Jesus (2Corinthians 5:18-20). Jesus' reconciliation, Jesus' freedom, is also a mission that includes dismantling injustice and inequality. Jesus came to set us free to live in a kingdom culture; to be freed ourselves more and more and to offer freedom to the oppressed and enslaved. This will be expressed as we give our time, resources, and talents to our broken world.