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One of the scribes asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is this: love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

Mark 12:28-29

There are some fundamental assumptions we make about what it means to follow Jesus and to invite as many people as possible to join us. Here’s a little about our core values.

Open

What if there was a church that said "all are welcome" and actually meant it?

We believe there was: the first Christians welcomed everyone. Jesus taught them that God's love extends to all people, no matter what. At The Story Houston, we also believe God's love is universal, so TSH will be universally welcoming. When we say "all are welcome," we mean it. For this reason, our first Core Value is OPENNESS. We will be an open church. Scripture References: Matthew 11:28-30, Acts 2:37-42, Romans 3:28, Galatians 3:28, 1 Timothy 2:4, Joel 2:28-29

United

What if Christians could agree to disagree?

We recognize that any group of people is bound to have some differences; the temptation is to let them come between us. At The Story we believe God's Love is bigger than our differences, so we insist on being united. We will never agree on every issue, but we agree to love each other regardless because before anything else we are a church about Jesus (not religion or politics or denominationalism) and Jesus unites us in our diversity. At The Story Houston, we are male and female, conservative and liberal, old and young, brown, black, and white, Longhorns, Aggies, Tigers, and Bears (oh my), and we are One in Jesus Christ. At times, we may agree to disagree on some issues, but we always find common ground in Christ. For this reason, our second Core Value is UNITY. Scripture References: John 13:34, Ephesians 2:14, Ephesians 4:1-6, Colossians 3:11-14

Honest

What if Christians stopped treating Doubt like an enemy?

We don't have all the answers, so at The Story Houston we will always welcome honest questions and doubts. We're all about following Jesus, who had questions of his own the night before his death and as he died on the cross. So, you've got questions about science and faith? Jesus and the world's religions? Contradictions in the bible? Why God created evil? Why God created mosquitos? What's the deal with Comcast customer service? We hear you; we've got questions, too. At The Story, we believe doubt isn't the enemy of faith, but the fuel of faith. Your questions will always be welcome here, because our third Core Value is HONESTY. Scripture References: Matthew 27:46, Psalm 10, 44, 74, 77, The Book of Job

Sacramental

What if the Church was like bread and wine?

At The Story Houston, we believe our life together is sacramental: it is an outward expression of an inward grace. Like the water poured out in a baptism or the rings exchanged at a wedding, the Church should be a profound symbol of God's love in the world. In everything we do, our driving purpose will be to express the love of God. This also means we refuse to busy ourselves with programs and meetings that don't prioritize sharing God's love. The Story will be like the bread and wine served at Communion: a powerful reminder that God is with us, with our city, and with all creation, because our fourth core value is Sacramental. Scripture References: Matthew 26:17-30, Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

Sacrificial

What if the Church's first priority was to make the world a better place?

At The Story Houston, our loyalty lies with Jesus, not with any political party, pet social issues, or religious denomination. What we love about Jesus is that, everywhere he went, he transformed lives and cities. Feeding the hungry. Healing the broken. Loving the lonely. Welcoming the outcast. That was Jesus' purpose, so it must be ours as well. We will put our faith to work at The Story, locally and globally, by striving to live, give, and budget selflessly and generously, because our fifth core value is Sacrifice. Scripture References: Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 22:26, James 1:27, Leviticus 19:33-34

Beliefs

  • God created everything.
  • God thinks creation is essentially good.
  • God desires intimate relationship with human beings.
  • God insists on giving humans the freedom to choose good or evil.
  • Human rebellion against the will of God (sin) isolates us from God and each other.
  • In spite of sin, God refuses to give up on creation.
  • Jesus is God’s clearest, boldest attempt to bridge the chasm created by sin.
  • Jesus’ teachings reveal the heart of God. God is love.
  • By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus makes it known that grace has defeated sin.
  • By receiving the grace of God through Christ, human beings can be redeemed and set free from sin and death.
  • The Holy Spirit makes it possible to grow deeper in our Communion with God and each other.
  • Baptism and Holy Communion stand out as the most important symbolic acts for the Church.
  • The Church exists to proclaim the Good News of God’s Kingdom come.
  • To that end, the Church has sometimes fallen short, and we are sorry.
  • We remain steadfast in our hope that Christ will come again to usher in the fullness of God’s glorious vision for creation.