The Parish Church is a new church plant in Sonoma County, CA. Our heart is to see the gospel of Christ saturate our lives and our city so that every man, woman, and child has a daily encounter with Jesus. We believe that the healthiest, most fruitful, and biblically formed way to be the church is to live together as a family through the everyday stuff of life. We do this primarily through Missional Communities (MC's) - a family of servant missionaries sent on mission by God as disciples who make disciples. As the Spirit grows the church and we multiply into more than one MC, we will begin to gather together on Sundays to celebrate what the Lord is doing in and through us!
Below, you can explore through some of our core identities and rhythms that pertain to how we live out the gospel as a family. We're so excited to be at this stage of gathering disciples who are as passionate as we are for seeing the love of Christ blanket Sonoma County. If at any point you have questions or feel like the Spirit might be pointing you towards The Parish Church, please visit the What's Next page and reach out.
We believe Missional Communities (MC's) are families of servant missionaries sent on mission by God to make disciples who make disciples. MC’s are where we gather together, worship and submit to Jesus in all of life by learning to love one another as family, serve the “least of these” in our midst, and be a witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Just as Christ said, "all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35, ESV), we believe that the gospel being lived in the context of community is the best apologetic. For this reason, MC's are the primary organizing structure of The Parish Church and are usually organized geographically (where you live // shared mission) vs. affinity (what stage of life you're in // more inward focused).
DNA Groups are an extension of MC's where a smaller group of men or women (gender specific) meet regularly to share how they are growing as disciples, to pray for one another, and to help each other fight sin. These are groups where some of the greatest transformations and growth can happen. To join a DNA group, simply find an MC and tell them you'd like to be part of one. DNA stands for:
- Discover the truths of the Gospel in Scripture
- Nurture these truths into our hearts, leading to repentance and faith in the Gospel
- Act in faith to obey what Jesus calls us to do and share with others what he is doing in our lives
In regards to how we live as the church, we try to continually ask the question: What narrative do we find in Scripture regarding the local church and what patterns or rhythms were intended to be normative (repeated, continued on, etc.)? We believe that the gathering of the saints (by means of a collective gathering) to worship (through preaching/teaching the Word, music, prayer, honoring the sacraments, etc.) and to celebrate all of life is one of those patterns/rhythms. If there is one thing that we see as a potential downfall to the more "organic" approach of "missional church," it's been the undesirable side effect of people neglecting the gathering of the whole church - especially on the sabbath. On the flip side, we also don't believe that everything the church does should be an onramp to the Sunday Service. Neither extreme fits with the pattern of the Old and New Testaments description of God's people gathering to worship him together. As the Spirit grows The Parish Church, we're excited to gather all of the MC's together on Sunday mornings to worship!
the chief shepherd
All leaders in the church are called first and foremost to be servants and in so doing, their lives and ministries are modeled after Christ's (Mark 10:42-45, Philippians 2:1-8). They become the types of leaders that we see Paul, Peter, and John imploring the disciples to be in the early church throughout their letters. Disciples that are not disconnected authoritarians but rather servants who love and shepherd the church. This servant leadership lives in acknowledgement that our identity is as those called by Christ (disciples) and leadership is merely a role that we serve. This places Christ as the rightful head of his church, the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).
Where some have muddled the waters, we believe that the narrative (story) of scripture paints a remarkably clear picture that the church is to be led by a plurality of elders and deacons with elders being the primary overseers of the church. Together, they serve the church through loving and leading the saints ever closer to Christ.
We believe that the bible calls for elders to lead the church and that it calls for men to fill that role (either vocationally or non-vocationally). The men that serve as elders must meet the highest qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and must be men of irrefutable Godly character. These are not men characterized as domineering and crash but loving and gentle. They are not prone to anger but are peacemakers. They are excellent husbands, fathers, coworkers, and neighbors. These men are charged with shepherding the church. Though the call is costly, challenging, and weighty, they joyfully choose to serve eagerly and willingly (1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17).
** Roles based off of gifts/strengths **
** As The Parish Church launches, we are dedicated to a plurality of elders. There can be obvious challenges to this when there's only one planting pastor to start, but we are overwhelmed by God's grace at giving us such a great partnership with local area pastors/elders from Anthem Church in San Rafael, CA and Refuge Christian Fellowship in Santa Rosa, CA. Pastors from these churches as well as Josh Wroten (Director of Church Planting - NextGen Churches) will provide provisional eldership until such a time that the Lord allows us to lay on hands to capable and qualified men who will help shepherd and pastor the saints at The Parish Church. **
Deacons, likewise are servant leaders of the utmost character. They are men and women whose identity is firmly nestled in the security of Christ and love his church. Their main responsibility is to serve the church (either vocationally or non-vocationally) in order to further it's ministry and support the elders. Deacons must meet the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3 and are appointed by the elders.
What We Believe
For The Parish Church, Jesus and his gospel of grace are at the center of everything we do. He alone is our motivation to live and love. While the doctrines that express our faith in Him aren’t the only thing, they are very important. It’s not enough for us to simply say “we believe in Jesus,” or “we believe in the Bible,” without answering the questions, “What do we believe about Jesus?” and “What do we believe that the Bible specifically teaches?” Having a high view of theology and doctrine helps us answer these questions so that we can know and love God more fully.
Like many saints before us and like the many churches that we partner with, we align with an historic Christian faith: a faith that holds to the divine inspiration of the Bible and is well stated in many of the creeds such as the Apostles Creed. We've also inherited the ancient maxim: "In the essentials unity, in the non-essentials diversity, in all things charity." In other words, we believe that all doctrine is important, but that common adherence on all points of doctrine is not necessary for salvation. Below, you'll find concise statements about what we believe on both essential and non-essential doctrines.
Confessional Statement (Abridged)
- We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. He is the creator of all things.
- We believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks.
- We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image.
- As a result of Adam and Eve's sin, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention.
- We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.
- We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, propitiated God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe.
- We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf.
- Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and in him they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
- We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed.
- This universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each “local church” is,... the pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the body of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on his hands, and he has pledged himself to her forever. The church is distinguished by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God, and by her members’ love for one another and for the world. Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked.
- We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. The former is connected with entrance into the new covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant renewal.
- We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resur- rection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness.
Church planting alone is as unhealthy and unwise as it is impossible. The joy, wisdom, and encouragement that comes from partnering with other likeminded and faithful saints is invaluable. We've invited Godly men and women from a few strategic organizations and churches to partner with us along the journey of planting The Parish Church. They not only provide us with the necessary support and funding, but with accountability, coaching, and camaraderie. Our current Ministry Partners are: