Our Vision and Values
TIf is a ministry of Taichung Baptist Church. The vision and mission of Taichung International Fellowship is to bring the peace, power and presence of Jesus Christ into the city.
We are a Fellowship of Jesus Christ
We serve Jesus Christ through the preaching of the Word of God (the Bible) as well as the administration of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
A Movement of the Gospel
The Bible tells us that the gospel is both the power for and shaping factor of all we do (Romans 1:16; Galatians 2:14), so from the gospel flow our core values, spelled out below.
– Personal conversion: We help bring people before and to God through worship, evangelism and discipleship since the whole life is converted and changed by the Gospel.
– Community transformation: We help bring people together through worship, fellowship, sharing of resources, strengthening families, as well as being a counterculture with regard to sex, money and power and other social structures.
– Social justice: We help bring power to the poor and marginalized through ministries of justice and compassion and to the whole city through the civic involvement of our people.
– Cultural renewal: We help bring light to the culture, particularly through the integration of faith with work and vocation.
Our Core Values
1. The Gospel
In general, the gospel is the message of the Bible that God is redeeming his fallen creation through the coming of his kingdom in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In particular, the gospel is the message that we are saved from our sins by free grace through faith in the finished work of Christ, not through our efforts and works. We believe that this message (the Gospel) is not merely a body of truth, but the very power of God which grows, changes, and shapes everything with which it has contact—hearts and identities, relationships, practices in every area of public and private life, and whole societies.
2. Changed Lives
Many think the gospel is a message mainly to be shared with non-believers to bring them salvation, after which they grow through following Biblical principles. But we believe the gospel is a message for believers also—that believing, understanding, rejoicing in and practicing the gospel more deeply is the main way believers overcome flaws and problems and grow into Christ-likeness. Our sinful behavior is rooted in idols of the heart—alternative ‘ways to be saved’—and deeper knowledge of and experience of God’s grace in Christ helps us believe and trust only in Christ for our salvation. The gospel changes us from the inside out, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation, enabling us to welcome people we excluded, including those who don’t share our beliefs.
3. Gospel Community
Because the gospel changes our hearts and identities, it makes us into people who can have far more transparent, honest, intimate, and loving relationships. So the gospel creates a new kind of community – the church. And, the nature of the gospel is best conveyed and made plain in community because it is just as true that the gospel is not only a body of truth but also a life-changing power. Growth in gospel grace (discipleship) is best done in a community of informal relationships, not in a classroom or through a book. It is in community that people see how a gospel-changed heart really works—in our humility as well as our boldness; in our quickness to repent, forgive, and reconcile; and in the uniqueness of our life practices. The gospel does not merely make us closer in our one-on-one relationships, but also creates a counter-culture, a contrast community in which all can see the difference the gospel makes.
4. Mercy and Justice
The gospel helps people with means and power become humble, showing them that they are no better than anyone else before God. It also lifts up the poor and broken, giving them a new identity and confidence in Christ. While concern for the needy is in no way a means of salvation, a life poured out in deeds of mercy and justice is a sign that the heart has been changed by grace. We use both terms. Mercy is meeting people’s basic needs out of a gospel-produced compassion. Doing justice includes being generous in sharing one’s wealth and time in meeting immediate needs, but it consists also in being advocates for people with less social power, and more broadly, being good citizens in the city in order to make it a good place for all people to live. A gospel-preaching church should be famous for its mercy and justice, or outsiders will not listen to what is being preached. While bringing people to faith in Christ is the single greatest thing you can do for someone, the gospel must be ministered in word and deed together if it is going to have the life-changing impact we desire.
5. Cultural Renewal
The gospel does not only have implications for our private life and Christian relationships. It also affects our public life, particularly how we pursue our vocations in the world and do our daily work. Any particular culture is largely the result of a society’s core beliefs about the meaning of life, right and wrong, the nature of the human dilemma and it’s solution—all fleshed out and expressed through people’s work and the things they produce. When Christians begin to do their work out of a different set of beliefs—whether in business, the arts, the academy, government, or the helping professions—it changes and renews the culture. The gospel gives every believer a new worldview, new inner motives and power, and new conceptions and guidelines for work. While the local church does not directly seek to change culture, it disciples its people to be agents out in the world who do.
6. An Open Door
We want to be a place where we especially welcome the secular, non-believing person. Most churches have an environment that is confusing or offensive to everyone but insiders. We want to be a place where new arrivals and doubters feel their questions are noticed and taken seriously. Sermons will be preached, and public events conducted as if non-Christians were present, over-hearing what we are saying. We must constantly keep in mind what is like to not believe. If we maintain such an environment, then evangelism shall happen the right way—not so much through programs but organically through the witness of TIF believers. It is crucial that a large percentage of Christians come into TIF and think, “I wish my non-Christian friend could hear this.”