Salem, like shalom, means peace – the kind of peace that happens when all of life is working together in the positive, purposeful, life-enriching harmony God intended. This peace is the gift God offers through Jesus Christ, a gift we at Salem Covenant Church are devoted to celebrating, fostering, and sharing. Our aim is to see people of all ages connect, grow, and go forward into life, experiencing the transforming gift of God’s peace and the joy of partnering together to help make His peace the experience of all.
The mission of Salem Covenant Church is to inspire and equip all generations to …
Connect with God, one another, and God’s good purposes in the world;
Grow in love, maturity, and fruitfulness as the people they were created to be; and
Go to celebrate and share the love of God in ministry, mission, and life.
The Evangelical Covenant Church
The Evangelical Covenant Church is a rapidly growing multiethnic denomination in the United States and Canada with ministries on five continents of the world. Founded in 1885 by Swedish immigrants, the ECC values the Bible as the word of God, the gift of God’s grace and ever-deepening spiritual life that comes through a faith with Jesus Christ, the importance of extending God’s love and compassion to a hurting world, and the strength that comes from unity within diversity.
The Evangelical Covenant Church is:
- Evangelical, but not exclusive
- Biblical, but not doctrinaire
- Traditional, but not rigid
- Congregational, but not independent
Identity and Biblical Mission
We are united by Christ in a holy covenant of churches empowered by the Holy Spirit to obey the great commandments and the great commission: to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to go into all the world and make disciples.
Vision for Mission
- to cultivate communities of worship committed to: prayer, preaching, and study of the word; the celebration of the sacraments; and fellowship across gender, race, age, culture, and class.
- to equip loving, giving, growing Christians to reach out with the good news of Jesus Christ – evangelizing the lost, ministering to those in need, and seeking justice for the oppressed.
Christian Formation Philosophy
Christian Formation is a lifelong process of growing to be more like Jesus Christ. No matter whether we have been growing for a few days, a few years, or a lifetime, continued growth requires taking time to refocus on our goals and what is needed to move forward. Learning to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength is a continual process. The result of this life-long process is real, radical change as expressed in both our individual and our community life.
Christian formation relies decisively on God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit. While we can choose to work with or against the Spirit, we cannot accomplish growth in Christ-likeness through our own efforts alone. Likewise, information or knowledge alone will not result in the radical change to which God calls us. The goal of Christian formation is whole-person learning, which focuses on the heart as well as the head. Though cognitive knowledge is essential, it is only a part of the process. Our knowledge must lead to new attitudes and new actions that are increasingly consistent with the character of Jesus Christ.
Five Foundational Practices
As we look to Scripture, with Acts 2:42-47 as a prime example, and to the historical context of our denomination, we recognize the five following practices as foundational in developing disciples devoted to Jesus Christ. People of all ages need to be engaged in all five practices in an ongoing basis as we seek to grow in Christ.
Developing Disciples at Salem
- Worshiping God as the heartbeat of our lives and community
- Waiting on God through devotional practices centered in Scripture and prayer
- Walking with fellow believers in relationships that encourage love, growth, and service
- Working with others to extend compassion, mercy, and justice to all
- Welcoming people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church
The goal of Salem’s Christian Formation ministries is to create and foster environments for whole-life spiritual transformation. With this goal in mind, we have adopted the following values:
- Recognizing that it is by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit that genuine spiritual growth is effected, we value a commitment to prayer and active reliance on the Holy Spirit in all we do, from design to implementation, as we seek to encourage and equip people to develop as devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.
- We value personal and community transformation over program, understanding that, though programs are a necessary dimension of congregational life, they are a means toward the end and not the end itself. Christian formation is about developing disciples
of Jesus Christ, so that we are formed in Christ, both personally and as a community.
- We value a holistic head, heart and hand approach to formation. Christian formation includes the goal of increasing our knowledge (particularly our knowledge of Scripture), but it is not limited to that. It is about whole-person learning; it is about knowing, being, and doing.
- We value an integrated faith, understanding that Christian formation is not about accomplishing a series of tasks, nor does it happen only in the church building. It happens everywhere…at home, at school, at work, and throughout our lives. Growing together toward wholeness in Christ requires that we be “border crossers” when it comes to generational, class, gender, home/church, work/church, clergy/lay, and racial, cultural and ethnic boundaries.
- We value providing relevant, engaging, and accessible formational opportunities designed to encourage and equip people to take next steps in the five foundational practices for growth as Christ’s disciples.
(Adapted from the ECC website for Salem’s mission and context.)