These five distinctives flow from deep conviction to shape the life and mission of Seven Mile Road. While there is room within Christianity for variance of opinion on these distinctives, we preach, teach, and counsel in accordance with these theological convictions.
BUILT FOR NEW ENGLAND
A family of churches built to love and lead New Englanders to the real Jesus
New England is home to nearly 15 million people — townies and transplants, blue collar and white collar, secular and spiritual, liberal and conservative, young and old. While there are church buildings on seemingly every main street, most are memories of a forgotten time. New England is now the most post-Christian and least Biblically-minded region of the country, and the Christian Gospel is met here with a combination of disinterest and disdain. We are energized by this landscape and are training pastors and planting churches that fit and flourish in the New England context.
Ministry grounded in and shaped by the biblical doctrines of grace
The Reformed Tradition believes that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, all for the glory of God alone. The Gospel is about God’s initiating grace — He acts, we respond. Even our response is a gift of faith birthed in us by God’s Spirit. Yes, good works flow from the Gospel, but they are not the cause of it. God freely gives grace to us not through performance, work, or merit but simply because of His love. Salvation from beginning to end is a gift. He called us, saved us, regenerated us, forgave us, justified us, adopted us, reconciled us to Himself. Day by day, His sanctifying grace draws us toward holiness and enables us to persevere to the end. This glorious grace frees us from arrogance, self righteousness, and despair because the God who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. Our Reformed Tradition impacts our understandings of Scripture, preaching, the sacraments, church government, etc.
RIGHTLY ORDERED RELATIONSHIPS
Men and women partnering together in alignment with their God-given callings
God made humanity in His own image, as the crown of creation to glorify Him through enjoying fellowship with Him and serving as holy stewards of His world. Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God — possessing the same moral dignity and value with equal access to God through faith in Christ. At the same time, men and women are distinct. Our diversity as male and female cannot and should not be flattened. Humanity thrives when we celebrate both our unity and diversity as male and female.
This has implications for our marriages, homes, and the church. In the creation order before the Fall, God established a pattern for manhood and womanhood. In the home, God has assigned a humbling and unique authority (headship) to husbands to lead and serve with Christ as the ultimate example. In the church, certain qualified men are called to serve as pastors (elders), exercising a servant leadership by which all members thrive. Both the home and in the church ought to be contexts where women thrive. Neither the home nor the church can be healthy without both men and women being loved, taught, respected, heard, and deployed for service. God’s highest glory and our deepest joy coincide when we wholeheartedly embrace the sex He has assigned to us and His intentions for our masculinity and femininity.
Serious about planting more missional churches
Read the New Testament and you will see that starting new churches is how the Gospel spreads. There is no better way to connect with unbelievers than by starting new churches among them. The local church provides the perfect context for effective evangelism: a bunch of people who love and follow Jesus, gather weekly to hear the preached Word, and walk all week through life together in Gospel-centered friendships. So we’re not out to grow a megachurch, but to multiply healthy congregations that grow roots in particular New England cities and towns and live with missional intentionality among those people groups. In the coming years, we hope to see thousands of New Englanders believing the Gospel, being discipled, and living on mission in an ever-growing network of healthy Seven Mile Roads for Jesus’ glory and our joy.
Tightly contextualized for Gospel advance among specific people groups
Each Seven Mile Road is sent to love, serve, and bless a people group in a particular place. Living as everyday missionaries gets fleshed out in particular neighborhoods, towns, and cities throughout New England. Rather than focusing regionally, we want every Seven Mile Road church to know and be known locally. This is why Gospel communities play a strategic role in our mission to bring the hope of Christ to distinct neighborhoods all over New England. We are in and for our particular communities.
LONGTERM AND UNWAVERING
We’re not going anywhere
We are in for the long-haul, with a steadfast commitment to give every New Englander the opportunity to know, love, and follow Jesus. God works through relationships and relationships take time — over meals, over seasons, over a lifetime. In a transient culture, someone has to stay and say “these are my people.” Cold, rocky soil takes time to till and patience to see seeds take root and grow to maturity where Gospel fruit is produced. By God’s grace and with his strength, we will work and stay to see His harvest.