Our Core Values
As Hell’s Kitchen Community Church considers its future and all that God will continue to do in the neighborhood, we believe we will best be able to live out the mission and strive toward the vision of the church by focusing on these four core values.
We strive to be a church of the gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ saves sinners and restores all things; that God loves his people so much he gave up his Son for them. We seek to live out the broad and deep implications of who Christ was, is, and promises to be by entering into his story of divine, cosmic, world-changing redemption.
Though there are deeper doctrinal and theological stances that HKCC will take as a church, the foundation of what we strive to accomplish for the glory of God and for the neighborhood will be rooted in this good news. This must be the basis for all of our subsequent core values and endeavors.
Deepening our understanding of the gospel and the good news of Christ will be a lifelong journey, one on which we’ll never feel comfortable resting. This means we must read widely, invite diverse voices into HKCC, and most importantly, sink ourselves more and more into prayer with God.
Study: Luke 2:11, John 3:16, Romans 10:9, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Philippians 2:6-11
Further Reading: Vince Bantu’s A Multitude of All Peoples, Orlando Costas’ Christ Outside the Gate, Kaitlin Curtice’s Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God, Soong-Chan Rah’s The Next Evangelicalism, Robert Chao Romero’s Brown Church
We strive to be an antiracist church as we actively stand in solidarity with all of God’s Image Bearers in Hell’s Kitchen, lifting up their stories as sacred, and stewarding our own privilege for the sake of the oppressed, the hurting, the grieving, and the lost. We endeavor to advocate for all people, be racially aware and responsive, share and give up our power, and be honest about our own racism and brokenness as well as the church’s broader complicity and silence in racist and other harmful structures over the course of America’s history. We seek to do all of this out of repentance, with complete faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
In an interview with The Progressive published on February 1, 2019, historian Ibram Kendi says, “There is no such thing as a nonracist, but there is such a thing as an antiracist. Nonracists, historically, are people who defend policies that create racial inequity and express ideas of racial hierarchy. When those policies and ideas are challenged as racist, their response is, ‘I’m not racist.’ An antiracist is someone who deliberately is confessing the racist ideas that have been nurtured within them while trying to be better, trying to be different, and trying to support policies that create equity.” Though this immediate “definition” of an antiracist may not appear to have Biblical foundations, we are confident that throughout Scripture, God calls his people to both confess and repent of individual and systemic sins like racism and prejudices, as well as constantly strive to “be better”—or, more Christlike—while seeking equity in all we do.
As a white man leading the planting of this church, Chuck realizes the blindspots and obstacles that will arise in pursuing this core value. As he says, “It is critical—and difficult—for me to ensure that I am starting with diverse voices and leadership as opposed to trying to add it later. This includes any elders, confidants, coaches, or staff who come alongside to shepherd the planting of HKCC. It also means that, if my whiteness draws other white people to the church, I will do everything I can to steward their privilege so that this antiracism does not only exist in the church, but in the offices, apartment buildings, and blocks represented in the flock.”
Study: Deuteronomy 10:18, Isaiah 61:1, Micah 6:8, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Ephesians 2:13-22
Further Reading: Austin Channing Brown’s I’m Still Here, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith’s Divide by Faith, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, David Swanson’s Rediscipling the White Church, Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise, Chanequa Walker-Barnes’ I Bring the Voices of My People
We strive to be a fearless church, led by the Holy Spirit. In all we do and say, we seek to boldly lead our community by example, in palpable action, whenever and wherever we are called. This boldness and courage propels us into meeting one another in the messy, difficult, heart-wrenching, tiring places of our lives as we also celebrate the many ways that the Spirit is at work. We will mess up, we will fail, and we will not have all the answers, but we will boast in our weaknesses and trust that the Spirit is leading through our prayerful and Word-guided discernment.
Prophetic teaching under the New Covenant is not foretelling like the prophets did in the Old Covenant, but it is forth-telling; analyzing and speaking truth into the here and now for all of God’s people. Beyond teaching, though, this prophetic courage and boldness will drive us into profound relationship with one another while desperately relying on the guidance and intercession of the Holy Spirit.
This fearlessness doesn’t only manifest itself in the difficult, trying times; we will do our best to also celebrate and praise the work of the Spirit in the life of our church and the life of our neighborhood.
Study: Joshua 1:6, 1 Samuel 14:6, Psalm 46:1-3, Mark 11:22-24, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Further Reading: Vincent Bacote’s The Political Disciple, Francis Chan’s Forgotten God, Tim Keller’s Making Sense of God, D.L. Mayfield’s The Myth of the American Dream, Pete Scazerro’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary
We strive to be a church in and for Hell’s Kitchen. We are completely and utterly committed to our neighborhood, thus our focus will always be loving and serving those who call Hell’s Kitchen home as well as those who actively love and support the community. By coming alongside and humbly learning from other churches and organizations, we long to see a powerful, transformative revival of gospel centrality in the life of Hell’s Kitchen.
Our hope and prayer is that Hell’s Kitchen residents don’t hear about this church because of any one leader or because of stellar preaching or some other fleeting merit, but because of who the people of the church are to the neighborhood. Whether a resident attends HKCC or not, we hope that one day HKCC will be woven into the fabric of the community. This means that Sunday services are not propped up as the “main thing,” but rather, we will celebrate and encourage living out the vision and mission of HKCC every day of the week.
Study: Psalm 80, Matthew 5:14, Galatians 6:2, Colossians 3:13, Hebrews 13:12-14
Further Reading: David Fitch’s Faithful Presence, Mark Gornik and Maria Liu Wong’s Stay in the City, Adam Gustine’s Becoming a Just Church, Jose Humphreys’ Seeing Jesus in East Harlem, Grace Ji-Sun Kim’s Healing Our Broken Humanity