Core values are principles or beliefs that a person or organization view as being of central importance. At Grace Polaris Church we have focused our attention on eight Core Values that underline and guide our mission of honoring God and multiplying devoted followers of Jesus. We hope this Core Values blog series will help you embrace and understand these values in a deeper way.

Over two hundred years ago, William Carey began the modern missions movement as he set out from England to be a witness for Christ in India. He was gripped by the call of Christ to make disciples of all nations and his heart was broken over the reality of millions of people with no knowledge of Jesus all around the world. He called the Church in England to act by willingly investing their people and resources into fulfilling the Great Commission. Though he never used these words, he called them to “embrace risk-taking faith” for the spread of the Gospel.

At Grace, we are compelled to focus our energies and our resources on multiplying devoted followers of Jesus and for the sake of spreading Christ’s glory throughout the globe we will “embrace risk-taking faith.”

We embrace risk-taking faith. In pursuit of excellence and fruitfulness, we will promote a spirit of initiative and innovation. As good stewards, we will consistently evaluate and hold ourselves accountable for results, focusing on fruitful ministries and structures that most effectively accomplish our mission. We will seek to wisely navigate the inherent tension between the local church as both a relational community and a religious organization.

We know one of the great challenges of making disciples of all nations is doing things that involve risk and require courage. In the context of a larger local church, this includes starting new ministries, as well as celebrating and concluding other long-standing programs.

Church planting has come to the forefront of our vision for the future of Grace Polaris Church. We want to pour out our people and resources in order to make disciples that eventually gather into new communities of believers in locations near and far. This could include planting new churches among the least-reached people in our own city, as well as taking the Gospel and planting churches to the ends of the earth. Church planting is a risky venture, but we are committed to multiplying devoted followers of Jesus and long to see new churches established among those who have little access to the Gospel all over the globe. We trust that God is honored as we set our sights high and take great risk for the spread of the Gospel!

Our pastoral staff and ministry leaders have determined that 2016 will be the final year of the Living Christmas Trees concerts, an outstanding ministry of our church for 30 years. Thousands upon thousands have come and heard the Christmas story presented in creative and compelling ways over the years, being blessed each time by the beauty and grandeur of the event. Also, hundreds serve each year as actors and volunteers to help put together what has been a consistently awesome event. Living Christmas Trees has truly been engrained into the culture and life of Grace for three decades.

However, even the best ministries conclude as resources and circumstances determine that they ought to be celebrated and brought to a close. This final year of Living Christmas Trees will be spectacular as we seek to go out with a bang in order to honor the ending of an era and to prepare for a future of creative holiday outreach opportunities. We know that it requires wisdom and courage to end something so deeply connected to our church. However, courageous decisions and vision are necessary in order to press on toward the goal of most effectively multiplying devoted followers of Jesus near and far.

For the advance of the Gospel and the spread of God’s fame from our neighborhoods to the nations, we embrace risk-taking faith. We will pour ourselves out in order to pursue the fulfillment of the Great Commission and we will make decisions that require wisdom and embrace faith along the way. New ministries will begin, others will conclude, but in all things we will endeavor to honor God by multiplying devoted followers of Jesus.

Dustin Speaks is the Mission Mobilization Pastor. He and his wife, Lauren, arrived in Columbus in the fall of 2012, after several initial ministry experiences. Dustin previously served as an associate pastor in South Dakota and as a missionary to university students in Berlin, Germany. Dustin studied history at Ohio University, where he met Lauren, and was involved in campus ministry with Cru. After graduation, the Speaks went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago) to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. He enjoys playing nearly all ball sports—basketball, golf, and soccer are his favorites. Dustin and Lauren have three young children.