In C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle the characters call each other to go “further up and further in” to the heart of heaven. I find this phrase to be a beautiful summary of what life in the community of GSPC is all about. All that we do (Sunday Worship, Small Groups, Youth Group, Children’s Church, Nativity Pageant, Bible Study, shared meals, literally all that we do!) is a constant pursuit further up and further in to the heart of God. While many may think this pursuit would draw us away from the world around us we see scripture telling a different story. It is in our very journey further up and further in to the heart of God that we are marching further up and further in to the community of Marion County. As we see the redemption of God at work in our own hearts and lives we follow the call to bring God’s renewal to the hearts and lives of the people and community around us. So, we invite you to join in with us, follow the call, “Further up and further in! — Michael Rauls
We are a missional church. Good Shepherd Church exists to be a worshipping community that seeks through the power of the gospel to transform the people and culture of Marion County.
The church is to be a foretaste of the community that we find in the coming kingdom. We see that happening in both the regular work of everyday people and through the priorities of a kingdom minded church. The beauty that describes the New Heaven and New Earth should give us the trajectory for our mission.
We are a worshiping community. We assemble on Sunday mornings to celebrate God, who has redeemed us by His love for love’s sake. It is our dependence upon Him that is His highest pleasure. We are most at peace when we desperately rest in Him. He is transforming us by His power so that we might participate in His Kingdom vision for the renewal of all things. Our worship is more like a sit-down family dinner than a structured religious service. It is sincere but not sanctimonious – contemporary and relevant but not shallow – directed toward God but flavored by sweet fellowship.
Our style of song-singing is less important than the larger purpose of incorporating worship in the whole of our life – our work, our families, our communities. We are a laid back, come as you are, grace oriented, gospel centered, rag-tag group of broken sinners who look to Jesus for healing and salvation.
We are a community of small groups. We like to say that we are a church of small groups that worships together on Sunday. Small groups are the place where church happens – where we are open and honest – where we go deep and build lasting ties – where the love happens. Of course we welcome you to attend our worship – but the fuller expression of Good Shepherd is to find Christ with us in community.
We are a compassionate church. Justice and righteousness are the humble signs of Christ’s kingdom. We believe that true faith results in persons acting justly and merciful – particularly toward the poor and needy – securing for them justice and being the hands and feet of Christ’s mercy. We believe this is a central passion of Jesus and thus is a critical part of our mission.
The Age of the Spirit is dawned. Our lives are to be a grand adventure in the renewal of all things. We love Marion County – rich, poor, black, white and all the in-betweens. We believe that all of Marion County needs to hear and see the Gospel through the word and work of the Gospel.
We are a Presbyterian (PCA) church. We are a PCA church because of the denomination’s commitment to the inspiration of the Scriptures, its involvement in missions and church planting, its love for the Reformed faith and its dedication to orthodoxy.
We are an honest or “persona-less” church. We are a church that seeks NOT to pretend – but to keep things very real. Actually, when we say that we are a group of broken sinners, we understand this quite literally and personally. We not only believe in human depravity as a tenet of our faith – we unwittingly provide daily demonstration of its spiritual reality. We believe that the more honest with God, with ourselves and with each other we are – the greater the grace God provides – and the more authentic progress that is our spiritual journey. Some might find this honesty decidedly uncomfortable – but in a sea of religious pretense – we find it refreshing.
We are a theological community. We believe that considering the deepest implications of the gospel for our lives is not only important – it is a spiritual imperative. We are a community that goes deep theologically – not in order to feel proud of what we know – but to truly encounter God in the deepest recesses of who we are. While theological knowledge can be dangerous in the heart of the proud – ignorance is by no means a healthy alternative.
What We Believe:
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. We are a worshiping community that seeks to transform the people and culture of Marion County, Florida, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.
We believe in the Holy Trinity. There is one God, who exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that all are sinners and totally unable to save themselves from God’s displeasure, except by His mercy.
We believe that salvation is by God alone as He sovereignly chooses those He will save. We believe His choice is based on His grace, not on any human individual merit, or foreseen faith.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him, alone, for salvation.
We believe that God is gracious and faithful to His people not simply as individuals but as families in successive generations according to His Covenant promises.
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people and gives them the strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow Him.
We believe that Jesus will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people to Himself.
We believe that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.