Gospel – The foundation of our identity is found in what Christ has done for us, not in what we do for Him. It is foundationally about His life, death, and resurrection on our behalf, not our moral or religious adherence. He will continue what He began, so we must remain in Him, the fruit of all my life being rooted in Jesus. We should seek to be fluent in communicating to each other the hope and sufficiency of Jesus, and demonstrating a Spirit-dependency in all of life.
Biblical – The authority for all we believe and do is the Word of God. Discernment should be demonstrated as to what is prescriptive, and what is descriptive. Honor and consideration should be given to the historical doctrine and practices of the church, but not to the dismissal of what can be Biblically and spiritually discerned as appropriate and fitting for the present context, even if that should seemingly go against the grain of tradition.
Relational – The emphasis of relationships is in every facet of ministry, teaching, serving, leading, living. The Body of Christ functioning as each member was designed to in the context of relationships should be encouraged and demonstrated at every available opportunity. Great care will be given to protecting and fostering this value from competing activities and values. The goal should be toward that of authentic, transformational community, where real life is lived out together, not simply the attendance of meetings.
Reproducible – All that we do in life and ministry should be done so it is able to be reproduced and adapted into other lives and ministries. In teaching, leading, and serving, there should be the thought of entrusting and equipping others to do the work of the ministry in such a way where it is readily adapted into other opportunities God provides. This is true both on an individual basis, and on a corporate basis.
Sustainable – Healthy, realistic commitments regarding time, finances, and resources should be sustainable for the long haul. While there may be seasons and unusual circumstances that require unusual costs or attention, great care should be given to the long-term health and viability of commitments in any area. The principle of Sabbath should be a prevailing influence.
Simple – Programs, schedules, events, meetings, procedures should all be identified by their simplicity over complexity. They should not compete with life, but complement it. They should all work to the end of helping members enjoy their life in Christ, not merely endure it. Excellence should be demonstrated, indeed strengthened in the simple, in that when fewer things are done, they should be given a greater attention and depth.
Summarized Theological Distinctives Of Soma Churches
Gospel-Centered Theology – God is the initiator of Salvation and Jesus is the Hero. God doesn’t respond to us – we respond to God’s initiative and calling. He saves and secures us for salvation and we respond only because of and by his grace. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Spirit are the center and fulfillment of our faith. It is through him, because of him and in him that we come to be God’s people, are transformed and have hope for final restoration.
Charismatic Pneumatology – We believe the Holy Spirit is alive and active in regeneration, empowerment and ongoing filling for the purposes of God in this world. We believe all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available today, but not one of them in particular is required to give evidence of the baptism or filling of the Spirit.
Already-Not-Yet Eschatology – We believe the Kingdom of God was inaugurated in Jesus’ first coming and will be consummated in his second coming. We live in the in between where we can experience the reign of Jesus while longing for its completion as we also experience the reality that things are not yet fully as they will be within the new heaven and new earth. We acknowledge the variety of views within inaugurated eschatology and allow for this variety within our family.
Missional Ecclesiology – We believe the church is the family of God sent by the Spirit to make disciples of Jesus to all nations throughout the world. We are saved by God’s power for God’s purposes to bring him glory in all things wherever we are. The church is always being sent by God to accomplish his mission.
Gospel Communities On Mission As Prime Organizing Structure – We believe the most irreducible and effective structure for making disciples as the church is a Gospel Community on Mission (GCM)—aka Missional Community (MC). This is a smaller group of people who gather regularly and engage in everyday life on mission throughout the week with a commitment to reaching a particular people and place together with the goal of making disciples and multiplying and sending more GCMs.
Ordered Equality In Shared Ministry – We are complementarians in that we believe men and women are created in the image of God equally, yet with distinct roles in the family and church. Men and women are called to use their gifts fully in the ministry of the church under the leadership of biblically qualified male elders (plural). In the marriage relationship husbands and wives are called to display the Gospel story of Christ laying down his life for his bride the church and the church respectfully submitting to Christ. As such, husbands are called to sacrificially love their wives as the head of their home, while the wife is called to respectfully submit to her husband.
For a more thorough explanation of these Soma distinctives, click here.