Core Values

Kingdom Minded

Having an understanding of God’s kingdom is what lays the foundation for our core values. None of these values are ends within themselves, but rather are the means in which we embody and labor to bring God’s glory to earth.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10, NIV).” As believers, we covenant to live as strangers in this world (John 17:15-18)—strangers who have been sent to share God’s truth about the Lord Jesus Christ (John 18:36-37, Acts 28:31). This primary vocation requires that we submit to the powerful work of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 4:20) which enables us to:


Make Disciples

Every believer is a leader who is called to make disciples.

Scripture Reference: Matthew 28:19-20. Other Great Commission passages: Mark 16:15, Luke 24: 47-49, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8.

Take the Whole Gospel to the Whole World

The Lausanne Covenant defines evangelization as “the whole Church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” Being kingdom-minded equips all of God’s children—including men and women, Jews and non-Jews, the powerful and the oppressed— to unite as one family committed to display truth in action and engage a global world with the hopeful message of Christ.

Scripture references: Isaiah 58:3-12, Micah 6:8, Luke 3:7-14, and Luke 4:14-21.

Live in Kingdom Unity and Oneness

Unity and Oneness is a mark of God’s family and reveals God’s covenantal goodness and transformative redemption to the world. The gospel firsts reconciles lost souls to God, and then reconciles humans to each other. The gospel restores broken relationships. As ambassadors of Christ, we commit to pursing peacemaking through the embrace of unity, oneness, and the ministry of reconciliation. Fallen human nature causes us to value unity in sameness, but the gospel calls us to value unity in our differences.

Scripture References: Genesis 12:1-3, Psalm 133:1, John 17:20-23, Romans 12:18, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Galatians 3:26-29, and Revelation 7:9-10.

Theological Thinking which leads to Biblical Action

We believe the Holy Bible is the true Word of God, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is without error. It provides the only hope for a world corrupted by sin (Rom. 15:4); reveals God’s character; confirms God’s plan for the salvation of humankind through the prophetic promises (2 Pet. 1:20-21), ultimate sacrificial death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus (John 1:1-4); while acknowledging the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal the mysteries of God’s kingdom, renew the mind and desires of one’s heart; equip us to work; and teach God’s will for all creation. Living the gospel requires that we embrace a theology that includes right thinking and righteous action.

Theological thought includes right thinking as inspired by the Holy Spirit and affirmed in Christian community. Theological thought requires the spiritual renewal of one’s mind which is critically important for transformation and maturity in the faith (Rom. 12:2). Learning to think theologically nourishes the soul of a leader; equips her to cultivate a Christian worldview; teaches him to actively engage the world and participate in the constructive conversations of our day; and challenges them to teach, train mentor, and mobilize other believers in the faith.

Scripture Reference: 2 Tim. 3:14-17 and James 2:14-26.


Redemptive Framework

God created a good world that has been corrupted by sin. Christ has come to redeem what was lost as a result of the introduction of sin into the world. He also came to usher in a new kingdom or way of living in the world. Through Christ, God does not simply modify the effects of sins curses; He completely demolishes and transforms them. It is God’s choice to use frail humans in restoring his good purposes for creation. In order for leaders to continue in the restorative work that was ushered in by Christ, they must humbly submit to change. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, changed or transformed people are positioned to help other people change thereby restoring power structures, communities, culture, and the church to the glory of God. 

Scripture References: Genesis 1:26-28, 31; Genesis 3:11-19; Ephesians 4:22-24; Ephesians 5:15-17; and Titus 2:11-14.

CDEL Biblical Models of Leadership

Shepherd Leader Model 

Virtually all of us are shepherds, responsible to God for the way we lead those in our care.
– Dr. Timothy Laniak, Dean of GCTS Charlotte campus

To lead well, Christians must understand their identity as God’s under shepherds. This includes an understanding that God is the Creator of all things, and that image bearers of God are called to see as He sees and do what He does. Shepherd leaders thoughtfully follow after God’s heart. They first identify as followers or disciples of Christ, and then as leaders who guide God’s people to follow Him.

Scripture References: Jeremiah 3:15, Psalm 78:70-71, Proverbs 27:23, John 10:11, John 21:17, Acts 20:29, I Peter 5:2 and I Peter 5:4.

Servant Leader Model

Servant Leaders model the life and commitment of Christ to love. They surrender their will to obediently follow God’s will, and consider the needs of God’s people above their own needs.
– Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Gordon-Conwell MACL Graduate & Redemptive Leader Award Winner, 2014

To lead well, Christians must consistently “humble [themselves] before the Lord, and he will lift [them] up (James 4:10, 1 Pet. 5:6)” Then, they can “submit [themselves] to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph. 5:21)” Christ was adamant in teaching his disciples that they are not to lead in the same manner that people in the world lead. A Christian leader is unique in understanding that true leadership as God intends requires humility, love, and it means serving the needs of others.

Scripture References: Matthew 18:1-4; and Mark 9:33-37, 10:41-45, John 13: 1-17, John 15:9-14, and Ephesians 5:1-2.


Redemptive Leader Model

Redemptive Leaders not only unleash men and women to fulfill their calling; they reclaim them and show that even failure is never wasted. Redemptive Leaders model that God doesn’t use you IN SPITE of who you are; He uses you BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE.
– Dr. Rodney Cooper, Director of CDEL

To lead well, Christians must theologically understand their place in God’s story. Redemptive leadership is a holistic, transformative, value-driven, and responsible way of engaging the church and the world. Redemptive leaders follow the priestly and prophetic way of Jesus by thinking and responding correctly. Redemptive leaders understand the importance of cultivating a learning community that embraces the values of shared and team leadership. They also facilitate a redemptive culture which unleashes individuals around them to minister effectively with their God-given vision and talents.

Scripture References: Luke 9:1-2, John 17, and Jesus with the 12 disciples throughout the Gospels.