OUR MISSION & VALUES
To create a community where thinking, compassionate people can find a spiritual home and cultivate a Jesus-inspired life.
The Well is a place where:
You are free to express both your faith and your doubts, so
You can spiritually grow to become your best self, and
You can partner with God to make a difference with your life.
As more people grow skeptical of organized religion, there seems to be an even greater openness to healthy spirituality.
Thinking people have questions and doubts about religion and the Bible, but many of us also feel a spiritual thirst that often goes unquenched in our culture.
We're convinced that lots of people would like to be part of an inspiring and joyful spiritual community that touches our souls and makes us better, but one without the partisan politics and culture wars that seem to have taken over so many churches.
That's why we're starting The Well.
The Well is a place to express both your faith and your doubts, and we invite you to explore faith and spirituality in a community where thinking, compassionate people can find a spiritual home and cultivate a Jesus-inspired life.
Because we welcome everyone regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey, we do not require participating members of The Well to affirm every statement of faith that we teach.
The Well is a nondenominational Christian church made up of persons from many different backgrounds. We teach the historic orthodox Christian faith as expressed in the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Here is a summary of those basic Christian beliefs, and please feel free to ask questions below.
One God exists in three Persons, the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Bible is inspired by God and the primary authority for our faith.
We experience salvation through Jesus Christ.
We can grow spiritually throughout our lives through the process of sanctification.
On the day of judgment, God will judge the living and the dead and restore creation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is your affiliation?
The Well is a nondenominational, progressive Christian church made up of persons from many church and spiritual backgrounds. We do not have a denominational affiliation or an affiliation with any other church. We are simply people who want to follow Jesus Christ. We ascribe to the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed that summarize what all Christians have traditionally believed.
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors.
Why the name "The Well"?
In the Bible, wells are important places of life change and spiritual transformation. They were social meeting places and sources of community and blessing. For example, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all met their wives near wells.
Wells and water are also metaphors for spiritual life. The best known example is probably Jesus' conversation with "the woman at the well" in the Gospel of John chapter 4 whose life was changed by her encounter with Jesus. As a church located in the desert, we easily understand why water is a metaphor for a life-giving relationship with God that can quench spiritual thirst.
What are your beliefs about Communion and Baptism?
Communion and Baptism are the two sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ and are the central acts of worship in Christian history. Communion is a symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus, His body broken and His blood shed for the forgiveness of sins. The Well observes Communion monthly, and serves Communion to anyone desiring a relationship with Jesus Christ regardless of church affiliation.
As a church made up of people from many backgrounds, we stand in the tradition of the Early Church, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley by honoring the practice of Baptism that a person or family requests, understanding that we are offered salvation by God's grace apart from Baptism but that Baptism is commanded by Jesus and symbolizes our choice to identify with Christ.
What do you believe about the Bible?
We believe that intelligent people can take the Bible seriously when it is interpreted wisely. We believe what Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and Billy Graham believed about the Bible, that it is inspired by God, the primary authority for our faith, and trustworthy in all matters of faith and practice. We believe the Bible points us to Jesus, who is called the "Word of God" in John chapter 1 and guides us as we follow Him.
We believe that loving the Bible requires caring about it enough to give it our most serious thought, so Christians must thoughtfully and humbly wrestle with how to interpret it in every generation. Those who claim to understand the Bible easily without having to interpret it may be convincing themselves but likely no one else. Most of us know that interpreting the Bible is just not that simple, as none of us is free from our own culture, political views, prejudices, and unexamined assumptions to be able to clearly interpret the Bible on our own. We interpret the Bible in community with Christians around the world, trusted friends, and Christians throughout history, believing that God has given us the gift of each other to help us understand God's will and how to follow Jesus to the best of our ability.
Many current theological controversies are unnecessary if we recognize that Christians have interpreted the Bible in various ways regarding these issues throughout history. For example, regarding the relationship of faith and science, Christians since the Early Church have held various interpretations of the six days of creation in the book of Genesis. Writing 1,400 years before Darwin, in the 400s AD, Augustine stated in "The Literal Interpretation of Genesis," that Christians who insist that the Bible contradicts science make a laughing stock of Christianity:
It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are.
We believe that intelligent people can take the Bible seriously and find the Bible to be fascinating, compelling, inspiring, and life-changing.
What is your stance on human sexuality?
The Well is an open and affirming church.
Human sexuality is complex, and sadly, in our current divided political climate is often used as a weapon in the so-called "culture war." Experience has shown us that one's stance often has as much or more to do with one's political views than a carefully thought-out biblical argument.
We hold a high view of the Bible and believe that the Bible must be interpreted thoughtfully and carefully in order to avoid doing harm. For example, Bible-believing Christians no longer beat their children with rods, commit genocide against the Canaanites, execute children who are disobedient to their parents, abstain from shellfish, tell slaves to obey their masters, require women to be silent in church, or force women to wear head coverings in church as a sign of their husband's authority over them, even though the Bible commands all of those things. All of us have our own criteria, acknowledged or not, by which we interpret difficult passages, and if we’re going to be honest, many people have not really thought through what they believe and why.
As Christians, we interpret the Bible through the lens of Jesus who taught us that the greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
While Christians disagree on issues of human sexuality, The Well is an open and affirming church. We welcome the LGBTQ community regardless of orientation or gender identity into full participation.
We also recognize the various callings of women into ministry, including the ministry of teaching and preaching. Some biblical models of women in leadership include Deborah, Huldah, Esther, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Lydia, and Priscilla. We believe that God calls women into ministry today just as God called these women recorded in the Bible.
What causes do you support?
The Bible contains more than 2,000 verses about poverty and the responsibility of God's people to relieve poverty and work for what the Hebrew prophets called tzedakah "justice and righteousness" in our world. The Well is committed to partnering with God in answer to the Lord's Prayer, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
We want to partner with God to make a difference with our lives in a way that is most beneficial. The latest research indicates that nutrition and early childhood education are essential to a healthy start for every child, both locally and globally. So, we serve in local food banks and community centers and alongside global missions organizations that engage in work that benefits children and their families. We want to be careful not to reinvent the wheel but partner with experienced and informed organizations that are focused on minimizing harm and doing maximum good.
What is your vision for The Well?
We believe The Well should have a permanent home in the Southeast Valley, an online community, and because churches like The Well are needed in every metropolitan area in America, we believe God is calling us to help new likeminded churches come into existence.