Seven Mile Road is a church in Northeast Philadelphia committed to believing the gospel in community on mission for Jesus. Here are some of our key distinctives.
The heart of the Christian faith is the gospel, or good news, that when there was nothing that we could do to reach God, He reached for us. In love, God the Father gave His Son Jesus to take our place on a cross, pay our debts, forgive our sins, cleanse our filth, make us right, adopt us as children, and give us eternal life. And because of His grace, all of this is freely offered to all who believe. It’s a gift. You don’t work for it. You don’t earn it. You can’t repay it. You receive it! It is such good news that we center our lives and our church on it. Everything we are and hope to be flows from Jesus and His gospel.
When most people think of church, they think of a building to go to or a religious service to attend. So an invitation to church is something the average person in our city is not interested in. Yet an invitation to Seven Mile Road is not an invitation to a building or to an event. It’s an invitation to see life differently. When the Scriptures refer to church, it’s never a building or an event. It’s always a people; a people who have responded to the life-altering message of Jesus with repentance and faith and are united in Him. And so Seven Mile Road is a collection of people – imperfect people – who are connected deeply in authentic, transparent, honest community.
We love our city and the suburbs that surround it. More importantly, we believe that God loves it too. Amidst all the richness and beauty of Philadelphia, there is a great deal of brokenness and pain. We’re seeking to engage that reality with the message and mercy of Christ. At the same time, our concern extends beyond our region as well. So our passion is seeing the gospel transform everything – our lives, our church, our city, and our world.
We cling to the Bible as the inspired and authoritative revelation of God for everything pertaining to life and faith. In terms of how God saves His people, we hold to the Reformed understanding that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, all for the glory of God alone. He acts. We respond. And even our response is a gift of faith birthed in us by God’s Spirit. God has freely chosen to show grace to us through no merit of our own. These doctrines of God’s free, undeserved grace to us eliminate any arrogance and self-righteousness from creeping into our church life. With joy, we confess, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Sadly, one of our culture’s most salient points of confusion and sin is around the “doctrine of man”, particularly around areas of gender and sexuality. Rather than embrace the wisdom of God in purposefully creating us male and female, equal but not the same, in His Trinitarian image, our tendency here is to chafe at our Creator’s good intentions for us by flattening sexuality and eliminating all gender distinctions in marriage, in the home, and in Jesus’ church. We hope to redeem that trend by calling our men and women to embrace their masculinity and femininity by faith, including calling men to serve our flock as pastors as our Father intended. And we mean it when we say that we are gladly (happily!) complementarian. Grace-born obedience is always accompanied by blessing, and God’s blessing has been evident here as our men and women freely pursue their God-given callings with repentance, humility, and resolve.
Like breathing in and out, our community gathers for worship and scatters on mission. As the Father sent the Son, so we are sent into the world to announce the good news of the gospel. The totality of our lives is to be a witness to reality and glory of God. Though we come from all over the region, our missional living gets fleshed out in particular neighborhoods and cities among particular people. This is why our gospel communities on mission (GCMs) are the epicenter of our missional efforts, bringing the fragrance of Christ to bear, one locale at a time.
When the first disciples of Jesus received His command to make disciples of all nations, they set about to obey Him by planting churches. Read the New Testament and you will see that starting new churches is how the gospel spreads. Therefore, we are committed to planting churches that plant churches that plant churches! We do this by intentionally partnering with and financially supporting new gospel-centered, missional churches. In addition, we are asking the Lord to use our church as a catalyst for a movement of churches that are planted among people like the ones at Seven Mile Road.