- Social Justice
As followers of Jesus and students of the New Testament, the Brethren strongly believe that it is our responsibility to care for those who cannot care for themselves. We believe that “faith by itself, it if is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). The scriptures assure us that God loves all people, and as His people, we are expected to love like Him. Because of that belief, we make our best effort to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, help the poor, give voice to the voiceless, and protect the widow and orphan.
The Church of the Brethren takes seriously Jesus’s command to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). The Brethren believe that, as Christians, we are to model our lives after Jesus. Throughout the gospels, Jesus emphasizes to his followers the importance of peaceful living. Even when he was arrested and threatened with violence, cruelty, and death, Jesus chose to forgive and even pray for his persecutors. We believe that we are called to do the same.
The Church of the Brethren is one of three historical peace churches, which also includes the Amish and the Mennonite denominations. We believe in seeking and promoting nonviolent solutions to conflicts, including in our personal lives as well as in situations both within our community and country and internationally. This conviction is lived out in many ways, including participating in marches for peace and against gun violence as well as making a commitment to be a conscientious objector in regards to a military draft.
The Church of the Brethren believes that, as Christ-followers, our first priority should be sharing the love of God. We believe that because we are filled with the love of God and called to be like Him, it is our duty to love as God loves with no barrier. Like God’s love, our love should be for every person, no matter their race, gender, age, or religion.
The Brethren’s attitude towards servanthood goes far beyond that of being a good person. We believe strongly that to love as God loves means to give completely of ourselves, to be sacrificing and selfless in our relationships with each person.
Green Tree specifically lives out this conviction in many ways. We strive to serve our community with community events such as free breakfasts and free car washes, as well as a Blessings Box which offers food and paper products to any who may be in need. We also host events for charitable organizations, like blood drives and fundraisers for charities. Green Tree also organizes volunteer opportunities with organizations such as Brethren Disaster Ministries, Mennonite Central Committee, and Habitat for Humanity.
Our desire is to show God’s love to our community in every way we can by meeting as many needs as possible.
The faith of the Church of the Brethren rests on the life and teachings of Jesus. The founders of the Church of the Brethren took note of Jesus’s humble life and his teachings on the dangers of wealth. Jesus told his followers, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). He notably warned his disciples that it would be more difficult for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of heaven than it would be to fit a camel through the eye of a needle after instructing a wealthy man to sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor (Matthew 19).
The Brethren believe that a focus on wealth impedes our ability to live as God calls us to live. We hope to instead place our focus on serving God and serving others. God charges us with caring for those in need, and it is our belief that we can only do so by taking on lives of simplicity.
- Priesthood of all Believers
Like most Protestant churches, the Church of the Brethren believes that all people, no matter their educational background or any other distinction, have access to God. While the Church of the Brethren has educated and ordained pastors, we believe strongly that all Christians, no matter their age, gender, or race, have a right and a responsibility to share their faith with others. At Green Tree, we invite any and all church members to serve as worship leaders, give testimonials, or share their faith in other ways, such as through music, dance, drama, or writing.