Core Values & Distinctives

Common Characteristics of a Citylight Family Church


Citylight Family churches share four distinctives that provide consistency across the churches, but also allow for unique neighborhood-based mission and spiritual giftings within each church. This allows for connectedness and familiarity among the churches while allowing each to spread the Gospel to their neighbors in a unique way.

1. Gospel-Centered

The Gospel really is good news, and we are committed to heralding the timeless message that God can save sinners, grow His people, and use them to be a part of His redemptive work. Citylight churches are committed to worshipping Jesus, exalting Him through the preaching of God’s word, and calling people to live in light of His finished work.

2. Gather & Scatter

Citylight churches gather regularly for the preaching and teaching of God’s word, to observe the sacraments, and to worship Jesus. We also scatter into City Groups throughout the week to live on mission as a spiritual family in the places we live, work, and play.

3. Team Leadership

Citylight churches are not built around one personality or leader, but are led by leadership teams. We believe the church benefits from hearing from different voices and that pastors are blessed when the responsibility of leadership is shared.

4. Church Planting

We are churches committed to planting new autonomous churches. We believe that church planting is God’s primary way of advancing the Gospel. As new networks and communities are engaged by new local churches, new disciples are made and existing disciples are matured as they are called to serve, lead, give, and trust Jesus in greater ways.

2 Rhythms

GATHER on Sunday Mornings

Sunday gatherings are a gathering of City Groups. Just as Christians have been doing for 2,000 years, Citylight will gather on Sundays to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, proclaim his word, worship him through music, and celebrate the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Sunday gatherings will serve the broader mission of multiplying disciples and churches. As our gatherings equip disciples and inspire the ministry of City Groups, new churches will be planted.

SCATTER into City Groups

City Groups are the heart of a Citylight Church. Multiplying City Groups is our goal. They are not an optional program or a seasonal Bible study. We want everyone in the church to participate in a City Group. A City Group is a mid-sized community (15-40 people) that is growing as a spiritual family, being transformed by the gospel, and serving a specific neighborhood or network of Omaha. City Group leaders focus the rhythms of the group around three things: formation (up), community (in), and mission (out). We envision City Groups that are small enough to care for each other’s spiritual formation and big enough to dare to engage the culture around them. As disciples multiply, so will City Groups and churches.

4 Core Values

DOWN | The Gospel

The gospel is the “good news” that God has reached down to us in his son, Jesus, to defeat sin and death and their effects in our world. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has initiated and accomplished what we never could. This gospel is the “power of God” (Rom. 1:16) to overcome the penalty of sin (past) the power of sin (present) and the presence of sin (future). It is the power for personal salvation and transformation as well as the renewal of neighborhoods, cities, and nations. We never move past Jesus. We never move past the gospel. Who we are and what we do will be rooted in and empowered by God’s reaching down in the gospel.

UP | Formation

We have all been formed into a certain kind of person. The goal of the gospel is not just to save us from hell, but to renew our character and lives “until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). We are committed to proclaiming the gospel not just as the front door to Christianity but as the good news that we live by every day. We are committed to being a church that drives people to personal repentance and faith in Jesus for a changed and transformed life.


IN | Community

The church is not a place but a people. It’s not just a weekly assembly of individuals, but a community committed to loving each other well and doing life together. Community is the context for gospel formation and mission. We will not settle for being a weekly service for people to attend, but will continually drive people to share their lives with others as “a people for [God’s] own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9).


OUT | Mission

The church is God’s missionary agency to fulfill the great commission. Emil Brunner wrote, “The church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning.” Therefore, “missions” is not one ministry within the church, but the very orientation of the church. The same gospel that transforms us also compels us outward on mission. We exist as a church on mission to be “a city on a hill” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). We are committed to living as a scattered church during the week in City Groups and as a gathered church on Sunday as our City Groups come together.