The story of us all
Jesus told the story of a man who had two sons. The younger wished his father was dead and asked for his inheritance in advance. Dad gave it to him and he wasted every dime. Penniless, he decided to go home. When his dad saw him, he ran to meet him. The older brother, believing he had earned his dad's love by never making mistakes, was jealous. He couldn't believe his dad could act so recklessly.
Both of these sons were lost; only one was found.
People at Encounter come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but our common thread is that we know that at times in our lives we've all messed up. We've been the younger son who needed to swallow his pride and ask for forgiveness. We've been the older son who wrongly believed he had the answers and everything would be better if only everyone was like him. We've been the father, who was charged with running after those who've hurt us and embracing them even before they admitted any wrongdoing.
For a few more particulars on what we believe, see the Apostle's Creed.
The Apostle's Creed
This statement dates back all the way to the teachings of the very first followers of Jesus.
"I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen."
*catholic in this instance means the Christian church at anytime and any place, not a specific line of belief or theology