What We Believe
“We exist to magnify & enjoy God together through the gospel of Jesus by making new disciples, by helping one another become more like Jesus, & by worshipping & serving Him, all out of love for him & one another.”
God Is Supreme
The triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is the supreme and only eternal being. God created us to live for him and his glory, not for ourselves. In his grace, God also created us to live with him in a loving relationship. God created us to live by him too as dependent creatures who need God’s help for everything we do. We must joyfully worship and serve God in all of life, loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
God’s Word Is Authoritative
God has revealed himself to mankind, partly through his created world and providence over it, but most fully in the Bible, especially the Bible’s testimony to his Son, Jesus Christ. God’s Word is the ultimate authority for determining what we as Christians are to believe and how we are to live. Our own ideas must be subordinate to God’s revealed truth. We need to learn and live as much of the Bible as we can, being mindful of God’s primary commandments to love him and to love others.
The Gospel Is Vital
All people are sinners facing God’s judgment, but God graciously made a way to save people from their sins. Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, became a man and lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, and victoriously rose from the dead. Those of us who believe this message–the gospel–and turn from our sins to embrace Christ as Lord and Savior share in the benefits of his saving work. We are rescued from our sins and granted life everlasting in a real relationship with God. On the basis of the gospel, God provides for us the grace and mercy we need to live the Christian life. We must spread the gospel to all people and demonstrate Christ’s undeserved love to others in all our deeds.
Jesus Christ Is Preeminent
Jesus Christ and his work of redemption are the central focus of the Bible as a whole. God the Father has exalted his Son because of the mission of salvation that Christ accomplished. The Holy Spirit continues to point the world to Jesus. Christ is the preeminent one over all of creation and is the Head of the Church. We need to submit to him at all times as our exalted Lord, and we need to make much of him in all things. As we work for the expansion of his kingdom, we also must look for Christ’s return when he will establish his kingdom fully in a newly created earth and heaven.
Discipleship Is Imperative
When Christ saved us, he became our Lord and we became his disciples. He is the perfect image of God and the only example of perfectly righteous humanity, so we must follow him and imitate him in every part of our lives. Jesus also has commissioned us as his disciples to go into all of the world to make new disciples for him and to teach these new followers to obey all of his commandments. We have the privilege and responsibility of being involved in God’s kingdom work by inviting people to embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord and teaching Christ’s disciples how to follow him.
The Holy Spirit Is Essential
When Jesus returned to heaven following his resurrection, he sent the Holy Spirit to carry on his work. The Holy Spirit works to conform us to the image of Christ, operating in our hearts to produce the fruit of righteousness and Christlikeness in us. The Spirit also strengthens us and gifts us for service in God’s kingdom. Much of our service to God consists of service to other people, so we must diligently serve God and others with the ability that the Spirit provides. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives, and we need to rely on his power for spiritual growth and service.
Fellowship Is Crucial
God created us as relational beings as he himself is a relational being, enjoying the mysterious eternal unity of Father, Son, and Spirit. He has invited us into fellowship with him through Christ’s restoring work of salvation. We enjoy this fellowship with God not just as individuals but as a family of believers. We serve God together, grow in Christ together, and worship God together. We must seek to provide for one another’s needs and help one another to grow in our walk with God through mutual edification, encouragement, and accountability.
Articles of Faith
We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in their entirety are the verbally breathed-out (inspired) Word of God. The Holy Spirit exercised a supervising influence upon the human authors of the Scriptures so that what they wrote is God’s own Word. As God’s Word, the Bible is the final authority for faith and life and is completely free from error in the very words (inerrant) and teaching (infallible) of the original writings.
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–co-equal in essence, power, and glory. God directly created all that exists out of nothing, and he providentially sustains his creation. God is the sovereign ruler of the entire universe, working in all things to further the display and recognition of his glory.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been miraculously conceived in a virgin mother by the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ came to earth so that he might reveal God and redeem sinful people. We believe that Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through his perfectly righteous life, his substitutionary atoning death on the cross, and his victorious bodily resurrection. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where he rules over all creation as the sovereign King, intercedes for us as our High Priest, and awaits his imminent return to earth.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. It is this convicting work that produces faith in Christ and repentance of sins (conversion) in the hearts of unbelievers. The Holy Spirit brings new eternal life (regeneration) to those whom he draws to Christ and baptizes them into the Body of Christ (the Church). We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells all believers, identifying them as God’s children and ensuring their future redemption. He guides believers into all truth, speaking in the Scriptures. We believe that the Holy Spirit also performs a sanctifying work in the lives of believers, producing spiritual fruit and conforming believers to the image of Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit gifts Christians for service and enables them to use those gifts for God’s glory and the edification of other believers. We believe that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were intended for the foundation of the Church in the Apostolic period and are therefore no longer regularly occurring gifts among the members of the Church.
We believe that Satan is a real person and the tempter of Adam and Eve, whose Fall led mankind into sin. As the chief of all demons, Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and God’s people. Though he is powerful, he is under God’s control and will ultimately be overthrown by Jesus Christ and eternally punished in the Lake of Fire.
Man and Sin
We believe that man and woman were created in the image of God, but in Adam’s sin the entire human race fell into sin, inheriting a sinful nature and becoming separated from God under the judgment of death. All people give evidence of their sin nature by committing sins themselves and going their own way. People now bear a marred image of God and are unable to obey him fully or to deliver themselves from their sins.
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by repentance from sin and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his substitutionary death by shedding of blood. All those who have received this gift of forgiveness of sin (justification) will experience ongoing growth in holiness in this life (sanctification) and complete deliverance from sin in eternity (glorification).
We believe that the Church is made up of all regenerate persons of this age, who belong to the one Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head. Local churches are responsible to carry out God’s purposes in the world involving worship of God, edification of the saints, evangelism of unbelievers, and the practice of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that water baptism is an outward expression of a person’s acceptance of Jesus Christ and is not salvific or meritorious in any degree. Baptism symbolizes the Christian’s union with Christ in his death and resurrection as well as cleansing from sin. In light of this understanding of the significance of baptism, we believe that baptism is intended for believers in Christ only and that its symbolism is best expressed by immersion of the person in water. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is symbolic in representing Jesus Christ’s body and blood to help Christians remember and proclaim his atoning work. The elements do not become the body and blood of Christ, and no saving effect is transferred in partaking of them. The Lord’s Supper demonstrates dependence on Christ for spiritual life and communion with him and fellow believers.
Obligations of Believers
We believe that it is the responsibility of each believer to join in the fellowship and mission of the Church. Believers are to make and mature disciples through prayer, the exercise of spiritual gifts, deeds of mercy, personal witness of the gospel, the teaching and admonishing of other believers, and the giving of material gifts. We believe that the saved should live in a manner that is worthy of their Lord and Savior, who has called them. Grace teaches believers to deny ungodly, fleshly, worldly desires, and to live instead as Christ lived. There is liberty in Christ, but that liberty is never to be used as an occasion for the flesh, but rather for love and service to others. God has called believers to remain set apart from worldliness–whether it appears in the world, in religion (Christian or non-Christian), or in other professing believers.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will visibly return to earth at an hour known only to God. He will defeat every enemy, establish his eternal universal kingdom of righteousness, and gather believers to be forever with him. We believe that all people will be bodily resurrected–the saved unto eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. We believe that the spirits of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord. After the resurrection, the eternal state of every believer is life in the presence of God in the New Heaven and New Earth. The spirits of unbelievers at death are immediately subject to conscious torment and separation from God. After the resurrection, unbelievers will face the final judgment, at which they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, where they will experience eternal conscious punishment apart from the presence of God.
Philosophy of Ministry
We emphasize the teaching of the Scriptures.
- Our primary Sunday service includes an extended message from the Bible, typically in a careful expositional manner.
- We provide opportunities outside of the primary Sunday service for further study of the Bible.
- We teach the Bible to all people in the church in ways appropriate to their age and life situation.
- We seek to promote changed lives through the teaching of God’s Word, not merely the building up of biblical or theological knowledge.
- We attempt to teach as much of the entire Bible–all sections of both the Old and New Testaments–as possible.
- We encourage a balanced understanding of God and his works (theology) on the basis of a thorough knowledge of properly explained Scripture passages.
- We draw attention to Jesus Christ and his work (the gospel) as the central theme of the Bible.
- We seek to base our activities and decisions as a church on a proper and growing understanding of what God has taught in the Bible.
We emphasize personal discipleship.
- We focus on the importance of each person’s walk with Christ and growth in Christlikeness.
- The elders’ focus and effort is on discipling others.
- We encourage all members of the church body to involve themselves in discipling relationships, both for their own benefit and for the benefit of others.
- We utilize small groups in order to provide a context for personal discipleship and to develop natural discipling relationships.
- We promote strong families in which husbands and wives build each other up in Christ and take the leadership in discipling their own children.
- We train the members of the church body to be able to disciple others.
- We pursue intentional discipleship in the lives of new, immature, or straying Christians.
- We promote the discipleship of all people of the church from every age and life situation according to their needs.
We emphasize meaningful fellowship.
- We encourage relationship building with all people of the church during and surrounding all the services and meetings of the church.
- We utilize small groups to provide a context for the development of close personal relationships.
- We encourage discipling relationships that focus on mutual edification, not only friendships based on common interests.
- We care for one another through prayer, counseling, and benevolence based on individual needs.
- We promote hospitality and relationships that extend beyond official church meetings.
- We provide opportunities for people to share personal needs and to testify to others of the work and presence of God in their lives.
- We include occasional events and gatherings in addition to regular church meetings to provide further church-wide fellowship opportunities.
We emphasize God-exalting worship.
- Our primary Sunday service provides an extended time of directed corporate worship of God.
- We select the elements and order of the services to direct attention to the greatness and goodness of God based on his revealed truth.
- We select the elements and order of the services to allow for heartfelt expressions of praise and thanks to God.
- We select the best songs from all eras of church history, including the present, that allow for heartfelt and truth-based worship of God.
- We encourage worshipful prayer and praise–giving in church gatherings.
- We encourage worship that involves each person’s whole life and entire week.
We emphasize prayer to God.
- We include focused times of prayer in church services.
- We provide opportunity in small-group meetings for sustained times of group prayer.
- We provide occasions for extended times of church-wide prayer.
- The elders pray together and individually for the church body.
- We encourage all members of the church body to pray for one another and for the work of God’s kingdom in our community and throughout the world.
- We teach how to pray according to the teaching and models of Scripture.
- We emphasize the importance of worship and confession in prayer along with the making of requests based on physical and spiritual needs.
We encourage service to one another and to God.
- We seek to involve the entire church body in efforts to serve one another.
- We seek to be aware of the each other’s needs and to respond to them in tangible ways to provide spiritual and material assistance. We also seek to exercise charity toward the needy in our community.
- We train members of the church body how to serve one another.
- We seek to direct members of the church body to serve according to their personal giftedness and God-given abilities.
- We emphasize service and humility as the basis for all leadership roles and efforts in the church.
- We provide opportunity for and encourage the service of giving financial gifts to God and to others as the Lord leads and enables.
We schedule regular church gatherings.
- We identify Sunday as a special day for the primary gathering of the church for instruction from God’s Word, congregational worship, and fellowship.
- We utilize weekly small-group gatherings to provide an opportunity for additional and more intimate fellowship, mutual edification, and prayer.
- We encourage regular and faithful participation of the members of the church body in the official meetings of the church.
- We include occasions for church-wide prayer and fellowship.
- We seek a balance of getting together often as a church but also taking care not to take away time from other God-given responsibilities of the members of the church body.
We emphasize intentional evangelism.
- We train all members of the church body to be able to proclaim the gospel to others.
- We encourage all members of the church body to develop genuine relationships with non-Christians with a focus on sharing the gospel of Christ with them.
- We emphasize disciple-making, not only the generating of professions of faith.
- We seek to make our teaching understandable to non-Christians.
- We seek to provide an opportunity for non-Christians to witness the presence and glory of God in the worship and fellowship of all church services and gatherings.
- We engage in group and church-wide gospel outreach efforts.
- We encourage and participate in the starting of new churches within the United States through prayer, financial support, and personal involvement.
- We encourage and participate in the starting of new churches and other ministry efforts outside of the United States through prayer, financial support, and personal involvement.
We select and exercise Christlike leadership.
- We remind ourselves that Jesus Christ himself is the Head of the Church, its Great Overseer, and Chief Shepherd.
- We exhort men to exercise leadership in their homes to direct their families after Jesus Christ.
- We emphasize humble, servant-like leadership based on love and concern for all members of the church body.
- We seek to identify gifted leaders who are qualified to serve according to the principles laid down in Scripture.
- We seek to develop leaders in their ability to use their gifts to serve and lead others.
- We recognize two offices in the church–elders (pastors) and deacons.
- The elders bear the responsibility for teaching and shepherding the church, exercising spiritual oversight for it, and setting an example for others to follow by their lives.
- The deacons allow the elders to attend to their focus on the spiritual shepherding of the church body by attending to important physical and logistical needs in the church and any other matters assigned to them by the elders.
- We designate funds for the purpose of paying one or more elders who may devote their full vocational attention to the affairs and needs of the church.
- We designate the role of a lead elder who is particularly gifted to teach God’s Word and thus to provide vision, leadership, and training for the other elders and for the church body. As finances allow, this is a financially supported role.
We employ church restoration and discipline for straying church members.
- We seek to help church members to turn from their sin by lovingly confronting them, calling them to repentance, and helping them through discipleship.
- We hold church members accountable to their profession of commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord by employing the church restoration and discipline process according to the instructions of Scripture.
- We do not allow a church member to maintain his or her membership and service in the church while he or she refuses to repent of sin(s).
- We carry out the church discipline process with a loving desire for the restoration of the member and a careful desire to keep all matters known to as few people in the church as possible until it becomes necessary to inform the entire congregation because of ultimate refusal to turn from sin.
We promote unity within this church and with other true Christians.
- We seek to be aware of and to eliminate divisions and factions that begin to arise in the church.
- We promote unity through church-wide teaching, worship, fellowship, and prayer.
- We seek to involve members of the church body in the lives of others of different ages and life situations.
- We regularly encourage one another to prefer one another and to lay aside personal interests for the good of others.
- We participate with other Christians or churches that hold to the gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone and that are walking according to the truths and instructions of the Scriptures.
- We will safeguard true Christian unity in Christ and the truth of the gospel by refraining from participation with those who do not hold to the gospel of Christ or do not walk according to the teachings of the Scriptures.
We seek to present and protect a Christlike public reputation.
- We conduct our financial affairs with integrity and safeguards that protect against accusations of misconduct.
- We carry out decision-making and activity in the church in a way that demonstrates concern for others and leaves no room for accusations of misconduct.
- We pursue the restoration of any broken relationships among members of the church body with one another or with people outside of the church.
- We demonstrate the love of Christ to our community by involvement in appropriate community affairs and by purposeful ministries to our community.
Having followed the Lord’s leading to join together as this local church on the basis of our shared relationship with Jesus Christ through faith, as demonstrated publicly through our baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we joyfully affirm this covenant with one another and with God, in dependence on his gracious help.
- We commit to pursue the stated mission of this church, which is to magnify and enjoy our glorious God together through the gospel of Jesus Christ by making new disciples of Christ, by helping one another to become more like Christ, and by worshipping and serving God, all out of love for him and one another.
- We commit to uphold and promote the stated core values of this church, believing that: a) God is supreme, b) God’s Word is authoritative, c) the gospel is vital, d) Jesus Christ is preeminent, e) discipleship is imperative, f) the Holy Spirit is essential, and g) fellowship is crucial.
- We commit to devote ourselves together to the teaching of God’s Word, to edifying fellowship with each other, to the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer. We purpose to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to others, to give financially to the needs of this church, and to join in the worship of God. We will faithfully participate in the meetings and activities of this church for these purposes as we also seek to grow in Christ and serve him in our families and personal lives.
- We commit to obeying the responsibilities that the Scriptures lay upon us toward one another. We will love one another, be kind to one another, serve one another, help one another, edify one another, instruct one another, exhort one another, encourage one another, accept one another, prefer one another, bear one another’s burdens, and pray for one another.
- We will protect the unity of the Spirit by seeking to be at peace with one another and resolving conflicts quickly when they arise. We will protect the purity of this church by holding each other accountable to the Word of God, and we embrace all attempts to spiritually restore us should we stray from the Scriptures in our beliefs or conduct.
- Elders: We commit to lovingly care for all the members of this church, seeking their good and providing spiritual leadership according to the humble example of our Lord Jesus Christ. We will faithfully teach God’s Word publicly and privately, both in word and in conduct, and we will devote ourselves to prayer for this church and all the members who comprise it.
- All Members: We will support the elders of this church, praying for them, serving alongside them in the ministry of this church, and submitting to their leadership in the Lord. We accept their spiritual oversight as they hold us accountable to our commitment to Jesus Christ, and we will also hold them accountable to the Scriptures and to the duties and qualifications of their call.
Having made these commitments to one another and to God, we will seek to carry them out by God’s grace as long as the Lord allows us to be part of this church body; and should he lead us away from this church, we will seek with his guidance to join ourselves to another church body that aligns its doctrine and practices with the Scriptures and embodies the spirit of this covenant. May the grace and blessing of God the Father, Son, and Spirit be upon us all, and may he receive glory in this church by Christ Jesus. Amen.