What We Believe
A. GOD, JESUS, HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is hard to pin down: an intangible, fiery feeling, a mystery, a feeling of calm and peace, a sense of being held, a feeling of clarity when everything clicks. The Spirit is comforter, guide, conscience, a voice that reminds us when we are wondering away, another intuition in us that gives us the ability to sense what is good or not, a vehicle to get us to where we need to be. When experienced, there's a tremendous joy and no question what it is. The spirit is IN us.
B. THE BIBLE AND ITS USE
The bible is God's Word written through the hearts and minds of humans; through faith we understand and interpret it. It speaks to all people of all ages and teaches principles that we can apply to our lives. The Bible is a manual for Christians living, a book to turn to for help; there's a verse to get you through anything. We use it for comfort and guidance; it is the story of God's love for us and the story of people's lives.
C. BELIEVERS' BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
Accepting Christ as your personal Savior and being baptized is the most important thing you do in life, because it saves your life. When you are baptized, your sins are washed away. Your old life dies, and you are born again into a life that you live according to Christian standards. As Baptists, we believe in immersion, which makes us different from many other denominations. individuals make their own personal decision to be baptized when they are old enough to understand it. Baptism is a joyous occasion and gives one a sense of belonging.
The Lord's Supper is the most sacred part of the church service. It is an awesome and very spiritual experience. It gives Christians a chance to renew themselves by confessing sins and feeling forgiveness, thereby receiving strength. For those who partake and especially for those who serve the Lord's Supper, it is like being with Jesus and living the last hours of His life with him. This ordinance is a special time of "communion" between the congregation, pastor, and Christ.
D. BAPTIST PRINCIPLES
Soul Liberty is freedom to have our own opinions and to challenge others in their thinking. This leads to diversity and tolerance, as we can disagree and still be friends. Having our own opinions and thoughts lead us to a personal relationship with God.
Autonomy of the Local Congregation is very important, as our church is independent. We want to choose our own leaders, our mission, and have control over our property and money. We want to provide our own finances for a common goal or purpose.
Priesthood of All Believers characterizes the church members. We are priests as we spread the Word and serve others and the church.
The Associational Principle means that our church participates in local ecumenical activities as part of our mission and ministry. When our church members and pastor meet with others, they bring a unique viewpoint. Resources, like camps and retreats, are available to us when we associate with other churches.
E. THE ROLE OF THE LAITY/THE ROLE OF THE PASTOR
These roles are intertwined, yet separate.
The Pastor must be a knowledgeable teacher who is a good listener. As a resource person, the Pastor will guide the laity to find what their gifts are and suggest how to use them in their spiritual growth. As a mentor, the Pastor needs to encourage and support the laity and the life of the church. She/he should be aware of the needs of the congregation and visit people in their homes. The Pastor should be a good counselor, some one who you can talk to for guidance and/or referral. Working well with the youth is essential. The Pastor should be a leader and a mediator between committees, like a CEO with a vision. She/he should give direction, not orders. A Pastor has to love and know the Lord personally, and be able to teach the Bible.
The laity needs to hold the pastor accountable and pray for her/him. As members of boards and committees, the laity must run the church with the Pastor as a guide. Not only do they need to minister to the needs of the congregation, but also they share their faith with the world. The laity should be active all the time, not just on Sunday, praying, witnessing, visiting, and supporting the church and Pastor with important responsibilities. Keeping everyone informed of mission projects and fund-raising are also jobs of the laity. As they work together they should care for, love, and forgive each other.
F. THE PURPOSE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH IN TODAY'S SOCIETY
To help others come into the church as Christians and make the church a part of peoples' lives, sharing the firm foundation that God loves us always by talking to people and encouraging them to come to church.
To provide leadership in the community by setting a moral standard and modeling Christian values and citizenship and showing tolerance and respect to all people.
To be a learning community by providing opportunity for individuals to study together to define their own beliefs based on the central compass of God, Jesus, the Holy spirit and the Bible.
To reach out to others in need, financially, spiritually, physically, emotionally, through prayer, sharing and helping in the community and to care for each other in the church in the same manner.
To be a place where one can be oneself, welcoming and inclusive of all people, tolerant of differences of opinion, thus providing a sense of peace and family. The church is also a social gathering place where people can have fun together.
G. THIS CHURCH'S COMMITMENT TO THE ABC/USA
We are committed to local, state, national, and international missions with ABC/USA, yet we don't have a sense of belonging. They are set up as an advisory organization. While they don't tell us what to believe, there is a sense that they have an agenda for us.