What We Believe

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Statement of Faith

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

As adopted by the National Association of Evangelicals

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What is Baptism?

Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ and practiced by the church to stand as a sign and seal of a person’s union with Christ and his people. A sacrament is a promise of God’s word bound to a certain external sign. In baptism the promise is “You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). It seals to us our salvation in Christ by faith (1 Pet 3:21). The external sign is water (Mark 1:5; Acts 8:36). Therefore Christian baptism is always with water and in the Triune Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19).

Those who are baptized are identified with Jesus in his death and resurrection and are drawn into new life with him and with one another as God’s children (Rom 6:3–11; Tit 3:5). This is true of those who profess faith and obedience in Christ as well as children of believing parents (or one believing parent, 1 Cor 7:14). Baptism also calls each of us to a life of obedience in Christ, seeking the things that are above (Col 3:1).

If baptism is done according to the Lord’s command, it is effective for the Lord’s purposes, and so is to be administered only once. The mode of the water’s application does not determine its effectiveness—legitimate baptism may be done by pouring or sprinkling water on the person or by immersion.

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What is Church Membership?

Many churches have official membership with guidelines on what is required to become a member. Some Christians object to formal membership because the true Church as the Body of Christ is made up of everyone who professes faith in Christ. There is no specific place in Scripture where believers are commanded to become formal members of a local church. However, believers are instructed in the New Testament to fellowship with other believers, to participate in the mission of the Church, to emulate the faith of their leaders, and to submit to the authority of the leaders of their church (Rom 12:3–21; 1 Cor 12:12–31; 16:15–16; Eph 4:11–16; 1 Thess 5:12; 1 Tim 5:17–19; Heb 13:7, 17; 1 Pet 5:1–5). Membership is a way for believers to formally identify a specific local church as the one they have aligned with to meet those aspects of Christian living.

Churches have different requirements for membership, but the basic requirements tend to be that you profess your faith in Christ, that you have been baptized (or you will be baptized before being accepted as a member), and that no one in the church community has any reason to object to your membership. If someone does object, that does not automatically disqualify you from membership. Generally, the church leadership will discuss the objection privately with the person making the objection to determine its validity and relevance to your membership.

For churches organized in a way that requires members to vote on certain issues of church business (e.g., a decision to hire a new staff member or appoint an elder or deacon), having an official membership is necessary for determining who is permitted to vote. Certain volunteer leadership positions in the church are also only open to members (e.g., elder or deacon). Even for churches where a board of elders or a denominational hierarchy (rather than the members themselves) makes decisions related to the operation of the church, membership is still a way for believers to formally indicate their association with a local body of believers. When prospective members sign a church membership agreement (sometimes called a “church covenant”), they are making a promise to others in the church to be part of their church community.

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What is Baby Dedication?

A baby dedication is an occasion where parents make a public commitment before the church to raise their child in the Christian faith. Often, the child is an infant, but parents may choose to dedicate a child at any time. The dedication is partly about dedicating children to God and partly about the parents’ promise to dedicate themselves to cultivating faith in their children. It is also an opportunity for the parents to acknowledge the child’s life is a gift of God and that the child’s life rightfully belongs to God (Ps 127:3).

The dedication of children is found in Scripture where Hannah promises to dedicate her son to God’s service (1 Sam 1:11) and Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the temple as a baby (Luke 2:22–35). Jesus also blessed children who were brought to him (Mark 10:14–16).

Since the purpose of a dedication ceremony is to hear the parents publicly commit their children to God and to raising them in the faith, the service usually involves the pastor asking the parents questions about their intentions in bringing the child for dedication. For example, the pastor may ask whether they are prepared to dedicate themselves to the task of raising their child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord or whether they commit to instructing their child in the faith and nurturing an environment at home of prayer and devotion to Christ.

The pastor will also generally express the church’s commitment to partner with the parents through encouragement and training to also nurture the faith of their children. In some churches, the congregation may also be asked to express their commitment through word or action.

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What Happens in a Church Meeting?

Church congregations, committees, and leadership teams often meet to discuss issues related to running their ministries. While many meetings are somewhat informal, certain board meetings or church business meetings follow formal parliamentary procedure, usually based in some way off of Robert’s Rules of Order. The rules of parliamentary procedure are those followed by legislative bodies like the British Parliament or the U.S. Congress, but Robert’s Rules adapted the rules for use in meetings by other groups. Today many voluntary associations use these rules of order to conduct business including clubs and neighborhood associations as well as churches. For people unfamiliar with these rules, a meeting run in this fashion can be confusing with people reading the minutes, asking for the floor, making motions, calling for seconds, amending motions, or laying issues on the table.

The meeting will be led by a moderator or chairperson. Someone else will generally have been appointed to act as secretary or clerk and keep the official notes of what transpires at the meeting. These notes are called the minutes of the meeting. The moderator opens the meeting with a call to order and explains what the meeting is about and what they hope to accomplish. The moderator should not start the meeting until enough members are there. The minimum number of group members needed to make decisions on behalf of the group is called a quorum. The issues the group needs to discuss are called items of business. Once the moderator has determined a quorum is present, the meeting may begin.

Usually the first order of business is approving the minutes from the previous meeting. The secretary either reads the minutes aloud or distributes a written copy of the minutes for everyone’s review. Once the minutes are approved, the moderator moves to the main business of the meeting which may include reports from committees or other members, revisiting business items that were not resolved at the last meeting, or discussing new business items. Members of the group can introduce new business by making a motion. For instance, if someone says, “I move that we repave the parking lot,” they are making a motion for the group to consider the question of whether they will repave the parking lot. The moderator will ask for a second to the motion, meaning at least one other person has to support discussing the topic. If there is a second, then that motion is the item of business on the floor, a term used for the main area of focus in the meeting at the moment. During discussion, others may move to amend, or make changes to, the original motion. After discussion, the group votes on the motion. If the motion is to repave the parking lot, a vote in favor means the church approves repaving. Most motions can be approved by a simple majority vote. Certain issues require a vote where two-thirds of the people are in favor.

If discussion is dragging on for a particular item of business, a motion could be made to limit the time allowed for further discussion, or someone can move to table the discussion. This means that the item is taken off the floor (the area of main focus) and placed on the table (a holding area for issues to be discussed more later). Either motion needs a second, and the majority has to vote in favor of the motion to either add time limits to discussion or to table the topic.

If every item of business on the agenda has been covered and no one has any additional business to discuss, the moderator may announce that the meeting is adjourned. A member may also make a motion to adjourn, but someone else would need to second the motion. Instead of voting, the moderator may just ask if anyone objects to the meeting being adjourned. Usually a motion to adjourn only comes after the meeting has either run its scheduled time or it is apparent that the main items of business have already been addressed.