|written by Pastor David Wood|
Church Membership Studies
Lesson One: What we believe
Lesson One: What we believe
I. FOUNDATIONAL PHILOSOPHY
To believe that there is not a God seems rather foolish. In order to prove that there is not a God one would have to be everywhere at all times with all knowledge of all events of all time. In other words, to prove that there is not a God, one would have to be God.
B. GOD REVEALS HIMSELF TO MAN
Read Hebrews 1:1,2 and II Timothy 3:16. What do those two passages teach you about God?
In a recent U.S. News and
World Report interview, Carl Sagan reveals his bias about the Bible.
Sagan starts with a presupposition that there is no God and that the Bible is not the Word of God, then without any proof concludes that it is certainly "demonstrably wrong in areas of science. However, the Bible is NOT demonstrably wrong in areas of science. In fact, it repeatedly demonstrates its accuracy in scientific matters.(2)
The Bible is God's way of revealing Himself to us! Henry Blackaby, author of the Experiencing God Bible studies, states God's activity of revealing Himself to believers today:
God's Glory----Light [doxa]
II. FUNCTIONAL PURPOSE--Glorify
God! I Corinthians 10:31
Read Matthew 5:16.
Foundational Philosophy |
Why do we do what we do? | To Glorify God!
| Disciplined Disciples | Discerning Disciples
God's New Testament way of ministry that glorifies God is in accomplishing discipleship! James Means admonishes pastors to emphasize discipleship:
Effective pastors orient their churches to penetrate their community and world with the gospel, but they obsessively concern themselves with discipling their members and equipping them for the work of the ministry!(6)
Too often the product and process of ministry become manipulations produced by man's devices. Question: Who then receives the credit? Who receives the glory?
What is discipleship? How can we know if we are accomplishing discipleship? The answer to both of those questions comes in a study of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus produced a product in His 12 disciples; that product was incredible! Only God could do it! Those disciples were characterized by three qualities:
1. Devotion: John 13:35;
2. Discipline: John 14:21; Luke 14:27; I John 3:24
It is by willing, prayerful, and persistent obedience to the requirements of the Scriptures that godly patterns are developed and come to be a part of us.
3. Discernment: John 16:13
If the product of ministry needs to glorify God, then the means of accomplishing that product must also glorify God.
God must be glorified in the PROCESS of ministry.
Worship Witness Way of Living
Contrast Temple's viewpoint of worship compared to the modern day interpretation of worship– feelings of ecstasy. True worship occurs when the objective truth of Scripture directs the subjective heart.
It can be said that the average fundamental church . . .
Is packed with people who have been trained in a contorted manner. They have been taught how to study the Bible, how to pray, how to have good fellowship, but evangelism is left out. Those cases will result in people who in Bible study have become academic, their prayer life boring, their fellowship superficial – all because they neglected the catalyst for the first three, namely personal evangelism.(8)
Take up the challenge of
attending the next Five Truths Seminar offered by
Way of Living
Constantly ask yourself, "What does the Bible say about this." There must be a Bible reason for every action or reaction. To answer your question of "What does the Bible say" demands that you study your Bible. The Bible does not specifically address every issue you will face. However, there are principles, or truths that apply, that fit every issue you may face.
The task of the authentic
fundamentalist is to take the eternal principles of Scripture and apply
them to the real-life situations of his culture and times, allowing
Our way of living must be
List several ways you can serve your church family?
Separation from worldliness, both personal and ecclesiastical, is a Biblical doctrine. The proper analysis and principled application of Scripture will result in a separated (i.e., different) lifestyle.
The church at Corinth was called to be "set apart." Yet, they as a church regularly conformed to the society in which they lived. Their problems as a church developed in the areas where they refused to be separated. They were not separated from the world in lifestyles, from false teachers, nor from disobedient brethren.
Biblical separation in the believer and in a ministry has its basis in love for the Lord and in a respect for His holiness. When one practices separation from sin and has as his motive love for a Holy God, that separation from sin cannot be defined as legalism. It must also be said that if a man or ministry pridefully exalts his separated position, that approach to separation may very well become legalistic.(11)
Study Questions from Lesson One
1. Since there is a God, and that God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, what does He deserve?
2. What does Glory mean?
3. What are two manifestations of God's glory?
5. The product glorifies God in those that have what three qualities?
6. What three elements of ministry are important to glorify God?
Lesson #2 Who we are
It is our goal and purpose to have a church established according to God's will where believers and nonbelieiver can come unashamedly and without fear of man's criticisms and animosities to hear and learn of God's Word and to be led to the throne of Grace. We pray that God will bless our efforts and may we be wholly in His will.
February 25, 1962 – First baptisms: Walt and Fran Ditsworth.
After meeting for several months in preparation, the founding members met on May 3, 1962 for the purpose of making official the organization of Berean Baptist Chapel.
Charter Members: Walt and Fran Ditsworth, Rev. Lyndon and Nancy Hebner, Sam and Mabel Korf, Ed and Ione Ostergard, Bill and Jan Stees
After meeting in the Sam Korf home for nine months we were finally led by the Lord to a place of our own. That place was the vacant apartment above the Post Office in Shannon. Several of the members spent many nights working long hours to redecorate the building . . .
August 6, 1964 – "Walt Ditsworth stated that he was bothered by our not using the church money to further the gospel. A discussion period followed. Bill Stees moved that we set 10 percent of the offerings aside for a mission fund. Ione Ostergard seconded the motion and it was accepted by the church." The missions ministry since then has grown consistently to an annual budget more than $25,000.
In December 1965 Pastor Melvin Seger came on faith as full time pastor. Because of the growth during those years, the basement of the Post Office was also used for some time. In May 1966 the church purchased the present church property for $2700. On Resurrection Sunday, 1968 the building at the corner of Badger and Broad streets was begun. The church family worked hard in the following years to develop the church facility.
On March 19, 1970 the church called Tom Bratton as pastor. He served until 1972. Steve Lewis came as pastor in April 1972. Steve Lewis lovingly drew the church together during his two-year pastorate.
In April,1974 Pastor David Stertzbach came. God used his ministry in a great way. In September 1977 the church stepped out into an aggressive $200,000 building project which included much needed Sunday School classrooms, offices, bathrooms, and air conditioning.
In August 1982 the name of the church was changed to Shannon Baptist Church.
Pastor Stertzbach served as pastor for 14 years with strong leadership, an effective youth ministry, a unique V.B.S. outreach, and an aggressive bus ministry. The church grew consistently to a Sunday morning attendance averaging 170 to 180.
In 1988 Pastor Jim Welch came as pastor for 18 months. He did a great job, really warming to the entire community; yet, he felt called to take another pastorate in New Mexico of a church that earnestly desired him to come.
In 1990 the church called Pastor David Wood. Pastor Wood married a young lady who had grown up in the church, Lori Stees. The Lord has blessed abundantly. In the 1990's the church continued to grow, many facility improvements were made, and new ministries established. During that time the Lord called one of the young men in the church to preach, Kregg Farmer. Kregg served as a part-time youth pastor for a number of years. In 1996 the church called Pastor Kregg as full-time youth pastor. In November of 1996 the Lord moved in an unusual way to encourage another Baptist church in the area and to reestablish a fundamental work in Milledgeville, Illinois. After much soul searching and seeking of the Lord's will, both Pastor Wood and Pastor Farmer felt that God was calling Pastor Farmer to pastor at Community Baptist Church in Milledgeville. Several families from Shannon Baptist joined him in that work, and the church there is now thriving. To God be the glory.
Pastor Tim Lehman came to Shannon in May 1997 to serve as the full time assistant pastor concentrating in youth ministries. Also, in September of 1997 the Lord led the leadership of the church to establish an AWANA ministry for children. Both the youth ministry and the AWANA ministries continue to be used of God in a great way.
Read the church covenant Article II. What strikes you as being particularly important in that covenant?
Our church polity is patterned
after a congregational mode of polity.
Congregational polity does
The Spirit of God:
A business meeting, then,
A business meeting is:
As Baptists we hold to:
– Church Members should already be saved and baptized.
– Believers should be baptized by immersion to be identified with Christ.
– We hold to two ordinances. 1) Baptism by immersion in water which is done in obedience to Christ's command. It identifies the believer as one of Christ's committed ones! 2) Communion, the Lord's Supper is done in remembrance of Christ's death.
– We believe in the persevering of the saints. God keeps those who are truly His.
– We believe in the Priesthood of the believer. The believer has direct access to God in prayer and has a great responsibility to represent his Lord well.
– We believe in the Separation of Church and State. The church must answer directly to God as its ultimate authority.
– We believe in the principle of sole liberty. Each believer is individually responsible to God.
– We understand that the local church is self governing. Each local church must seek the will of God under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
By saying we are independent we do not mean to imply that we do not have fellowship with other churches. Other churches with sound doctrine and similar practice do unite together for fellowship. Two such fellowships are the Victory Association and the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship.
3. What does Congregational Polity emphasize?
What is expected of you?
Expectation Number One
"The family that prayer together stays together."
"Brethren, we shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians." Charles H. Spurgeon
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication . . . (Acts 1:14 ).
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).
Your pastor needs your prayers:
Your church family needs
The obvious context of Matthew 18:19 and 20 is that of praying for a church family member who has gone astray. However, the context broadens with the words anything to include everything. The key element for power in prayer in our church is that we agree.
List several things that often get in the way of believers being able to agree in prayer:
What does praying in "His name" mean? (John 14:13)
Look up the following verses and write out the prayer promise God gives you concerning prayer.
Expectation Number Two
Faithful participation in ministry means you make a commitment to faithfully attend!
Not forsaking the assembling
of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching
Faithful participation means
that you participate in ministry.
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:10,11).
1. Gifts of speaking
2. Gifts of serving
The main point of this verse is that you serve one another . . . so that God may be glorified.
If you are a church member at Shannon Baptist Church, in order for you to glorify God, there needs to be a means of ministry either in speaking or serving. Please examine the "Ministry Assessment Survey" provided at the end of this lesson. Prayerfully consider what areas God has given you abilities in and what areas you are excited to serve in. Please return that list with your responses in the church offering plate on Sunday morning.
Faithful participation means that you participate in witness.
Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
List several ways you can participate in witness:
The pastoral staff at Shannon
Baptist has no idea who gives funds or what amounts are given. However,
many have testified that when they did begin to tithe and give, their
view of the church changed. They moved from being a "renter"
at church to being a participative "owner." Someone has said,
"You only get from a church what you put into your church."
David understood that principle as well.
I Corinthians 9:13,14
II Corinthians 9:7
Consider the following statement from Dr. Ed Nelson, long time pastor and evangelist, regarding the starting point each believer ought to have regarding giving:
The tithe is the first 10 percent of one's income. It is not just 10 percent–but rather the first 10 percent (Proverbs 3:9). One who pays all bills and then presents to the Lord the 10 percent that is left over would not actually be tithing. To tithe is to recognize that the first 10 percent is God's and present that to Him. To tithe, therefore, is to present to God His 10 percent before we use any of our income . What is the practical application of this truth? For the working individual who draws a salary check, to tithe would be to present to the Lord 10 percent of his gross income. Suppose a man makes $300 per week, gross income. And he has $230 a week "take home pay." His tithe should be figured on his gross income before his withholding tax, credit union payment, etc. are deducted. Therefore, his tithe would be $30 instead of $23. For the person engaged in business, he would be required to tithe only the profit from the business. He would not need to figure 10 percent of the gross income in order to be tithing.
Often people say they just cannot afford to tithe or give beyond the tithe. Giving is a matter of faith and obedience to God. You cannot afford not to obey God's truth and prompting! Let us challenge you to search the scriptures, learn to budget, and watch what obedience to God can do!
Consider these testimonies of church members regarding financial stewardship:
From a founding member, in our church for more than 35 years:
We have observed over the years that every time we felt moved of God to give, God always supplied. We just needed to step out by faith and obey God. Repeatedly, throughout our church history, we came to points in the ministry that we felt God would have us expand an area of the work. That vision always costs money. The money was never there ahead of time. However, each time and every time we stepped out by faith in faithful stewardship God always supplied. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think!
From a man who was saved as a result of his children coming on the church bus:
When our kids went to a Christian college we had no way of paying the school bills, yet God miraculously supplied. God has provided very well and has been ever since we made the decision to obey Him. Ten years ago my wife and I made the decision to tithe. That year my business did $250,000 worth of business. This year the business did ten times as much business -- $2,500,000. Psalm 50:14,15 says, Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
A young husband and father said this:
One Sunday my wife and I
both felt impressed of the Lord that we should begin to obey God about
tithing. After work the next day I sat down with our financial materials
to figure out a way to do it. The money just was not there. We had accumulated
debt on our credit card that had to be paid. We were anticipating several
other expenses. Yet, my wife and I both felt that we needed to trust
God and obey and at least give 10 percent.
Expectation Number Four
What spiritual truths can you glean from all of these verses?
What people think about you is what they will think about your church. Ultimately, your church reputation reflects upon God's reputation. As the adage goes, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link," so it can be said, "A church's reputation is only as strong as the worst reputation of an individual in that church."
Give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully (1 Tim 5:14).
List several areas in which you believe a good reputation is necessary:
4.Ministry Assessment Survey
"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ." I Peter 4:10,11
"But the manifestation
of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal . . .
Nothing in life is as great as to be used of God! The greatest pleasure a believer can find comes when he is doing the will of God! The challenge then is in finding out how God wants to use you.
We at Shannon Baptist Church believe that every member of the body of Christ in this local church has a job to do. Each one should be in the will of God empowered by the Holy Spirit to edify the church.
How to learn of your spiritual gift:
1. Be genuinely born again (John 3:3).
2. Be filled with the Holy
3. Ask God to show you what He wants to do through you in your local church assembly. Begin looking for opportunities to serve Him. Step out by faith to obey God in that area of service.
4. Prayerfully fill out the material in this survey. Circle the areas of ministry God lays upon your heart. Please return the completed survey to the church office.
Please check the areas in
which you sense God may want to use you:
Please complete this form and return it to the church office.
(1) Stephen Budiansky,
"Keeper of the Flame," U.S. News and World Report 120 No.
11 (18 March 1996): 78.
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