Philosophy of Ministry
While examining the purpose and mission of local Churches, one must look at its goals and visions. We invite disciples of Christ to join with us as we look to make a serious impact on the Manassas area leaving them with a mark of Christian testimony and witness.
During the past 21 centuries since Christ ascended to the Father, the collective body of Spirit filled believers known as the Church has been about fulfilling Christ's will for the Church age. Christ left us as God's people with a commission.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matt. 28.18b-20.
While programs have their place and are useful, it is not through the programs of the Church that these things are accomplished, but by the very life of each disciple affected by the daily impact of the Gospel on each member. The following statements reflect the basic ministry philosophy of the body of believers known as the Berean Baptist Church.
First, if we are to advance we must have a vision. While many verses of Scripture can be found the vision of Berean Baptist Church can be summed up in 1 Cor. 10.31. "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." That is our main purpose. In Matt. 5.17, the Lord said, In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. How do we do this? Gal. 5.17 gives the answer: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. God is exalted by faith, as He is the author of it, and the source of it. This is affirmed in Acts 17.25-28. As he said in Romans 11.36, For from Him and to Him be glory forever. Amen. Biblical faith works through love, which is the necessary outflow of faith in God, thus we want to show forth love biblically as our Lord prescribed in John 13.34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.
Second, out of this vision statement must flow a mission statement, showing how we carry out this vision. Our statement is; "Seeing God change hearts, through His unchanging Word." Biblical change takes place not as behavioral change, but through heart change. Heart change occurs as we yield to the Word by faith, repenting of sin and turning in the right direction. God works in us and grows us as we step forward in faith, thus making lasting change in the believer. We believe that through the ministry of expositional preaching and teaching, coupled with their own personal study and prayer will produce the changed heart. We also offer biblical counseling for those that need that extra support during that process.
Third, let us consider these articles that promote our vision and mission.
To Him belongs our supreme allegiance, honor and praise. He has created us for the sole purpose of worshipping Him, having fellowship with Him, and carrying out His will. He is the summum bonum, (our highest good), and the glory of all the universe, His creation. 1 Tim. 1.17
As God's people we find that the Scriptures are our sole authority, and totally sufficient for all matters of life and godliness. They being coupled with the power of God's Holy Spirit, produce change in our inward man, not merely change in behavior. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12. Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, real biblical growth and faith cannot progress without a steady diet in the Word.
"The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and heaven gave rain and the earth bore its fruit." James 5:16b-18. We meet weekly for prayer on the Lord's day and midweek, as well as communicating prayer requests to one another throughout the week. 2 Thess. 3:1
Worship is a reflection of the heart, and as hearts have been changed they respond back to God with joy and fervor. The worship should show forth the holiness and majesty of our great God, and we can do this through music of this century as well as the theologically rich hymns of our past history. We want to sing from the depths of our hearts, "How great is our God." Ps. 47. Eph. 5:19.
While some wait for fellowship to come to them, we must purposefully seek out honest relationships with the intention of discipling and showing real love toward those who are in the body. As the Apostle tells us in Gal. 5.11, for all the whole law is fulfilled in one word: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The purpose then is to exhort each other and to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. John 15.12, Gal. 6.1-2; Heb. 10.19-27 Fellowship shows what we have in common together, and is something that is visible to the world. Clubs, and civic organizations cannot experience what God intended for the Church to experience.
Strong families are the spiritual backbone of any Church, and they will strengthen the program of God by securing the home. While it is realized that families have been under attack, and many families within the body of Christ are incomplete, we strive to equip parents with a biblical family model, so that even singles and individuals that are without families can feel a sense of family within our own Church family. (Ps 127)We still must teach the biblical model even if it is not what it should be.
God has called us to be a light and an influence within our own community, and thus we encourage one another to seek out opportunities for doing good, evangelism through both word and deed, and that we demonstrate Christ by our example. The community that we live in should know that we exist, and if we were to someday be absent, our presence and help to them would be missed. Matt. 5.13-17 We engage in community events throughout the year, setting up booths at various events introducing who we are and what we do.
Our Lord's commission states for us to go into all the world. While this is not possible for everyone, everyone should and can be involved in the Gospel ministries impact in the world itself. By the Church sending, giving and serving and evangelizing, local New Testament Churches are being planted, thus glorifying God with the message of God's grace and forgiveness to all nations. We have over 13 missionary families that we participate with that are involved in global missions. Matt. 13.44; Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Cor. 9.19-23
As the Scriptures teach, "without vision, the people perish." And so we labor to fulfill the purpose of the Church to our best ability. Churches are dying everyday, and we recognize that like a family, without children, the family fades from the scene and from history. While the Church will never shall never perish as per our Lord's command, local Churches do fade off the scene, this happens when there are no spiritual births. We want to be innovative without compromising the truth, and we will never place our security in style or traditions. But we must realize that if we do not reach the lost, our Church will close.
Unity in Diversity:
We want to be a force for change in Western evangelicalism- an entity that often struggles with complacency. There are many cultures within our geographical area, and we cannot isolate ourselves to just one people group. Our goal is to see God work through our diversity to bring Him glory and praise.
Because everyone is different, God is glorified when peoples of all races, cultures and nationalities and interests, come together as one unit functioning together having all things common. It is a testimony to the world that we can love one another, and that love is not based on our respective background be it, social, economic, education, or race. It is based on our relationship to Christ, and how He through His blood sacrifice has made us all one in Him, a miracle in itself! Eph. 2.11-22
The Model: What kind of a church is this?
For some, you may ask, what kind of Church is this? While we maintain and value our Baptist distinctives and heritage, we hope that we will not be seen within the general evangelical landscape that many Churches have fallen into. We do not see ourselves as the only 'right' church, and are desirous to work with other churches of like faith in the surrounding vicinity. While there are many church models out there, the following 3 adopted from the 9 Marks Ministries, sum them up categorically. We at Berean gravitate toward the 4th model.
The Traditional Church
Appeal to the world with church programs and door-to-door evangelism. Conclude sermons by inviting people to "walk the aisle" or "pray the sinner's prayer" to invite Jesus into your heart. This model is rooted in nineteenth century revivalism.
The Seeker Church
Build everything around the idea of appealing to the non-Christian. In other words, make the church "seeker sensitive." Avoid "churchy" cultural barriers, anything that is overtly religious like pews or crosses or stained glass or biblical language (jargon). Appeal to "felt needs." Like a good motivational speaker, tell people that Jesus promises fulfillment, purpose, and better relationships. God, after all, wants you to have "your best life now."
The Missional Church
Missions isn't just one activity the church participates in; it defines the church's essence. Incarnational ministry is key. Be incarnate in the culture by getting involved with the arts, schools, and social service groups. Seek to transform the culture by being immersed in the culture(rather than being counter-cultural).
While each of these models can be helpful, they lead with a secondary question: "How can we fulfill the command of Jesus stated at the outset, (Matt. 28.18-20)?" A vital question, but it's not the primary question. The primary question for the church is, "How do we worship?" Worship is primary because God is primary. He is the ultimate reality in the universe and, therefore, our first step must be Godward. This brings us to our model:
A Godward Church
People come together in a room (worship center, auditorium, sanctuary). A pastor opens the Bible, explains the meaning of a particular passage and applies it to our contemporary setting. The assembly sings, prays, shares the bread and the cup and encourages one another in fellowship. The church is dismissed to live out their faith in their homes, the church itself, their jobs, and their communities.
Some people may look at the above, latter model and object that it isn't very market savvy. Perhaps, and yet what happens in this gathering, Lord willing, is in the power of the Holy Spirit. Consciences are pierced. Lives changed. And God is worshipped as the people grow in their hatred of sin and love to God and neighbor. By a miracle of grace ministry happens, God is glorified, and people are helped for eternity.
A Godward church is a worshipping church, and a worshipping church is a supernaturally attractive church. It's distinct like salt and bright like light. (Matt 5.17)The people even begin to mirror the beauty of God as they are transformed by the grace of God. This is the kind of church the world desperately needs. And this is the "model" we want to see grow up in Manassas.