In a world with so many different churches, we think it’s necessary to take some time to explain why we do what we do, and what we believe when it comes to the Church. So, the question is, who are we?
We are believers who remember Christ.
We believe that it was the pattern of the early church to remember the Lord Jesus as He asked us to, by taking bread and wine, which are symbols of his death for us. We do this weekly, every Lord’s Day morning, and it is central to our worship. It is a spontaneous time of remembrance, where the men share a thought from God’s Word, lead us in prayer, or suggest a song for us all to sing together. We then share the bread and cup together, soberly conscious of the price that was paid to redeem us from sin. We have this meeting at 9:30am, every Sunday morning, and it normally lasts for about an hour.
We are an independent (autonomous) Church.
This means there is no head office located elsewhere overseeing a group of similar churches. Our leadership is within and among our own group, and we do not confer with anyone outside our fellowship to mediate when problems may arise, or to appoint leadership. This also means that we are not a part of a denomination, which would mean having to represent the parent organization. We enjoy the freedom of leadership under the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, and the elders he has placed among us. Elders are recognized by the assembly, meaning that the congregation itself notices the characteristics in various men and together acknowledge that the Spirit has made them elders.
We are led by a plurality of elders.
In the Bible, the words: Pastor (shepherd), Elder (presbyter), and Bishop (overseer) all refer to the same position in the church. Deacons (servants) are another group of leaders, overseeing material matters such as finances and ministering to those with physical needs in the Church. The word “elder” is most often plural in scripture. This means that there are several leaders, all on the same level, with no senior pastor or lead elder. We believe that the Spirit of God can grant unity on matters of leadership, when the group of elders submit to His guidance. Decisions are made together, waiting on the Lord to give peace about whatever matter is at hand. Having a plurality of leadership allows the work to be dispersed, thus having no need for a salaried worker in the church. There may be times workers should be financially supported, but this should be as the Lord leads.
We are made up of brothers and sisters, each with different roles.
Men and women each have a part to play in the church, and we believe that these roles should not be confused. The bible is clear about male leadership in the church, and the teaching is to be done by men when the church meets. Women can exercise the teaching gifts they may have outside the meetings of the church. To symbolize Christ and the His Bride (the Church), men do not cover their heads in the meeting of the church, and women cover their heads. The reason we do these things is because the Bible teaches that this is a way to bring glory to the Lord, by covering the glory of man (women), and leaving the glory of God (represented by men) uncovered. We have also produced an article to more fully explain this.
We are made up of believers in fellowship.
We have no formal membership, and do not vote on matters concerning the church. What we do have is a fellowship (overseen by the elders) made up of those who have come to know the Lord Jesus as Saviour, been baptized, and have a desire to participate in the Lord’s work. We do not consider the church to be a democracy, but we believe that the church should decide together (unanimity being the ideal) on matters that require the input of everyone. Many decisions are made by the elders for the good of the assembly. We do have a corporation, capable of producing receipts for charitable donations.
We are all participants in the Lord’s work.
We hold to the priesthood of all believers, which means that all have been enabled by the Holy Spirit with gifts to serve one another in the Church. No formal training is necessary (as helpful as that can be) for those preaching and teaching God’s Word. The same goes for Sunday School teachers and other ministries in the assembly. Mentoring and discipleship is often done one-on-one simply with a mature brother or sister coming alongside a younger believer in the faith, to help them along. All have a role to play. Some are encouragers, some spend a great deal of time in prayer, others give generously of time and resources, and the list could go on. We stress this truth, and believe that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” when it comes to the Church. All have something to give.
We are a part of the Universal Church.
These things may set us apart as a local church, but we recognize that we are a part of something so much bigger. We resonate with all Bible-believing Christians (in any denomination) who attest that Christ is to have the pre-eminence in His Church. The characteristics of the church outlined here are tremendous helps in this, each aiding us in giving the Lord Jesus His place among us. Other similarities we share with many churches is our focus on evangelism, adherence to God’s Word on all matters of faith and practice, dependence on the Lord in prayer, and our hope in the Lord’s soon return.