Missions and Methodology
MISSIONS AND METHODOLOGYWe recognize that all ministry and mission endeavors derive their authority from the local church. We understand all authority has been given to Jesus Christ, the head of the church (Matthew 28:19, Ephesians 1:22). Therefore, we believe that any mission endeavor must come under the authority of a local New Testament Church, which is “the pillar and ground of Truth” (I Timothy 3:15).
Missions and the Local Church
Missions and the Local Church
Our concern is with the restoration of the true Gospel and the biblical principles that ought to govern the local church and any mission endeavor originating from it.
- The Need
While we recognize that the needs of mankind are many and his sufferings are diverse, we believe that they all spring from a common origin - the radical depravity of his heart, his enmity toward God, and his rejection of truth. Therefore, we believe that the greatest benefit to mankind can be accomplished through the preaching of the Gospel and the establishment of local churches that proclaim the full counsel of God’s Word and minister according to its commands, precepts, and wisdom.
- The Command
All those who have been regenerated by the grace of God have been commanded to be witnesses of His great work throughout the entire world (Acts 1:8). As we proclaim the Gospel of the Scriptures, God will draw those He has chosen and begin a work in their heart which causes them to repent and believe the gospel (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Further, we are commanded to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things that God has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Since the church is the pillar and foundation of truth, discipleship should take place within the context of a local church (I Timothy 3:15). If a biblical church does not exist, one must be planted.
- The Methodology
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. Thus, men are converted and the church is established through the preaching of the Gospel – The Son of God incarnate, bearing the sins of His people, crucified on a Roman cross, dying under the wrath of God, and rising from the dead (Romans 1:16).
A biblical church is the will of God. The establishment of local churches was the goal of the apostolic ministry (Ephesians 3:10-11,21; 4:11-13).
A biblical church is the result or “mature fruit” of a genuine work of God. Therefore, the goal of planting a biblical church should serve to focus and guide all missionary endeavors.
A biblical church is the “pillar and support” of the truth. Therefore, it is the great and enduring bulwark against error (I Timothy 3:15). The church is the “salt of the earth,” and the only entity that can preserve a nation or people from self-deceit and self-destruction.
A biblical church is foundational to a self-sustaining, ever-multiplying mission effort. The missionary endeavor is advanced as an ever-increasing number of strong autonomous churches are participating in the Great Commission.
- The Effectiveness
The mere gathering together of believers or recent converts should not be regarded as a church. Although all churches must pass through this stage, it is only the beginning of a work. If the gathering does not go on to maturity in spirituality, leadership, etc., it will quickly disintegrate.
The effectiveness of all missionary endeavors should be determined by the perseverance in sound doctrine and practice of the individual convert and the established churches. Evangelistic decisions and even baptisms are not sound measures for determining the effectiveness of a missionary or a mission endeavor.
The greatest need of the church both here and abroad is the training of men in sound doctrine, Godliness, and the communication of truth to God’s people. Therefore, we can best advance the cause of Christ in the world through the training of his ministers in biblical doctrine and practice. Missions is not about sending missionaries, but sending God’s truth through the medium of missionaries.
There are many distinctives that make up a healthy church and certainly we make no claim to have a handle on all of them but we do hold to certain biblical truths that we believe are lacking and desperately needed in the church.
- Expository Preaching
Everything we do must start here. People must be fed the Word of God in order for it to have an effect on their mind, their heart, and their life. This comes through the event and the practice of preaching. Preaching should be the priority in the church and is to be held in high esteem. What God has to say to man is more important than anything else we do when we come together as a church. Furthermore, not just any approach to preaching will do. God’s people need preaching that communicates His revealed truth.
In expository preaching the preacher must give the people what the Lord has proclaimed and not his own opinions or preferences. Therefore when the preacher takes a congregation through books of the Bible, the congregation gets the text as it was written, has the purpose of the text explained to them, and they actually learn the Bible. This is also beneficial to the preacher because as he presents the text in an expository fashion he submits himself to God’s Word and is forced to interact with the scripture text in ways that he might not otherwise and therefore he too learns from the text rather than trying to make the text say what he wants it to say.
- Biblical Church Leadership
The New Testament pattern for church leadership is as follows;
The men who are to lead the church are pastors (pastor and elder are interchangeable terms) who meet the qualifications of I Timothy 3. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all gifted in preaching (I Timothy 5:17). These men are given the responsibility of shepherding the flock of God. They are servants but they are overseeing servants.
- Accountability and Meaningful Church Membership
Membership in the local church should mean something. Membership in a biblical church is reserved for repentant sinners who have professed Christ as Savior and follow His command to be baptized. Those joining the church should be able to agree with the church’s doctrinal position. This is for the health of new members and established members of the church. Church members are to be accountable to one another. We are to give, we are to love, we are to learn and submit and we are to assemble on a regular basis.
As members of a local church we are accountable to one another and should be willing, if occasion requires, to rebuke in love and/or submit to the discipline of the church. As a church we should pray that God would help us to have both the courage and love to hold one another accountable for our own good and God’s glory.
- Commitment to Missions & a Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
Christ commissioned the church to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel. The church should have a global view concerning the gospel and Christ’s kingdom. Therefore it should be involved in sending and supporting missionaries. Likewise, evangelism should overflow in the member’s daily lives. It should be a way of life.
God is the One who must save, but we are the means that He uses to bring sinners to repentance. We understand that our responsibility is not to save souls but to give the saving message, knowing that God must grant repentance.
Biblical soteriology should in no way hinder evangelism or dull a passion for it, knowing rather that Christ will gather His sheep to Himself and that around His throne will be those He redeemed from every tribe, language, people and nation. Our passion and confidence in evangelism should increase because we know missions is a plan that cannot fail.
- God Centered Gospel and Worship
We must never turn away from the message of the gospel to a message of self improvement and success. It is our conviction that the gospel shatters self esteem. The gospel pulls the rug of self reliance out from under our feet and causes us to cast ourselves upon the mercy of God. The cross was not designed to make much of man but to reveal man’s corruption.
To reconcile the world to Himself, God in love had to offer up His own Son and that does not show the worth of man but the depravity of man. As a consequence of the gospel being watered down worship has followed. If the gospel is man centered then worship will be as well. But, if God’s people understand their own inability and radical hostility toward God, it will cause us to see our need of His grace and to better appreciate His love through the cross.
We believe that worship is to be weighty and not centered around the sinner but the Savior. If the gospel remains God centered then He will be glorified, man will be abased and it will cause us to lose our reliance on self righteousness and cling wholly and only to the cross of Christ where our righteousness alone can be found.
- Biblical Conversion and Assurance
A biblical understanding of regeneration and conversion has been lost by the modern church. Salvation requires hearing the Gospel accompanied by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:5). This supernatural work, called regeneration,
produces repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21). The truly saved person perseveres in faithfulness (Philippians 1:6; Matthew 7:16-20). This perseverance is the basis of assurance. The man who walks in a continual state of carnality with no divine discipline can have no assurance of sonship (Hebrews 12:8), no matter how adamantly he professes his allegiance to Christ.
- Loving God With All of Our Minds
Many believers today say that they are right about their beliefs but many cannot tell you why they are right. It is our desire that people know what they believe and why they believe it. We desire for church to be a time of serious contemplation over God’s truth. Church is not to be entertaining or amusing but it is to be a place where our minds are engaged and centered on what is being seen, heard or felt. When we sing we should think about the meaning of the words. When we pray we should think about what we are saying. When we hear God’s Word expounded we should carefully consider what is being said and compare it with what we know to be the whole of scripture. This will help us when false doctrine makes an attempt to infiltrate our lives. And it will help us to bring modern philosophies and heresies to a logical and biblical conclusion. Thinking Christians will not be quickly swept away by winds of false teaching and their minds will be fixed upon the solid ground of truth in a culture that is opposed to truth.
- Loving God With All of Our Hearts
The Bible does not attempt to only reform our outward man. Our outer appearance can look the part of a Christian but at the same time our hearts can be full of evil, idolatry and lust. We believe that the scriptures, the apostles and the Lord Jesus Himself dealt with the heart. God is concerned about our motives. We desire therefore true Christianity in the inner man and not legalistic hypocritical Christianity that doesn’t reach further than the outer appearance.
Our hope is to see people have a passion for God’s glory and the souls of men. Therefore our desire is to make disciples who are willing to forsake the temporal things of this world as necessary to do kingdom work and proclaim the gospel to those who haven’t heard it. In addition, we desire to see believers be consumed with a burden to see purity in the church through church plants and in churches that are established. Furthermore we know that God has given us a promise that He will go with us as we carry the gospel and we pray that many will go for the glory of God.