Ministry Philosophy

Preamble:

Our chief purpose is to glorify God; bring honor to His name by being conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and to exalt Him through worship and by sharing the gospel with others. Christians are called by God to do this by being gathered together as a local church. The church glorifies God by building itself up in the faith by the instruction of the Word, by proclaiming and celebrating His attributes, by demonstrating His love through fellowship, by keeping the ordinances, and by advancing and proclaiming the gospel to the entire world.

A truly biblical church can only exist if it is built on the rock of God’s word–not on methodology, programs, cultural accommodations, or anything else. The Bible is the very Word of God, and as such, it must be the foundation upon which the church is built. The Scriptures comprise not only the content of the message that the church proclaims but also the methods by which the church operates.

Therefore, we affirm our desire to be a church that in all things glorifies God and is firmly established on and functioning out of the truths of the Bible. In order to do so, we recognize the need for the following essential components in the life of the church.

Essentials of a Biblical Church Ministry:

1) Balanced, expository preaching where the message finds its source in Scripture and God is central. (Neh. 8:1-8; Acts 20:26-27; 1 Cor. 1:17-21; 2 Cor. 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17, 4:2; Titus 1:9)

The preaching and teaching of the Word of God is the means by which truth is delivered in the setting of the church. As such, the highest priority should be given to ensuring that the message is biblically faithful and is derived from Scripture, not man’s ideas or opinions.

Expository preaching uses literal, grammatical, and historical interpretation of Scripture and generally has the following characteristics:

1.  The message finds its sole source in Scripture.
2.  The message is extracted from Scripture through careful exegesis.
3.  The message preparation correctly interprets Scripture in its normal sense and its context.
4.  The message clearly explains the original God-intended meaning of Scripture.
5.  The message applies the Scriptural meaning for today.*

Since the Bible is the means by which we learn about Who God is and how He relates to us, preaching and teaching should be centered on Him. It should reveal truths about God’s character, His wonderful works, His holy standards, and how we should respond to those truths. Preaching and teaching should not be focused on people, but on God.

Furthermore, since it is the Gospel that has saved us and it is the Gospel that will motivate us towards obedience, it should be the central focus of all of the ministries of the church, especially the preaching. Apart from understanding and believing the complete Gospel, we would have no hope of experiencing God’s grace.

Just a few well-known examples of men who preach(ed) in this manner include John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Charles Spurgeon, and John Bunyan.

*From REDISCOVERING EXPOSITORY PREACHING by Richard L. Mayhue, Vice President and Dean Professor of Pastoral Ministries, The Master’s Seminary

 

2) Doctrinal purity and sound theological teaching that gives people a biblical foundation on which to build their faith and equips them to recognize and stand against the lies of this world and the enemy. (Acts 20:28-30; Eph. 4:13-14; 1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Titus 2:1; 2 Pet. 2:1-3)

In order to be effective and unified in our purpose of glorifying God, our ministry must be tempered by sound theology. We must not be afraid to gently but unashamedly teach our people the doctrinal truths God has revealed in Scripture so they will mature in their Christian faith and practice. In an age where false teaching is prolific, our people must be equipped to discern between God’s truth and the enemy’s lies. As Charles Spurgeon put it, “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.”

Systematic, foundational teaching is needed from the pulpit, in classes, and in bible study groups. If we build our ministry upon a disjointed, incomplete foundation, we are risking it all.

 

3) Biblically faithful ministries that exalt God above man, equip Christians for the work of the ministry, strengthen families, promote personal evangelism, and foster Christian community. (John 13:34-35, 14:21, 15:10; Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 2:10, 4:1-16; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; Heb. 10:24-25)

With a theologically strong foundation, we will understand and function with truly biblical ministries:

a) Exalting God and Equipping the Saints – Primarily, the church exists to glorify God and equip believers to be fully devoted to Him. Instead of seeking to meet the felt needs of unbelievers; our love for God, each other, and the unsaved should be such that it magnifies God, helping to meet the eternal needs of unbelievers. In everything we do, we should ask ourselves if our ministries and activities are focused properly on these purposes.

b) Building Strong Families – Our ministries must work together to equip and assist parents in raising godly children and developing strong biblical ties that will withstand the pressures of the world which seek to tear families apart.

c) Sharing the Gospel – Our ministries should help believers grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and guide them in showing their love to Him through their personal obedience to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Activities of the church should equip believers to individually carry out their mission of sharing the Gospel instead of fostering a mindset that evangelism is mainly the church’s responsibility as an organization.

d) Serving the Lord and His Church – Believers should be equipped and encouraged to individually minister in the context of the local church in accordance with the gifts and abilities God has given them. They should be taught to have a high regard for the privilege and responsibilities of ministering to the Lord and His people–seeking to honor God and serving the church instead of themselves.

e) Growing Together – People need to be cared for within an authentic Christian community that provides them with love, guidance, and correction centered in the Gospel. In order to accomplish this we need a thriving small group ministry where biblical truth is shared and spiritual family is fostered.

 

4) Leadership that seeks to continually submit to Christ as Head of this church and follow His example of leading by serving. (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; I Pet. 5:1-4; Phil. 2:5-11)

Christ is the Head of this church, and His Word will serve as the standard by which leaders are chosen and how they will operate. Just as He, the sovereign Lord of the Universe, came as a servant; His under-shepherds must lead by serving, caring for, guiding, and loving the church. Their lives must be marked by godly character and humble submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are to be tested and affirmed by the congregation – accountable to the Lord, to each other, and to the church.

The church will be led as prescribed in Scripture by elders (lay and staff) and deacons. The elders will operate as a plurality where each is free to share his thoughts, concerns, and expectations; sharing equally in authority and responsibility for the spiritual direction of the church.

Leadership is influence, so those with influence within the church (deacons, elders, ministry leaders, teachers, etc.) will be held to high standards doctrinally, in their personal lifestyles, and in their commitment to their ministry.

 

5) Worship services that are focused on glorifying God, extolling His attributes, and equipping believers to live lives marked by devotion to and worship of God. (Deut. 6:5, 6:13; Ps. 24:3-4, 95:6-7, 96:9, 100:1-2, 150; Matt. 4:10; John 4:23-24; Acts 16:25; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 14:26, 40; Eph. 5:15-21; Col. 3:16; James 5:13; Heb. 13:15-16; I Pet. 2:9; Rev. 5:8-12)

God, not people, should be the focus of the church. The church gathers for the purpose of corporately declaring God’s worthiness to be praised, glorified, and obeyed (not for the purpose of meeting the felt needs of seekers or even Christians). The services and ministries of the church should guide Christians to an accurate view of God that leads to sincere worship as they gather corporately and in their personal lives.

In church services, worship is accomplished by hearing God’s word preached, praying together, and singing God’s praises. In our daily, personal lives we worship God by reading and studying the Bible; growing closer to Him through prayer; loving others sacrificially; giving of our time, treasures and talents in ministry to our church and other people; working as unto the Lord; and sharing the truths about the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ with others.

Corporately, a person’s worship should be uninhibited by methods of entertainment, musical style, sound level, stated expectations of others, emotionalism, or weak or errant theology. Regarding music, it should be balanced and have lyrics consistent with biblical teaching that are focused on God, not man. Rather than embracing a particular style(s) of music, songs should be compatible with the character of God. Music should be such that it comes alongside a believer and helps them lift up their heart in praise no matter what their personal preferences. Such music is timeless and always relevant, whether it was written centuries ago or weeks ago.

 

6) Families that are growing closer together as they grow closer to God by being firmly established on the foundation of His Word. (Gen. 2:18, 24; Deut. 6:4-9; Matt. 19:4-6; Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Pet. 3)

In an era when biblical families are not the norm, the church must endeavor to promote God’s design for marriage and families. It is clear from His Word that God equally loves and values His children regardless of their gender, but it is also clear that He has given them differing roles based on their gender–roles both in the family and in the church.

Christian men must be equipped to be the spiritual leaders of their families, taking seriously their responsibility to sacrificially love their wives as Christ loved the church and to raise their children to respect and obey the Word of God. Likewise, Christian women must be equipped to stand against the pressures of the world which urge them to reject God’s clear instruction that they should lovingly and willingly submit to their husbands as leader of their families just as she is to submit to Christ as her Lord. When a husband and wife desire to honor God above themselves, submit to the authority of His Word, and grow in their relationship with Christ; they will experience marriage as God intends it to be–a couple unified not by worldly pursuits and values but by their shared love for God.

We must be a family equipping church with ministries that work together to inspire, equip and encourage parents to be the primary disciplers of their children as they are commanded to do in Scripture. Fathers and mothers need to be taught the truth from God’s Word about their role as parents. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 6:4 call parents, specifically fathers, to be the primary disciple-makers of children. Parents need consistent training in how to live out that role daily, and they need to be encouraged to make the time to intentionally carry out this role. Unfortunately, over the years parents have abdicated this role to the church, and the church has willingly accepted it. This is unscriptural.

In the area of time, the culture today drives parents’ schedules, and success has become an idol. As a church we cannot fall into this trap by adding more activities and programs, which visibly give the appearance of success–in some cases we need to do less, so parents can do more. The church’s ministries and activities should support the development of strong, biblical families.

While strengthening biblical families is essential, we must acknowledge that in some cases children may not have one or both parents and/or their parent(s) may not be saved. The church must minister to single parents and their children and children without saved parents, but programs and events are not necessarily the answer to meeting their spiritual needs. Providing ministries that teach children scriptural truths and how they are applicable and relevant is important, however fostering a sense of care and family responsibility within the greater community of the church (where other families “adopt” single parents, their children, and children without saved parents) is also needed to help fill the gaps and model biblically faithful families for the next generation.

Lastly, as a church, we must promote an environment where men are encouraged to hold each other accountable in how they are leading their families. It is a responsibility that we must passionately embrace, and it must permeate every area of our lives and of our ministries. Every decision that we make must be filtered through this grid. We must never lose sight that no ministry is more important than our God given ministry of husband, father, wife and mother. We must all emphatically declare as we hear in Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

 

7) Prayer that is fervent, frequent, and in accordance with God’s will. (Phil. 4:6; James 5:16-18)

Prayer is an essential part of every believer’s life. We develop our relationship with God by communicating from our heart to Him in prayer and hearing from Him through the words of Scripture. Our prayers must be in accordance with His will as revealed in the Bible, and as such should often include passages from Scripture.

Prayer shows our dependence on God, and a biblical church must rely on God in all aspects of its ministry. God is the One who saves people, and He is the One who will build and grow the church. Therefore, the services of the church should be bathed in prayer (before, during and after), and prayer should have a prominent role in any activity of the church. The leaders of the church must pray for the people of the church, and the people of the church must pray for their leaders.

Prayer is the power God has given to His church to overcome every foe from within and without the body, yet it is often least employed on a corporate level. A commitment to prayer must be demonstrated by the leaders of the church. Furthermore, all of the people of the church should be encouraged to come together regularly for the purpose of praying–to bring glory and honor and praise to our Lord, to proclaim our desperate need of Him, and to thank Him for His provisions.

The activities, commitments, and responsibilities of life (individual and church) must not distract us from this utterly important part of our Christian lives.

 

This Philosophy of Ministry is not intended to replace or amend High Point Baptist Church’s Statement of Faith, but rather it addresses how we will apply our beliefs in the setting of the church.