What are the core values of First Baptist? They need to be in line with Christ's will for us as individual disciples and His collective body, the church.
Based on a proper theological understanding of God's will, they inform us as to how we are to perform our ministry to each other and to the world. They serve as a compass that helps steer us clear of false or unimportant activities. They help us choose the best over what is merely good.
The Great Commandment - Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV)
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
We are to love God as first and foremost in our lives. There should be no other God before Him. He needs to be the focus of our greatest affection, the basis of our ultimate security, and the object of our eternal worship.
We are also called love our neighbor. Our task in the world is to mirror God's love to all of His creation.
The Great Commission - Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
When Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
We are commissioned by Christ to go out into the world and make all nations obedient followers of Christ. We accomplish this commission through the work of evangelism (sharing the gospel and discipleship (mentoring new converts into the image of Christ).
The Gospel of Christ - Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
The gospel is the good news of how God has provided the answer to humanity's problem of moral failure and alienation from God. The life, death, and resurrections of Christ is the only answer to our need of forgiveness and reconciliation with God. We proclaim this message without apology.
The Bible - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The cannon of the Old and New Testaments is the divinely inspired, authoritative Word of God given to humanity. It communicates the nature of God and the world, the plan of salvation through Christ and God's active will for each person. Only through obedience to God's word will we achieve God's goals for our lives.
Prayer- Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Prayer is the way through which God speaks to us personally and the way we bring down the grace of God into the world. Prayer must be at the heart of all our ministries and personal striving for godliness. God does nothing but in answer to prayer. Therefore we must bathe every ministry and every personal striving for godliness with prayer.
SHAPE-Based Ministry - Romans 12:4-6a (NASB)
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.
In order to most effectively minister in Christ's name each person must serve in alignment with his spiritual giftedness, passion and personality. One's natural abilities and past experiences also inform the person as to his most appropriate place of ministry. Only as we minister out of our God-give SHAPE will we find true power in our work for Christ. To do otherwise is to squander God's gifts to each of us.
Body Life - 1 Corinthians 12:14-18 (NIV)
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
We are created in Christ to live in community with other Christians. Since no one believer has all the gifts, we must live interdependently, each relying on those around him to supply God's grace in ways he lacks. We walk the path of discipleship in the presence of fellow believers. We need the accountability and positive example provided by the body. To try to live as a "Lone Ranger" Christian is to cut ourselves off from a major source of God's grace.
Continual Personal Growth - Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
The Christian walk is one of constant personal development in Christ-likeness and ministry effectiveness. Each disciple is called to constantly grow in all areas of life. We must maintain that crucial balance between accepting ourselves as we are yet striving with all our energy to grow more fully into the image of Christ.
Excellence in Ministry - Malachi 1:11-14 (NIV)
"My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the Lord Almighty. "But you profane it by saying of the Lord's table, 'It is defiled,' and of its food, 'It is contemptible.' And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the Lord Almighty. When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the Lord. "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the Lord Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations."
We are to offer to God only the best fruit of our labor. Everything we do in ministry is a part of our sacrifice of praise to the Lord and, therefore, should be the best we can possibly offer. We need to strive for excellence in our service to the Lord. This honors God and presents a witness to the world that will more effectively communicate His glory.
Cultural Relevance - 1 Corinthians 9:19-20,23 (NIV)
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
While we understand that the message of the gospel never changes, the methods by which we communicate the gospel must stay relevant to the changing culture in which we live. This culture has become increasingly secular and ignorant of Christian teachings and values. We cannot assume any understanding of the gospel or the Bible by those who don't know God. They need remedial education in the basic Christian doctrines and language of the faith.
In addition, people today have no formal church background and cannot relate to our traditional ways of worship and "doing church." Therefore, we must strive to find new and appropriate ways to relate the timeless message to our world without diluting its message.
Women in Leadership - Romans 16:1-2 (NLT)
Our sister Phoebe, a deacon in the church in Cenchrea, will be coming to see you soon. Receive her in the Lord, as one who is worthy of high honor. Help her in every way you can, for she has helped many in their needs, including me.
God has affirmed and called both men and women into positions of leadership in His church. The social convention of slavery was abolished long ago due to the gospel's proclamation of the equality of all people. In like manner this equality extends to men and women and abolishes our society's negation of the gifts and leadership abilities of the female gender. We seek to affirm each person's calling to serve God in whatever role He determines.
Servant's Heart - Mark 10:43-45 (NIV)
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Our society equates greatness with those who beat out the competition through talent, guts, and determination. In the Kingdom of God greatness is defined by servant hood. Those who are the greatest servants receive the greatest kudos. Jesus set the standard by teaching and by example. As we move through each day the heart of the servant seeks ways it can lend a hand to others.