Who We Are
The Purpose for the Church
Our goal is to bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21). This is accomplished by obeying His Word in all issues concerning life, especially those relating to the church. Thus, our vision is based upon the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ in which He gives instructions to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Paul re-emphasizes this concept in his letter to the Ephesians where he states that his goal is to preach the "unsearchable riches of Christ" and teach the "fellowship of the things...hidden in God" (Ephesians 3:8-10). Consequently, we desire to see souls saved as ones trust the Lord Jesus as the Savior for their sins, and believe that He died for their sins and rose again. We desire to see believers grow to understand the Word of God, appreciate the love of God, and practice in their lives all that God teaches. Eventually, believers should grow to see other souls saved and follow the teachings of God's Word. This becomes a repeating cycle:
We pursue anything that assists or augments these goals.
Persons Involved in the Function of the Church
As one comes into a meeting of the church, he will observe three "personages" that come into view; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and believers or saints (those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior).
- The Lord Jesus is God and our head or pastor of the church. (Ephesians 1:22-23). He is to have the foremost and pre-eminent place in our affections, plans, and priorities (Colossians 1:17-18). The Bible does not designate anyone else to hold this position. Therefore, we do not establish the office of pastor as is traditionally done by many churches. There is still leadership in the local church, but it is not a singular individual presiding over a church gathering.
- The Holy Spirit is another person who functions in the local church. He is fully God and serves to direct our attention to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14). Additionally, He directs and guides the church in our worship (John 4:23-24) and decisions (Acts 13:2-4). He provides the strength necessary for believers to live the life of a Christian (Galatians 5:16-22).
- The believer is one who has specifically believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He believes that Christ was sent by God His Father to take the form of man in order to die and rise from the dead as a substitute for the penalty of man's sin which is death (John 1:12, 3:16, 3:36). The believer is subsequently adopted into the family of God and made a member of the church. The Bible uses the analogy of the anatomy of the body of the Lord Jesus to explain this new relationship of believers, one to another.
Leadership in the Church
The Word of God organizes believers in the church into three groups for the sake of organization and order; saints, elders, and deacons (Philippians 1:1). The "saints" comprise all believers in a church meeting. "Elders" are ones who have been put into a position of church leadership by God's Spirit (Acts 20:28). "Deacons" are likewise identified as ones whom God's Spirit uses to provide practical assistance in the affairs of the Church so that the "elders" can more fully devote their attention to spiritual matters in the Church (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-4). The elders and deacons are classified as "saints" but provide a particular service in unique areas for the Lord.
Responsibilities of Leaders in the Church
The elders and deacons have specific qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9). They also demonstrate that the Holy Spirit has chosen them for their roles in the church by their participation in the responsibilities for their respective areas of service (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Timothy 3:10). The Holy Spirit works in the lives of prospective elders and/or deacons as they function within a local church so that the believers in the church are able to recognize whether the Holy Spirit has chosen them to become elders or deacons. The elders are specifically charged with shepherding the saints and protecting the saints from erroneous teaching from God's Word. In short, they must give an account for the "making of disciples" to the Lord Jesus in a coming day of evaluation (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11).
Being a Part of the Church
Many ask about our membership. The truth is that the Bible already calls you a member of the Body of Christ, if you have trusted the Lord Jesus as your Savior (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). Scripture does not recognize any other membership list. However, Scripture does present the idea of "being in fellowship" (1 John 1:5-7; Acts 2:42). This phrase describes an understanding and agreement between the church-goer and the Lord Jesus Christ, that such a person is placing himself under the authority of the Lord Jesus through the leadership of the local church elders. These elders are charged by God to give an account of such souls, and the believer is charged to make sure that this accounting is honorable (Hebrews 13:17). This relationship implies that there is a "sharing in the common" (definition of "fellowship") or a common bond in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many benefits to the believer in this relationship; prayer for one's spiritual well-being, accountability in maintaining one's personal and church testimony, identification with one another, love for each other in a family-like atmosphere, and a bearing of each other's burdens, to just name a few.
Scriptural Practices in the Church
In addition to the above concepts, you will find that we practice the commands of water immersion baptism (Matthew 28:18-20) and weekly remembrance of the Lord Jesus in communion, or what some call "the Breaking of Bread" (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). You will also see that our ladies practice the covering of their heads in meetings of the church as a Biblically defined demonstration of keeping the glory of men obscure so that the glory of the Lord Jesus has no competition (1 Corinthians 11:2-16).
We encourage you to visit us. If you desire to make The Bible Chapel of Shawnee your church home, the elders would welcome the occasion to visit with you and discuss these matters in more detail.