Beyond our core theological commitments, we hold a number of secondary theological, philosophical, and methodological perspectives that shape our ministry. While we joyfully cooperate with churches that do not share them, these distinctives direct and describe what we do and how we do it.
We are committed to pursuing faithfulness to God by prioritizing characteristics and activities that promote church health and gospel growth. Therefore, we organize our ministry around the primary distinguishing features of true churches throughout history and aim for Spirit-backed progress in faith for all peoples through the proclamation and application of the gospel. Gospel growth refers to the advancement of the impact of the gospel in individuals (conversion and sanctification), our local church (increasing reflection of God’s Kingdom), and the world (expansion of God’s Kingdom through evangelism and missions). This list of distinctives outlines several applications of this commitment in various spheres of our ministry.
A church is an assembly of God’s people acting as an embassy of His kingdom established on the foundation of the apostles with the responsibility and authority to oversee and care for citizens of God’s Kingdom by—affirming and uniting genuine professors with the assembly of God’s people on earth through baptism, providing oversight to members through instruction in the Word, which includes formative and corrective church discipline, barring and excluding any imposters who persistent in rebellion against God—and to proclaim and guard the good news of Jesus while expanding God’s rule and reign by making disciples of all nations.
For a complete explanation of this definition, listen to our What is the Church sermon series under the Resources tab.
We organize and operate through a five-pronged structure that follows and applies the Bible’s instruction in our context.
- Congregationally-governed – The gathered church bears the final authority under Christ for matters of doctrine, dispute, and discipline. To this end, our congregation must affirm such decisions as appointing elders, approving our annual budget, and receiving and releasing members.
- Elder-led – Like the New Testament church, we identify men who meet the biblical qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:10-7 and Titus 1:5-9 to serve us in the role of elder/overseer/pastor. These men collectively bear the responsibility to oversee and lead the church and her members by teaching the word, modeling Christlikeness, equipping the saints, protecting us from doctrinal error, and extending care. The Elder Team includes men who are freed from outside employment through renumeration and others who serve without payment.
- Deacon-served – Like the New Testament church, we identify men who meet the biblical qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 to serve in the role of deacon. They work individually and collectively to lead in meeting practical needs for our congregation.
- Staff-executed – We are blessed with a paid staff that serves under the leadership of our elders and alongside our deacons to execute the church’s vision. Ministry staff members operate with freedom to plan, organize, and execute ministry within the framework of the elders’ vision while our support staff undergirds the ministry staff by helping them execute their responsibilities more effectively.
- Member-supported – Our members covenant together to support the church for the glory of God. Each member takes the responsibility to participate in the ministry, use his/her gifts in service, give to the ministry, pray for each other and especially the leaders, love one another, submit to the leadership, and seek unity.
Unless providentially hindered, every believer is responsible to pursue a formal relationship with a local church which is solidified and solemnized in baptism and characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of his/her discipleship and the person’s submission to living out discipleship in the care of that church.
For a complete explanation of this definition, listen to our What is the Church sermon series under the Sermons tab or visit our Church Membership page.
We understand discipleship for children and students in our context as a partnership between parents and the church. To this end, our ministry to Families, Students, and Children operates with 7 Distinctives.
- God-Centered – As in all things, we seek the glory of God first and primarily.
- Striving for Gospel Growth – Our desire for God’s glory leads us to pursue a spiritually healthy culture that will yield gospel growth in people of all ages, including the youngest among us.
- Cultivating a Healthy Love for God’s People – Because relationships are a foundation for effective ministry, we foster four important types of healthy relationships: parent-child, adult leader-child, child-child, and intergenerational between families.
- Word-based Training – Students and kids learn to walk in obedience to God at home & at church by the work of the Spirit through direct biblical instruction and modeling.
- Self-Sacrificial Posture – Students and kids learn to serve self-sacrificially in formal and informal ways through training and modeling.
- Missional – Students and kids develop awareness of lostness, discover how to build relationships with unbelievers, and learn to share the gospel through training and modeling.
- Family Partnership – While parents are lead disciplers for their children, the church serves as a partner to undergird, resource, support, and assist them.
For more information on our ministry to families visit our Family Ministry page.
We hold that the best method for preaching and teaching the Scripture is to expose the plain meaning of a single biblical text and make relevant application to the hearers. This approach requires that the sermon’s or lesson’s main point and structure derive directly from the main point and structure of the passage, and that application is limited to an appropriate range based on the scope of the passage.
In addition to this basic commitment, our normal practice in congregational worship is systematic exposition through books of the Bible. More than a dozen years of expository series and sermons are catalogued under the Resources tab.
We believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for counseling. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the application of the Word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit are essential to bring real hope and lasting change. This conviction informs how we counsel and care for one another when facing the problems of life. Through both informal conversations and formal biblical counseling, we believe the rich resources of Scripture are sufficient for helping people face the problems of life in ways that please God.
We hold to the Regulative Principle for congregational worship. The style, order, and length of our service may change, but the elements of worship are limited to what is commanded in Scripture. Therefore, we read the Scripture, sing, pray, preach, share about the work God is doing, baptize, and observe the Lord’s Supper.
We have learned and borrowed from a number of books and resources in developing and articulating these distinctives.
- Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
- The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshal and Tony Payne
- The Vine Project by Colin Marshal and Tony Payne
- Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman
- Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper
- Zealous by David Michael
- Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell
- Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp
- Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically edited by John MacArthur
- Does God Care How We Worship? by Ligon Duncan