PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY
The purpose of this Philosophy of Ministry is to establish the truths, principles, and commitments that guide our view of the church and ministry responsibilities. Since commitments and principles can have a variety of specific applications based on the particular situation, there is not a great deal of explicit detail regarding application. Indeed, the very idea behind a Philosophy of Ministry is to establish the principles that guide any specific application. It is the intention of this document to expose the thinking behind the how and why particular ministry decisions are reasoned and determined.
THE DEFINITION OF THE CHURCH
The church is the corporate body of regenerate believers (Eph. 1:22-23; 2:18-22; 4:12;Col. 1:18; Titus 2:13-14), who at the moment of genuine repentant faith are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, thus entering into a permanent spiritual union with Him (Rom. 6:3-6; 8:11; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:24-29).
The church is the revealed mystery of God (Rom. 16:25-26; Eph. 3:3-10), namely that in the Messiah, all who repentantly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ become children of God (1 John 3:3), members of one another (1 Cor. 12:27), with the common mission of growing into the likeness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-15; Rom. 8:29), proclaiming His excellencies (1 Pet. 2:9-10; Matt. 5:14-16), and seeking holiness until she is presented holy and blameless to her spiritual husband, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 25-27; 2 Cor. 11:2; Titus 2:11-14; Rev. 19:7; 21:2).
The church, as the body of Christ, who is the Head, thus submits wholly and fully to His Lordship (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 12:3; Col. 1:17-18) by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9-17; Gal. 5:16-18; Eph. 5:18-21) as mediated through the Word of God (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 2:15-17; 1 Pet. 2:1-3; Jude 3).
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The church exists for the purpose of exalting God in worship (John 4:23-24). All things are from God, through God, and to God, and exist to acknowledge and reflect His glory (Rom. 11:33-36; 1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 1:16); this is true for all of creation (Ps. 19:1-6; Is. 6:3), and especially true of redeemed humanity (1 Pet. 4:11; Rev. 5:13). Worship involves acknowledging the Triune Godhead revealed in Scripture as the only true God (John 5:39; 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6), manifested, supremely, in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:14; Col. 1:15; 2:9; Heb. 1:1-3), who alone is worthy of all praise, adoration, affection, and obedience (Rev. 4:5-11; 5:9-14). The expression of this worship is manifested in thankfulness, giving, prayer, submission, service, obedience, and the corporate pursuit of holiness.
The church exist for the purpose of edifying the saints (1 Cor. 14:3, 5, 12, 26; Eph. 4:12) and building them up in their most holy faith until all reach spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:13, 15; 1 Cor. 2:6; Phil. 3:15; Col. 1:28-29; Heb. 5:12-6:2), which is manifest by conformity to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 4:13; Col. 3:10-11). The means of edification is the ministry of the Word of God (Ps. 19:7-9; John 17:17; Eph. 4:11-15; 1 Tim. 4:13-16; 2 Tim. 3:26-27; 4:1-5), corporate fellowship (Heb. 10:27). The motivation of edification is love (John 15:9-12; Eph. 4:16, 5:1-2).
The church exists for the purpose of evangelizing the lost (Matt. 28:18-20). Evangelism was at the heart of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 2:17; Luke 19:10), the early church, and is the command and desire of the church on earth.