What We Believe
A. GOD, JESUS, HOLY SPIRIT
B. THE BIBLE AND ITS USE
The bible is God's Word written through the hearts and minds of humans; through faith we understand and interpret it. It speaks to all people of all ages and teaches principles that we can apply to our lives. The Bible is a manual for Christians living, a book to turn to for help. We use it for comfort and guidance; it is the story of God's love for us and teaches the need for and source of salvation. As Baptists, the New Testament is our creed and statement of faith.
C. BELIEVERS' BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
Accepting Christ as your personal Savior and being baptized is an important witness to one's personal faith. It symbolizes our sins washing away, new birth and resurrection wit Christ. Our old life dies, and we are born again into a life that we live according to Christian standards. As Baptists, we believe in immersion, which makes us unique from many other denominations. Individuals make their own personal decision to be baptized when they are old enough to understand it. Baptism is a joyous occasion and gives one a sense of belonging.
The Lord's Supper is the most sacred part of the church service. It reminds us, like the original disciples, that we can have fellowship with Jesus Christ. It gives Christians a chance to renew themselves by confessing sins and feeling forgiveness, thereby receiving strength. Our church practices an open communion. For those who partake, it is like being with Jesus and living the last hours of His life with him. This ordinance is a special time of "communion" between the congregation, pastor, and Christ.
D. BAPTIST PRINCIPLES
Soul Liberty is freedom to have our own opinions and to challenge others in their thinking. This leads to diversity and tolerance, as we can disagree and still be friends. Having our own opinions and thoughts lead us to a personal relationship with God.
Autonomy of the Local Congregation is very important, as our church is independent. but connected to other churches through our Association (Pioneer Valley) and Region (TABCOM). We want to choose our own leaders, our mission, and have control over our property and money. We want to provide our own finances for a common goals and purposes.
Priesthood of All Believers characterizes the church members. We are priests as we spread the Word and serve others and the church, each Christian having the authority to bring God's blessing to others; forgiveness, mercy and blessing.
The Associational Principle is demonstrated when our church members and pastor meet with others. We bring a unique viewpoint, but share in common goals. Resources, like camps and retreats, are available to us when we associate with other churches in the ABC.
Ecumenical Understanding and practice means that our church participates in local activities with other non-Baptist churches as part of our mission and ministry. We realize that we do not have the sole understanding of work and belief in the Christian faith, so we honor those who do it differently.
E. THE ROLE OF THE LAITY/THE ROLE OF
These roles are intertwined, yet separate.
We expect that the Pastor will have experience and gifts for preaching. She/he must be a knowledgeable teacher who is a good listener. As a resource person, the Pastor will equip and encourage to guide the laity in finding their gifts and discovering how to use them in their spiritual and practical lives. As a mentor, the Pastor needs to inspire and support the laity in the life of the church. She/he should be aware of the needs of the congregation and visit people in their homes. The Pastor should be a good counselor, someone who you can talk to for guidance and/or referral. Appreciating the needs of younger generations is essential. The Pastor should be a leader and a mediator between committees. He/she also has a prophetic role to highlight issues of justice and mercy in our society. A Pastor has to love and know the Lord personally, and be able to teach the Bible.
The laity needs to work with, encourage and pray for the pastor. As members of boards and committees, the laity must run the church with the Pastor as a guide. Not only does the laity need to minister to the needs of the congregation, but also they share their faith and ministry with the world. The laity should be active all the time, not just on Sunday, praying, witnessing, visiting, and supporting the church and Pastor. Keeping everyone informed of mission projects and fund-raising are also jobs of the laity. As they work together they should care for, love, and forgive each other.
F. THE PURPOSE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH IN TODAY'S SOCIETY
To help others come into the church as Christians and make the church a part of peoples' lives, sharing the firm foundation that God loves us always by talking to people and encouraging them to come to church.
To provide leadership in the community by setting a moral standard and modeling Christian values and citizenship and showing tolerance and respect to all people.
To be a learning community by providing opportunity for individuals to study together to shape their own beliefs based on the central compass of God and the Bible.
To reach out to others in need, financially, spiritually, physically, emotionally, through prayer, sharing and helping in the community and to care for each other in the church in the same manner.
To be a place where individuals can be whole, welcoming and inclusive of all people, tolerating differences of opinion, thus providing a sense of peace and family. The church is also a social gathering place where people can have fun together.
G. THIS CHURCH'S COMMITMENT TO THE ABC/USA
We are committed to local, state, national, and international missions. We have a shared vision and mission with the churches of the ABC-USA, We seek and accept the support and resources of the regional (TABCOM) and national (ABC-USA) offices and staff.