A philosophy of ministry is a compass. It outlines the biblical principles for the ministry of the church, united with a practical methodology. In short, it is a vision and direction of what the church is to be and do.
What is the Church to be?
Universally, the church is composed of all true believers who are indwelt by the Spirit of God and led by Christ (Rom 8:9-11; Eph 5:23-32). Locally, the church is a body of believers gathered together under the care of an eldership actively awaiting the return of Christ, while seeking to exalt Him in their lives.
Scripturally, the purpose of our redemption is the exaltation of God.
We were redeemed to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
The Body of Christ is designed to exalt God!
What must the Church do?
If the goal of every believer is the exaltation of God, how should the church accomplish that? Biblically, our declaration of God’s glory is demonstrated in two primary ways:
1) Edification = serving & encouraging one another to spiritual maturity
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
2) Evangelism = boldly declaring God’s greatness & grace to all
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. (Psalm 96:2-5)
Elders are to be leaders and catalysts in both, keeping the church focused on Christ, free from sin. The church body is to do the work of ministry: equipping and edifying one another when gathered, making disciples when apart (1 Cor 14:26; Matt 28:18-20). That is the structure and process by which God is exalted and for which the Body of Christ lives.
What does this mean for FBC?
With the glory of God as our goal, God desires:
- Us to love God and His Word, keeping His revealed and all-sufficient Word at the center of all that we do and say (Ps 19:7-14; Matt 22:34-40; 2 Tim 3:16-17).
- God’s glory to be our foremost concern, whether gathered together or separate, at work, home or elsewhere (1 Cor. 10:31).
- Us to be believers who imitate our master, Jesus Christ, glorifying Him through obedience to His Word (1 Cor. 11:1, 6:20).
- Every believer in our church to have God’s heart for the lost and a passion for others to know Jesus as God, turning from sin to live for Him (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 4:12; 1 Th 1:6-10).
- Our church as a whole to participate in strategic missionary opportunities on a local, regional and international level (Acts 1:8, Matt 28:18-20; Rom 15:20-21).
- That every believer serve in the church, fulfilling his/her God-given role, bringing about the maturity of the Body, “according to the proper working of each individual part” (Eph 4:16; 1 Pet 4:10-11; Heb 10:24-25).
- The eldership to be a plurality of qualified men who unanimously, equally, and autonomously shepherd & lead the local church (Matt 23:10-11; Acts 14:23, 20:28; 1 Cor 1:10; Eph 4:3-4; 1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet 5:1-3).
- For believers to gather together regularly in homes for fellowship, prayer, shepherding and Bible study (Acts 2:46-47, 20:20)
- For Sunday mornings to be centered upon the exaltation of God, with equipping and edifying the saints as our primary purposes in gathering (1 Cor 14:26; Eph 4:11-13; 2 Tim 4:1-3).
- The exposition, explanation and application of God’s Word (via a literal, grammatical/historical hermeneutic) to be the central focus and content of all instruction, when gathered corporately as a church or privately as a family (Deut 6:4-9; Neh 8:7-8; Acts 20:20-27; Eph 6:4).
- Doctrine to be the foundation of Christian unity (Eph 4:1-16; Acts 2:41-47).
- The Body to be unified in heart, mind and purpose as we strive together for the faith of the gospel and glory of God (Acts 4:32; Rom 15:5-6; Phil 1:27, 2:1-2).
The starting and ending place for the Body is the exaltation of God. The exaltation of God through edification and evangelism is to be the united focus of the Church. These core values, united with our theology, determine what our church will and won’t get involved in. Every ministry and activity at Faith Bible Church must fit integrally into this philosophy.
Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. (Heb 10:24-25)