God-Centered, Christ-Exalting, Bible-Saturated
Because the entire universe was made by God and for God, we seek to have God at the center of all that we do. Rather than leaving God as an underlying assumption in our church life and ministry, we want our church to be explicitly and unquestionably centered on His glory in every area.
God has been revealed fully and finally in Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God being the exact imprint of God’s nature. We value exalting Jesus Christ in all that we do. We desire to magnify the glory of person of Christ and the glorious sufficiency of His work of salvation.
It is not enough for the Bible to be background noise in the local church. We obey God by obeying Scripture. We know God by knowing Scripture. We cannot worship, love, or serve God rightly apart from Scripture; therefore, we need the Bible. Because God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, we love the Bible. We desire all we do as a local church to be saturated with the Word of God – whether preaching God’s Word, singing God’s Word, praying God’s Word, seeing God’s Word in the ordinances, or fellowshipping around God’s Word.
A Reformed Understanding of Salvation
We are a Reformed church in our understanding of what the Scriptures teach about salvation. We believe and teach the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation. We believe that this doctrine affects every aspect of our church life, including our doctrine, our preaching, our philosophy of ministry, our counseling, and our worship. We stand upon the five “solas” of the Reformation (Sola scriptura/Scripture alone, Sola fide/faith alone, Sola gratia/grace alone, Solus Christus/Christ alone, and Soli Deo Gloria/glory to God alone), and we affirm and teach the five “doctrines of grace” (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Efficacious Atonement, Effectual Call, and the Perseverance of the Saints).
Expository, Christ-Centered Preaching
As the pillar and ground of the truth, the most important function of the local church is the faithful preaching and proclamation of God’s Word. Every preacher ought to desire to faithfully say what God says, rather than creatively concocting his own words. The power of preaching is not found in oratory skills, nor the dynamic personality of the preacher, nor the clever arrangement of relevant topics, but in the precision and accuracy of the exposition and application of the Biblical text. The Word of God changes lives; therefore, it is our goal to faithfully deliver Scripture’s timeless truths to our modern world.
The intent of expository preaching is to ‘expose’ what God has already said in His word. The faithful preacher must study to discern the meaning of Biblical passages, carefully working through all the data (grammatical, historical, contextual, theological) in a specific text. The faithful preacher must take the point of the Bible text as the point of the sermon. Since the central theme of Scripture is the revelation of Christ and His work of redemption, faithful handling of the Biblical text will always expose the glory of Jesus Christ and His glorious gospel.
Our main strategy for expository preaching is to preach verse by verse through the books of the Bible. This approach leads us to Biblical truths that otherwise we would be tempted to ignore, over time leading the local church into the whole counsel God, rather than the preacher’s preferred topics.
Congregational, Christ-Centered Praise
We value corporate worship that honors God. Though there is a rightful place for the congregation to sing to one another about what God has done for us, our principal aim is to address our songs directly to God in corporate worship. We believe that the lyrics of the songs we use in worship should be focused primarily upon the explicit gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe this brings the most glory to God and the most edification to the saints.
Moreover, we value worship that highlights congregational singing and places our focus on the lyrics that we are singing together to God rather than on the skill of a few performers. We desire that our worship to God would be marked by the variety of emotions and expressions that we see modeled in Scripture. May our God receive the glory that is due His name.
A Baptistic Understanding of the Church
We are a Baptist church in our understanding of what the Scriptures teach about the local church. We believe that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are signs of the New Covenant and therefore are for believers only. We believe that every local church is to strive to maintain regenerate church membership by seeking to ensure that every member’s profession of faith is credible. As a congregational Baptist church, we do not agree with a regional level of leadership above the local church.
We value a plurality of elders in leadership because we believe this to be the New Testament pattern of church government. We reject modern forms of church government that resemble corporate organizational structures more than biblical church government. We adhere to the Scriptural qualifications for elders as laid out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, and we understand biblical elders to be those whose life and doctrine are submitted to the authority of God’s Word. Therefore, our elders rule by teaching, preaching, and applying the Scriptures.
Meaningful Church Membership
Because Biblical church membership consists of Christians mutually submitting themselves to the care, oversight, doctrine, and discipline of the local church, we believe Christians should take church membership seriously. Faithful church members seek to be active in the life, fellowship, service, worship, and functions of the church body. We value a meaningful commitment to the body of Christ, evidenced in faithful attendance at church gatherings and in love that seeks to live out the “one another” commands within the local church.
Because God takes church membership and holiness seriously, GCC takes church discipline seriously. Christians who truly love each other will hold each other accountable to God’s Word. Biblical church discipline is rooted in a desire to restore others and is to be pursued in a spirit of love and meekness. If a church member is living in unrepentant sin, GCC is committed to carrying out church discipline even though it causes us much pain and sorrow to remove our spiritual fellowship until public repentance brings restoration. Restoration, not excommunication, is the goal.
We seek to be a Christ-centered church, not a family-centered church, because families are strongest when the focus is on Christ. However, we value building up strong marriages and families, where God’s Word is taught and lived out. We also value equipping fathers to carry out their responsibility to lead their wives and bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
We value families worshipping together both at home and with the church on Sundays. Although we are happy to provide a nursery for our younger children, we believe that corporate worship should be a major part of our children’s lives. We value making our children wise for salvation by teaching them the Scriptures from childhood, and we believe that corporate worship is an important piece of godly child rearing.
We desire every member to grow into maturity in Christ, and we seek to encourage, embolden, and equip every member to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We believe that God has given all Christians the privilege of being His ambassadors to a lost world.
We desire to be used of God to spread the message of reconciliation to the ends of the earth. This includes a commitment to equip and send qualified gospel laborers to the nations. Specifically, we value gospel partnerships that focus on planting healthy local churches among the unreached.