To say the American church is being shaken to it's core is an understatement. With decades of declining membership, each successive generation has grown weaker and less inclined to follow Christ seriously. The elders of GBFM, out of concern for the decline of the church, have put together this philosophy of ministry to try to turn around the trend in our own church.
MISSION CORE: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19-20a ESV
THEOLOGICAL CORE: Salvation through CHRIST alone, by God's GRACE alone, through SCRIPTURE alone, by our FAITH alone, for GOD'S GLORY alone.
ON MINISTRY: To fulfill the great commission, we preach and teach the Gospel; Christ living a perfect life, dying in our place and being raised from the dead, conquering the grave for us (I Cor. 15:3-4). It is at the heart of our worship, our giving, and our programs. It is the Gospel that brings us from death to life. It saves our souls from the wrath of God. It is the greatest Truth to a fallen world. We pray it permeates all that we do at GBFM.
ON PREACHING: To faithfully preach the Gospel. The Rev. Richard Baxter once said, "I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men." We ARE dying! A person who worshipped with us last Sunday may not live to see the next. If this is their last sermon, what do they need to hear? They need the reassurance of Christ and Him crucified. We make sure the Gospel is in every sermon preached and every lesson taught. That way every hearer will have every opportunity to repent and be saved. For those who are saved, it strengthens their hope in the resurrection and God's coming Kingdom.
Sermons are usually expository. We work through one book of the Bible at a time. In this way you will be taught "the whole council of God". Christianity, after all, is a marathon race, not a sprint. As we digest and wrestle with some of the hard doctrines we find scattered throughout God's Word, it gives us the chance to grow in sanctification and holiness.
ON MUSIC: We believe just about any type of music can be used in the church to worship God; although, we believe certain types of music are more conducive than others in directing worship away from ourselves and towards God. GBFM uses a mixture of hymns and newer music with a strict emphasis on lyrics that focus on worshipping God's attributes and what God has done for us. While mixing the two styles can prove challenging, we believe having one unified service where a family can worship together is best.
ON SERVICE STYLE: Charis Fellowship does not prescribe any one form of worship for its member churches so we are not tied to a specific style of worship. However, we love the liturgical elements of prayers of confession, responsive readings, catechisms and reading LOTS of Scripture during our services.
ON EVANGELISM: The pastor/elders are to accurately preach the Truth of God's Word, including the centrality of the Gospel. They do this for two reasons. 1. That those who are not really saved may hear the Gospel, be struck to the heart and repent. 2. That those who are already saved may grow in their confidence and understanding of the Bible and the Gospel, so when they return to their families, neighborhoods and workplaces, they will know what to say when asked about the hope that lives within them. As they share the Gospel, may God prick the hearts of those listening; and, may they repent and be saved.
ON CHURCH PROGRAMS: Our church is minimalistic when it comes to programs. When Jesus commanded his disciples to go make disciples, He didn't instruct them to go start a bunch of programs at church. He commanded them, "as you are going through life's routines, make disciples" . That means our greatest opportunities for church growth happen while we are at the laudromat, participating in 4-H, coaching a ball team, playing disc golf, sitting through parent-teacher meetings or at work. For us to effectively accomplish this, the church building should be empty most of the week. That is why all our meetings are held on Wednesday nights, so we are freed up during the week to be lights in the darkness.