What We Believe



Evangelical Free Church of Sandstone
Philosophy of Ministry


Our
Mission


The Evangelical Free Church of Sandstone exists to glorify God by making disciples who...

...KNOW and love the Lord our God,

GROW and serve each other, in the body of Christ and

GO and make disciples of all nations, beginning with our neighbors.

(Ephesians 1:17-19, 4:15-16; Philippians 1:9-11; I Peter 4:10-11;
Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; John 15:8)


The Fruit of Our
Mission

Disciples are the fruit of our Mission. A DISCIPLE is any individual who in response to the call of God, follows the Lord Jesus Christ:

    • By putting his/her faith in Jesus as Savior. (John 2:11; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:8-9)
    • By maintaining an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and the keeping of His Word. (John 8:30-31, 15:1-8)
    • By demonstrating love for other believers through mutual submission and service in the context of the body of Christ. (John 13:34-35; Ephesians 4:11-16)
    • By bearing fruit, both in Christ-like character and through involvement in disciple making. (John 15:8; Galatians 5:22-25; Matthew 28:19-20)

Discipleship is a growth process beginning with faith and leading to fruitfulness.

 


Roles and Responsibilities

    • The senior pastor's role is to provide leadership. He will model discipleship in the training of leaders and in the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. He will spend priority time in prayer and give himself to the ministry of the Word. He will seldom perform tasks that other lay leaders could do, unless necessary.
    • All other pastoral staff are to have the same responsibilities within their specific area of ministry.
    • The role of our lay leaders is to model discipleship, to grow in their own ministry skills, and to work together in the equipping of the rest of the congregation for ministry.
    • Each member of God's family is to demonstrate a desire to grow as a disciple, to be trained in the use of his/her gifts, and to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit in the making of disciples and building up of the body of Christ.
    • All staff, policy makers, and ministry leaders must be growing disciples in agreement with and fulfilling the church's philosophy of ministry.
    • All leaders will be selected on the basis of their character, faithfulness, and spiritual giftedness.
    • All leaders of church ministries will take part in on-going leadership training in order to be the best stewards of the gifts God has given them.

Church Programs and Structures

    • The purpose of every ministry, organization and program is to contribute to the task of making disciples through one of the following:
    • Evangelism - Sharing the gospel with lost men and women.
    • Establishing - Bringing new believers to maturity.
    • Equipping - Preparing believers for ministry.
    • Deploying - Sending and supporting believers in missions.
    • We will develop strategies with specific and measurable goals to accomplish each aspect of our purpose.
    • We will evaluate each ministry, organization and program, according to its contribution to the task of disciple making, and will modify or discontinue those that are ineffective.
    • We will create and atmosphere where sinner, skeptic, and saint are welcomed and encouraged to grow in knowledge and love for the Lord Jesus.
    • We will gather together, as God's children, for the purpose of celebration through Christ-centered worship, and for the proclamation of God's Word.
    • We will provide Faith Fellowships for the purpose of instruction in God's Word, fellowship, pastoral care and outreach. We will provide Small Groups for the purpose of growth toward maturity in Christ, within the setting of mutual accountability. Small groups will also be used as a means to reach seekers and equip believers for the work of ministry.
    • We will provide opportunities for each believer to develop skills which will enable him/her to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ. We will develop specific evangelist strategies to reach our community for Christ.

Fundamental Principles and Values

    • We believe that God must be glorified, and the name of Jesus honored, in all we do.
    • We believe that the Word of God is the final authority for faith and practice.
    • We believe that the ministry of prayer must be given priority, both individually and corporately.
    • We believe that all believers are ministers and called to do works for the service for Christ.
    • We believe that both serving gifts and speaking gifts are essential in their contributions to the growth of a healthy church.
    • We believe that every believer is a witness for Jesus Christ and is subject to the mandate of Christ to reach a lost world with the gospel.

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EFCA Statement of Faith

Adopted by the Conference on June 26, 2008

The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:

God

1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

The Bible

2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

The Human Condition

3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

Jesus Christ

4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel's promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.

The Work of Christ

5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

The Holy Spirit

6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

The Church

7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

Christian Living

8. We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

Christ’s Return

9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

Response and Eternal Destiny

10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

Distinctives of The Evangelical Free Church of America

"In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, Jesus Christ." -- Chrysostom

1. The Evangelical Free Church of America is inclusive not exclusive.

The great heritage of the Evangelical Free Church people around the world includes the fact that fellowship and ministry opportunities in the local church are based solely on one's personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, trusting in Him alone for salvation. Membership requires commitment to sound doctrine as expressed in our Statement of Faith. However, a person is not excluded from membership because he or she does not agree on every fine point of doctrine. Within the Evangelical Free Church, there is allowance for legitimate differences of understanding in some areas of doctrine.

2. The Evangelical Free Church is evangelical but not separatistic.

The Evangelical Free Church was born out of a heritage of commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. We have deep convictions based on the authority of God's Word, but we do not draw battle lines over minor points. Nor do we make minor issues of doctrine a test of fellowship in the local church. We are evangelical. We believe in separated living and personal holiness. But we are not separatistic.

3. The Evangelical Free Church of America is ecumenical in spirit though not in structure.

We believe in the spiritual unity of the church, though not necessarily in structural union. We join with other Christians and other denominations of like precious faith in common goals and ministries to accomplish the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. But we believe that there is strength in diversity and that it is important to preserve our Distinctives. We recognize that union in structure does not guarantee unity of spirit. Our foremost concern is unity of spirit with our Lord, with each other and with other Christians.

4. The Evangelical Free Church of America believes in liberty with responsibility and accountability.

We believe in Christian liberty, but freedom always has its limitations. Responsible Christians do not abuse freedom. The Apostle Paul wrote forcefully about Christian liberty in the book of Galatians. He shattered the legalists with the doctrine of grace. But in First and Second Corinthians and Romans, the apostle also rebuked believers when liberty was abused. He declared boldly the principles of Christian liberty but spoke with equal forcefulness about Christian accountability. The Evangelical Free Church desires to preserve our freedom in Christ and encourage our people to be responsible, godly men, women and young people who desire to live under the control of the Holy Spirit, in obedience to the principles and precepts of God's Word and in harmony with God's will for life as revealed in the Scriptures.

5. The Evangelical Free Church of America believes in both the rational and relational dimensions of Christianity.

We believe the Scriptures must be applied to our individual lives with warmth of heart, warmth of message and warmth of concern. We believe it is essential to have solid biblical content in our doctrinal understanding of faith, but it is equally important to have a dynamic, vital relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son and to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sound Christian doctrine must be coupled with dynamic Christian experience. Ours is a ministry of love and reconciliation.

6. The Evangelical Free Church of America affirms the right of each local church to govern its own affairs.

The Evangelical Free Church is committed to a congregational form of government as stated in Article 10 of our Confession of Faith: "We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Head of the Church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs."

Strong pastoral leadership coupled with discerning and well-equipped Christian lay people can produce spiritual growth as well as significant church growth. The New Testament emphasizes the importance of the Body of Christ ministering through the spiritual gifts that have been given to each believer. "Congregational in government" means that each local church governs its own affairs. Within the local church, the highest human authority rests in the congregation.