Sunday, September 28, 2014, the congregation voted unanimously to adopt this vision statement.
A group of about twenty people, including a wide variety of people from the congregation, was appointed by the Transitional Leadership Team in May of this year to comprise a Vision Casting Team. Their purpose was to identify what is important to our church based on our biblical convictions; to determine a simple Mission Statement that expresses God’s purpose for us as His people, and prayerfully to seek a vision from the Lord for First Baptist Church as a church for the next three years (2017). The following is being presented to members of the congregation for their input.
THE CORE VALUES OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH (NOT LISTED IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE)
It is necessary that we determine, in a simple way, words that describe what First Baptist Church believes to be essential in its life and ministry. It is also important that we leave no doubt as to what these words mean to our people at First Baptist Church. Identifying these core values is meant to help our congregation, church leadership, ministry staff, and ministry teams focus on the majors and minor on the minors.
Having a relationship with God, we value:
Worship: Praising and honoring God in all things.
Fellowship: Personal, caring relationships with each other based on love, grace, trust, and forgiveness.
Prayer: Essential communication that lies at the heart of our relationship with God.
Disciple-making: Growing as followers and leading others to Christ.
Missions: Demonstrating the love of God locally and around the world.
The Bible: To study, preach, teach and live God’s Word.
Evangelism: We value people by sharing with all the Good News of Jesus Christ.
A Mission Statement is also an important way of communicating and remembering our main “mission” from God as a church so that everyone can understand our mission and commit to following it in their personal lives. A Mission Statement is meant to reflect what we believe to be our main task of making disciples, being followers of Jesus Christ.
To know and love Jesus Christ and to make Him known. (Philippians 3:10)
Having determined what we believe to be our core values and having written a mission statement, we moved on to our main task of writing a Vision Statement. It is meant to be 6 – 10 bullet points that bring focus and direction to the congregation, church leadership, and ministry staff so that we can have unity and work together in love for the same things, and be fruitful in our service to God. The following definition is meant to help everyone understand the purpose of the statement.
WHAT VISION IS:
VISION IS SOMETHING THAT GOD WANTS TO ACCOMPLISH THROUGH US!
GOD’S VISION IS CLEAR!
GOD’S VISION IS COMPELLING – IT SHOULD MOVE US TO ACTION!
GOD’S VISION PROVIDES A PICTURE!
GOD’S VISION IS THE FUTURE OF OUR MINISTRY AS A CHURCH!
GOD’S VISION IS REALISTIC/ATTAINABLE!
These individual statements are meant to flesh out, and bring to the center, what we believe to be the core values of First Baptist Church:
Worship Fellowship Prayer Disciple-making
Missions The Bible Evangelism
Everything below continues to be open for discussion and debate with the congregation as they give their input and make changes as they see needs. Again, these statements are meant to help the congregation, lay church leadership and ministry staff to gain a “bigger picture” of what we believe God wants us to become and work for over the next three years. The preface statement is meant to express the main idea of what we need and want to say:
“At First Baptist Church, we will honor the Lord Jesus Christ by carrying out His command to make disciples of all nations. We envision our people sharing the good news of the work of Jesus Christ with all people living throughout Iredell County and our surrounding area. We desire that many of these people who do not yet believe in Jesus Christ will accept Him as their Savior. We envision children, teens, and adults placing greater emphasis on prayer toward fulfilling this vision. God answers prayer and provides 'great and unsearchable things' to those who pray (Jeremiah 33:3)."
We at First Baptist Church believe these to be important to what God is telling us (not in order of importance0:
We believe that God wants the First Baptist Church to grow spiritually and numerically. We desire to nurture a church community that lives in harmony, shows love, and respects each other. We believe that we should be a warm and inviting church that welcomes all people. We also would like to become a more diverse congregation in all areas. We want to encourage our congregation to welcome people from other ethnic, racial, and economic groups to become a part of our church.
We desire to utilize our building for the Lord’s work. We want to work closely with community organizations. We also want to develop ministries that meet people in our community at special points of need (i.e. English as a second language; Divorce Care; Alcoholics Anonymous; along with other support groups, etc.)
We strongly encourage all of our adults, teenagers and children, tobe involved in serving the Lord in the church and/or community.
We believe that the Lord wants us to care for our own. Building on the existing and excellent model of First Baptist Church’s Caring Team which provides support for families who have lost loved ones, the need exists to expand the ministry to include love, help, care, and support for anyone within our congregation who has need of it. This team will also seek to contact those members and attendees who have left First Baptist Church to share our love and concern for them.
We want to encourage people to be daily students of the Word of God. We want to emphasize the teaching of the Bible everywhere within our church. We will, therefore, offer multiple places where people of all ages can study the Bible. We want to emphasize our Sunday School ministry, Wednesday family night ministry, and a newly developed small group Bible studies ministry so that they play a central role in how we help people study the Word of God. We would like to see every person in attendance at First Baptist Church involved in some form of Bible study each week.
We believe that the Lord wants us to invite people of all ages into our church. With an aging congregation, we know that we need to attract younger people into the church. We need to ask what this means about how our ministry life needs to change. We want to have a ministry strategy that helps First Baptist Church have an outreach to younger families for Christ. We want to have a specific ministry for children and teenagers that includes serving and ministering to parents.
We would like to add to our “come and hear” method of ministry a stronger emphasis on a “go and tell” approach to ministry. First Baptist Church needs to search the Scriptures to seek insight into what it means for true believers to proclaim the gospel to the lost. Knowing that we need to actively reach unsaved people for Christ, we want to reach out to the people of Iredell County and the surrounding area.
Speaking the truth in love, we want to share the gospel message that includes the implications of believing, or not believing it. We need to have a church wide dialogue about how to do this. Each member has an influence with a certain number of people. How can we help our people see this, and also help them to reach those closest to them for Christ? We recognize that acts of charity and compassion, along with a verbal witness of what Jesus Christ has done for all people, are both at the heart of what it means to proclaim the gospel message. Opportunities for people to learn how to share their faith should be offered to every age group. A significant question that still needs to be asked and answered is, “What priority should evangelism have within each ministry at First Baptist Church?”
We need to build on our understanding that true worship of God is how we live life daily with God. We want to ask what type of worship services will best promote genuine corporate worship and reach people. We would like to see the attendance for our Sunday morning worship services increase by 75% over the next three years (to over 450+ people). To accomplish this, each ministry team needs to promote how we can help the people of First Baptist Church see our members and attendees as “ambassadors” of our church.
With First Baptist Church moving toward a “team” approach to ministry, it is vital that we work hard to fully support the seven key ministry teams: Deacon, Adult, Children’s, Student Ministries, Worship, Mission and Building and Grounds. If the church prays for and supports each team, we can expect more people will be involved in serving the Lord and can be more fruitful as a church. We want to also nurture training and equipping our people for ministry in all areas of our church and prepare them for service in the community. We would like to pursue a strategy of reproducing ourselves based upon 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” This also means that we want our leadership to help us learn what it means to mentor other people.
Since we desire to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things, we know of the need to have a greater emphasis on prayer as a statement of dependence, unity and faith that God will bring to completion His perfect will for us as we trust and obey Him. We believe that we need to have prayer be a central part in the life of our church and its people. Prayer should have an emphasis in every ministry and meeting. We also envision developing smaller prayer groups that bring people together with the express purpose of praying.
We also recommend that the following questions be open for discussion by all of our ministry teams:
That we ask whom we should target as we attempt to attract new members and attendees.
Ask how First Baptist Church can develop a class for newcomers and prospective members.
Ask how can we better assimilate newcomers to our church.
This document was completed after congregational input on Sundays, September 7 and 14. It was distributed to the congregation on Sunday, September 21. It was adopted by the church September 28.