The following Scriptures have been the central focus of ministry for this assembly from its inception in 2001:
Hebrews 10:24-25 – “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Acts 2:42 – “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.”
Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
The following distinctives were derived from these Scriptures. We strive to be steadfast and devoted to:
Upon salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, a person becomes a member of the Body of Christ, His Bride, the Church. (I Cor 12:13) In the New Testament, the tangible living expression of that is seen in the local church. To be a committed part of a local church is the example and directive given.
In our present age it is very common to see a lack of commitment to a local church among many professing believers. This often results in a continuous moving from church to church which contributes to a weakened fellowship and ministry of the church. Such believers are also unable to gain the blessings of and participate effectively in the ministry of the church to the glory of Christ Jesus and for their own personal growth in Christ.
Specific church rosters or systematic membership are not prescribed or described in Scripture. However, the example of Christians faithful to their local assembly of believers is seen throughout the New Testament epistles. The epistles themselves were commonly written to churches in various cities. The epistles written to individuals such as Philemon, Timothy and Titus were for these men who were church leaders.
This is exemplified through the gathering together of believers for fellowship on a regular basis, instruction and implementation of church government, application of church discipline, and numerous commands and exhortations to mutual edification, or what are commonly referred to as the “one another” scriptures (Heb 10:24-25).
A person becomes a member of the universal church or body of Christ the moment he or she is saved. The universal church of Christ is expressed on a local and intimate level in the local church. To become a follower of Jesus Christ and not be a part of a local church is inconsistent with the picture given of salvation and the church in scripture. Upon repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, believers were then baptized and “were added” to the church (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 16:5)
Membership at New Hope Bible Church is reflected by one’s consistent involvement in the life of the church including loving, fellowshipping and serving one another, regular attendance at church gatherings including weekly worship services, willing submission to church leadership, and faithful prayer for the church and its people. Further understanding is given below.
A local church member is one who commits himself or herself to participate in a particular local assembly of followers of Jesus Christ. Participation includes:
One is considered a member at New Hope Bible Church through the following.
These will be communicated in an interview with church elders and demonstrated through actual participation in the local body of Christ. The purpose of the membership interview will be for the elders to discern whether the person interviewed understands the Biblical gospel and has believed on Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Any differences a potential member has with the statement of faith will be discussed in an interview with the elders to determine the significance of the disagreement. Following the interview, the church elders will then give prayerful consideration and determine whether to accept the individual as a member to this local assembly. Members agree not to promote differences with the statement of faith or 1689 London Baptist Confession among this local assembly. Both of these afore mentioned documents serve as commentaries and guidelines in helping interpret and apply Scripture for this local assembly. Neither are viewed as inspired or inerrant or on par with the inspired 66 books of Holy Scripture.
If a member desires to transfer or terminate their membership from New Hope Bible Church the elders desire that the member communicate their intention and reason to the elders.
If a member has not participated in the activities of the church for six months, the member will be considered for termination of membership. The elders will attempt to contact the member and prayerfully consider their response or lack of response before the elders make the decision to terminate or continue membership.
Jesus Christ is the head and authority for the church. (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) Biblical leadership of the local church assembly is exercised through the roles of elders (also called overseers, pastors, and pastor teachers; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11). Scripturally established qualifications must be met by those in the role of elder (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). Elders have been given Christ’s authority to lead the local assembly and must do so as servants of Christ and His body, the church (I Timothy 5:17-22, Ephesians 5:21, I Peter 5:5). The local congregation is to submit to their leadership. (Hebrews 13:7, 17)
Under this biblical structure, church decisions are made with prayer, scriptural study and application and with consensus of the elders. All elders serve as equals. Input from the local congregation is very important and will be sought by the elders when appropriate and practically possible. However, the final responsibility in decision making is upon the elders.
Deacons exercise the role of servant in ways that help meet the practical needs of the church and also provide valuable input for church matters. Scripturally established qualifications must be met by those in the role of deacon, as well (1 Timothy 3:8-13).
Elder and deacon positions will be served by those who have been members of this local assembly for a minimum of two years and are in agreement with the church’s statement of faith and in general agreement with the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689.
A man who is appointed as an elder will be one observed and considered by the current elders to meet the Biblical qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; and 1 Peter 5:1-5. He will also demonstrate the characteristics of humility, faithfulness and love in ministry to the local assembly.
The elders may determine a need for additional elders and observe a man who appears to meet the Biblical qualifications. If a brother in the assembly desires to be considered for eldership, he is to communicate to the elders this desire and begin discussion regarding his qualifications and ministry. A personal interview will be held by the current elders with the candidate to determine if the candidate meets biblical qualifications, is in agreement with the church statement of faith and in general agreement with the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689. Any differences held by the candidate with the SLBC 1689 are to be presented by the candidate and to be discussed with the elders to determine their Biblical significance. Additional input may also be sought from others.
If, after careful prayerful consideration, the elders believe the candidate to be suitable for the role of elder, this will be announced to the assembly.
A 30 day period will then be given for the assembly to respond with any encouragement, concern or other important input that would be pertinent to the consideration of the candidate for the responsibility of elder. The current elders will respond as needed to input given.
Following the period of assembly feedback, if the elders unanimously agree that the candidate is qualified for leadership and service as an elder, the candidate will be appointed as an elder, the appointment announced to the assembly and public ordination conducted.
The elders will evaluate the needs of the assembly to determine the appropriateness of appointing additional deacons. If this is so determined, the elders will consider and evaluate men based on their living out the Biblical qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8-13 as well as demonstrating the characteristics of humility, faithfulness and love in ministry to the local assembly.
A personal interview will be held by the current elders with the candidate to determine if the candidate meets biblical qualifications, is in agreement with the church statement of faith and in general agreement with the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689. Any differences held by the candidate with the SLBC 1689 are to be presented by the candidate and to be discussed with the elders to determine their Biblical significance. Additional input may also be sought from others.
If, after careful prayerful consideration, the elders believe the candidate to be suitable for the role of deacon, this will be announced to the assembly. A 30 day period will then be given for the assembly to respond with any encouragement, concern or other important input that would be pertinent to the consideration of the candidate for this responsibility. The elders will respond as needed to input given.
Following the period of assembly feedback, if the elders unanimously agree that the candidate is qualified for service as a deacon, the candidate will be so appointed, the appointment announced to the assembly and public ordination conducted.
Church discipline is a biblically specified process used in hope of restoring a believer who has committed sin back into fellowship with Christ and the church. Church discipline also provides protection of fellow church members.
The steps followed in church discipline are given in Matthew 18:15-17:
Regarding families, the church will affirm and provide instruction that the family is to be a vital center of Christian discipleship. The husband is under Christ and the head of the home. He is to give godly leadership, seeking to direct his family in the ways of the Lord. He is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Wives are to submit to their own husbands as to the Lord. Parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual training of their children, including Biblical instruction and discipline.
We believe that children are a blessing from God. (I Cor 11:3; Eph 5:21-6:4; Col 3:18-21; Tit 2:4-5; I Pet 3:1-7)
Church members receive free use of church facilities dependent upon availability and elder approved purposes.
Changes to these guidelines are to be made at the discretion of the elders with prayerful Biblical consideration and after seeking input from the assembly. Proposed changes will be communicated to the assembly after which at least two weeks of time will be given for additional input from the assembly regarding the changes being considered. Following this time of input, the elders will give a final decision regarding the implementation of the considered changes.