New to Calvary
This brief document, the philosophy of ministry statement for Calvary Church, attempts to explain how and why we do ministry as we do. It is our effort to flesh out our understanding of what the Word of God teaches us about the nature of ministry within the body of Christ.
Our philosophy of ministry is based on the Scriptures, and is subject to change as our understanding of the Scriptures grows and changes. We acknowledge our fallibility and our readiness to continue to learn more and grow more.
Authority and Goals
Our goal is the multiplication of mature followers of Jesus Christ both locally and around the world (Matthew 28:18-20, 13:38).
Scripture alone is our final authority for faith and practice. The Bible takes precedence to all other authority. We should be seeking continual renewal, searching the Scriptures first and last to determine what should be our motivation, method and goals. We interpret the Bible according to the grammatical-historical-theological system of hermeneutics which seeks to find what God meant the original listener and reader to understand and to do.
We exist for the glory of God. God is most glorified when His work is done in His way, (according to Scripture) and in His power (the power of the Holy Spirit). When the Bible specifies what and how the work is to be done, we will conform. When there is no biblical command or intentional pattern, we are free to seek the most effective ways to accomplish the goals which most glorify God.
Membership and Discipleship
The fruit we seek is the salvation of whole lives—body, soul, and spirit—to the glory of God. We seek the multiplication of gifted, equipped, mature, involved people (2 Timothy 2:1-2, Ephesians 4:11-13). We are always seeking to enlarge the core of disciples, wholly devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
We welcome as members all who are born again and wanting to walk with the Lord, and who are not under discipline from another church or a candidate for discipline in Calvary Church. We desire that each member mature in personal study, understanding and application of Scripture, and that each one discover his or her own spiritual giftedness and sphere of fruitful ministry and service.
The maturation of believers is a process, empowered by the Holy Spirit from one stage of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:17-18), and is aided by worship, (John 4:24, Philippians 3:3), Bible study, (2 Timothy 2:15), meditation, (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, I Timothy 4:15), a growing prayer life (I Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18), fellowship (Acts 2:42, I John 1:7) accountability, (Ephesians 5:21, Romans 15:14) and ministry (Ephesians 2:10).
Maturing requires renewal of the mind, repentance of wrong actions and beliefs, commitment to God and to His people. The evidence of maturity is faith working through love – love of God and neighbor (Galatians 5:6) – and steadfast hope in the promises of God (I Thessalonians 1:3).
The Christian family is the cornerstone of a godly community, and is responsible for the spiritual nurture of the family’s members (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Ephesians 6:4). We complement the ministry of the family and see ourselves as extended family, especially to those who do not have a Christian family of their own (Romans 12:10).
We want to be as inclusive in our corporate fellowship as biblically possible, recognizing and working together with all those who hold to the fundamentals of the faith (triune Godhead, authority of Scripture, salvation by faith alone), and who walk in purity (John 13:35, 17:21). We will major on the majors and minor on the minors.
The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to change lives (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12). The Word is best taught and caught in an environment of caring relationships (Luke 6:40). Each age group is capable of knowing God; we seek to communicate biblical truth and principles in appropriate age-graded ways.
We trust the leading of the Holy Spirit in each other’s lives, (Romans 8:14, Galatians 5:16,25; Hebrews 8:10-11) and therefore we do not use external motivation, such as pressure and guilt, to move people to conform to our programs or to external standards.
Governance and Ministry
Christ is the head of His Church, and He exercises authority over the church primarily through Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Colossians 1:18). Authority to rule is also delegated to mature, godly men who are biblically qualified to oversee the work and to pastor the people (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:17; Titus 1:5-9).
We seek God’s leading in oneness. While we recognize we may not always agree in every detail or to the same degree on every issue, we seek God to give us unity and we submit our own judgments to the Lord, to His Word, and to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our corporate deliberations. We also submit to one another in honor of the Lord (Philippians 1:9-11, 27; Ephesians 5:21).
Ultimate responsibility for leadership in the church is delegated to men, who are responsible to define the doctrine and exercise discipline within the church (1 Timothy 2:12). Women are to exercise their gifts within these parameters, and are encouraged to grow and serve as co-heirs of the grace of God (1 Peter 3:7).
The role of professional ministry staff is to provide leadership and service toward the accomplishment of our purpose and goals. They are expected to enable others to use their gifts in service to Christ and His Church (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Decision making is ultimately the responsibility of the elders, but we desire to empower those involved in the ministries of the church to make decisions directly affecting their ministry on the basis of Scripture, principles, policies and allocated budget.
Our commission is to disciple the nations; therefore our responsibility stretches across the globe. In teamwork with the rest of the evangelical body of Christ we long to reach the least reached in order to help fulfill the Great Commission. We want to invest at least as much of our resources in cross cultural missions as we invest locally.
Form and Function
The ministry of the church is upward, inward and outward (Acts 2:42-47).
Upwardly, we worship God, the essence of our existence. The venue for this worship is both the large group celebration and the small group cell. We worship most authentically in formats most understandable to us, therefore we try to provide opportunity for all to worship in ways that are meaningful to them, seeking to provide a balanced blend of the best of our past, which celebrates what God has done, as well as the best of contemporary styles, which celebrates what God is doing today. Within our understanding of biblical appropriateness, we will be all things to all people in order that by any means we may win some (1 Corinthians 9:22). We are willing to sacrifice our own preferences in order to offer a sacrifice of praise and demonstrate the unity of the Spirit in our worship (Ephesians 5:17-18, Hebrews 13:15).
Inwardly, we believe that the teaching of the Scripture is primary in our worship since it is the foundation of our belief and life. We will teach the whole counsel of God, seeking to be as balanced as Scripture is. We believe that the church is an extended family, and relationships are important to our personal and corporate growth and to our witness to the world (John 13:34-35). Therefore fellowship, the sharing in common of our faith, our lives, and our things, is crucial to fleshing out the life of Christ through our relationships. We believe that prayer is a primary channel of God’s working today, and therefore we are committed to intercession as well as to prayers of praise and worship.
Outwardly, we believe that we should make the Lord Jesus Christ known in our own area through the witness of word and actions. We seek the ultimate salvation of each person in Lancaster County and around the world. We recognize that corporate witness involves proclamation, and that preparation for proclamation may come through social ministry. Since each person is created in the image of God, we seek to show God’s kind of love to the whole person.
Function takes precedence to form in the life of the church. We believe that Scripture teaches that Sunday is uniquely the Lord’s Day in this age because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that the early church, and subsequently the historical church, met on that day in order to worship and honor Him (Acts 20:7). Therefore Sunday worship is central to the life and celebration of the church. We also recognize that purpose, culture and law may necessitate alternative days for worship.
All programs of the church are to be evaluated on the basis of their faithfulness to biblical truth and their effectiveness in maturing the saints and presenting Christ to the unconverted and uncommitted.
As stewards of God’s resources – finances, time and people, we seek to use all of these as those who will give an account to both men and to God (2 Corinthians 8:21). We will teach grace giving, believing that the attitude behind the gift is as important as the gift (2 Corinthians 9:7). Therefore we will not use manipulation or pressure to increase giving.
We will honor and appreciate the people who give themselves, both voluntarily and professionally, to this ministry, providing adequate resources for maximum effectiveness. We will not consciously allow either individuals or families to overextend themselves to the detriment of their own or their family’s spiritual lives. We value time with God in prayer and intimate fellowship.
Calvary Church | 1051 Landis Valley Rd. | Lancaster, PA 17601(717) 560-2341 | fax (717) 560-3459 | email@example.com@CalvaryChurchPA