If you missed our first “Discovering Christ & Our Church Family 101” last Sunday morning at 9:00, you missed what I hope was an informative and motivating time of discussing who we are as a church. I encourage you – long-time attenders and newcomers – to join us this Sunday at 9:00 for the second of our four-part series. This four-week class also serves as our “membership” class, if you are interested in joining the church as a voting member. (We’ll talk more about that later too.)
If you missed last Sunday’s class, here’s a review. We talked about four commitments at Emmanuel and eight principles that make up the DNA of Emmanuel :
The Four Emmanuel Commitments :
1. The Relationship Commitment is a commitment to Christ and a church body.
This is the basis for church life at Emmanuel and the first step in experiencing an abundant spiritual life – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior and Leader.
2. The Maturity Commitment is a commitment to the habits necessary for spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth is about being a disciple of Jesus. The word discipleship is related to the word discipline, and discipline just means good habits. “Take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit,” Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Tim 4:7). It’s a second commitment we make at Emmanuel.
3. The Ministry Commitment is a commitment to discovering and using your God-given gifts and abilities in serving God and others.
The work of the Lord on earth is not a “lone ranger” work. No one of us has all the gifts necessary for reaching the lost and growing them toward Christlikeness. It is a work that has to take place within the community of God’s people. You have a part to play in that ; when your commitment to ministry is missing, the whole Body suffers.
4. The Missions Commitment is a commitment to share the Good News with others.
What a privilege we have to share with others the Good News of Jesus Christ which someone shared with us !
Are you willing to make these commitments with me ? I encourage you to review them and to consider that your commitment is key to the Body of Christ at Emmanuel and to your own spiritual growth ! We become what we are committed to.
Eight Principles at Emmanuel
These are eight principles we think make Emmanuel unique, and I hope they will continue to guide all of us in being the church !
1. A Climate of Acceptance.
At Emmanuel, we strive to affirm what is clear and essential to the faith and not to draw fine lines on theological issues on which genuine Christians may hold differing opinions (for example, timing of end-time events ; mode of baptism ; baptism as a requirement for membership). We are in line with the founding and history of the Evangelical Free Church of America, which has been : “In essentials, unity ; in non-essentials, charity ; in all things, Jesus Christ.”
2. Authentic Worship
We desire that times of worship at Emmanuel be times of great expectations of encountering God in an authentic way, not just “going through the motions.” We strive for what we call participatory worship – where the musicians and worship leaders are simply the prompters (not the performers), the congregation is the performer (not an audience observing only), and God is the audience (the One to whom everything is directed).
3. Biblical Preaching
The preaching and teaching of the Word of God is a recurring theme for the church in the New Testament. (See Acts 2:42 ; Acts20:27 ; 1 Timothy 4:13 ; 2 Timothy 4:2 ; Titus 2:1.) At Emmanuel, we strive to follow three steps in our approach to the Word : Observation (What does it say ?), Interpretation (What does it mean ?), and Application (How does it work ? — or, So what ?). I hope that every Sunday sermon answers those questions, including the “so what” question.
4. Individual Growth
“… so that we may present every person complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). We want you to grow in love and obedience to Jesus Christ ! What should that look like ? Try this test : On the front side of a notecard, write nine things about yourself as a person. Now, turn the card over and write nine things about Jesus. Nine things about Jesus are found in Galatians 5 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Our hope is that with time God will transform each of us at Emmanuel from what we are presently to more of those things that Jesus is.
5. Clear Purpose
Oops — we only got through principle #4 last Sunday !! We’ll finish the final four principles this Sunday and move on to discuss the structure and roles at Emmanuel !!
Belonging — Maturing — Ministering — Missions : That’s what we want to be about as a church. I’m glad you’re a part of it ! Please know that if you consider Emmanuel to be your church home, you are part of the family ! This class has as its purpose to unify us all in a common vision of who we are and what we’re doing.
Hope to see you Sunday ! There are activities and nursery care planned for young people ages 3-11. Those who are above that age are welcome to join us for the Discovery 101 class or help with the younger children.
I hope to see you there !
9:00 – Discovering Christ & Our Church Family 101
10:00 – Worship