Our purpose is to help people begin and grow in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We place a special emphasis on helping young people to fulfill their calling to do the important work Jesus has prepared in advance for them to do. (Ephesians 2:10, 1 Timothy 4:12) We believe in the priority of our purpose over our comfort or preferences. We are willing to live our lives outside of our natural comfort zones in order to achieve this purpose.
We unapologetically believe in the Bible. We recognize the Bible as the sole authority for all our faith and practice. The first consideration in any decision we make is what God has revealed through the Scriptures. We are committed to sound exposition of the Scriptures as a vital part of our community life. Our doctrinal statement is simply a summary of the biblical truths we affirm, including a commitment to the inspiration of both the Old and New Testaments. We believe that the unchangeable and uncompromising message of the Bible ought to be presented in a manner that is relevant to contemporary people in our community.
We believe that biblical Christianity is not a blind leap of faith. We like to say that Jesus died to take away our sin, not our minds. We don’t demand quick or emotional responses to the call of Christ in a person’s life. We understand that many biblical issues are complex and that on some occasions even the most noteworthy of scholars still disagree on minor doctrinal issues. We do affirm that God has clearly revealed the essentials of our faith, and we believe that diligent exploration of the Scriptures will lead a person to a faith that is intellectually honest, deeply satisfying, and continually growing.
We recognize that our relationship with God depends entirely on His grace. Any good thing that we have and any good work that we do, we see as an example of His grace in our lives. Since our faith is based on God’s grace, we will seek to live graciously in our relationships with others. We will not seek to make rules for ourselves or for others that God has not clearly revealed in the Scriptures. We know, in fact, that grace produces a deeper, more holy response than law.
We have made a careful decision as a church family to “do life together.” We cultivate deep friendships. Many friendships here at Bethany span multiple decades – and helping each other build these enduring friendships is an intentional part of our ministry. We gather in small groups throughout our region for mutual encouragement, to share one another’s joys and sorrows, and to seek to apply the Bible to the everyday lives we lead. Together, we experience communion with God, community with one another, and compassion for our world.
We believe that those who have accepted God’s grace will be transformed. This transformation is a gradual process which a person cannot achieve on her/his own. Thus we endeavor to be available and teachable to one another. We recognize that true discipleship is costly for it involves a life of voluntary sacrifice following the pattern of Christ. We believe God calls every believer to a life of spiritual reproduction, imparting their own spiritual life to the next generation of disciples. Thus we believe God enables each believer to be a witness for Him and to grow to a place of effective service within the church.
We recognize that church membership is not a “consumer choice” based on personal needs, but an important commitment that reflects our obedience to Christ. While we do not exalt commitment to an organization over a personal relationship with God, we recognize that participation in the life of a local church is necessary for each believer to fulfill his/her God given potential.
The Scriptures make abundantly clear that there is no room for dissension or quarreling in the church. We believe our unity, which is nothing more than a manifestation of our love and devotion to one another, is an essential part of our witness to the greater community. We have a clear biblical plan for resolving disputes and affirm that members have a responsibility to be reconciled to one another.
Within our unity of purpose and bond of love, we appreciate the diversity of personality, giftedness, ethnicity, and cultural backgrounds that God has given to us. We have been uniquely called to break down walls that have separated people from each other – whether deaf and hearing, black and white, or any other division. As we share our joys and our sorrows, God enrichs our fellowship with one another.
We recognize that God has richly blessed our congregation both with financial wealth and with a wealth of talent and other personal resources. We seek to live lives characterized by generosity towards one another and toward those outside the church who are less fortunate than we are. We believe that biblical stewardship is both a response of a loving heart to the grace of God and a skill which can be developed through biblical instruction.
We recognize that there are times in each of our lives when we can benefit from tangible expressions of love from others within our church family. Thus, we seek to care for one another and allow others to care for us as a necessary part of the life of our community. We also seek to extend the compassion of Christ to those overtaken by poverty and oppression, here in our area and around the world.