Many will use the label “Reformed” to describe their church, and mean a wide variety of things. We use it primarily to refer to the “doctrines of grace,” sometimes referred to as the “five points of Calvinism,” that touch on our understanding of God’s work in our redemption. We stand with past believers who, and those confessions of faith that, affirm this biblical truth: every human being is by nature, thought and action a rebel against God. As a result, we are universally under God’s righteous wrath, justly and eternally condemned for sin. Our only hope is to throw ourselves completely upon God’s mercy, trusting completely and only in the merits of Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified as our substitute, was raised on the third day, and who today intercedes for His own from the throne of grace. Rescue comes exclusively and assuredly to everyone who repents and believes God’s good news.
The whole of Scripture reveals God’s promise and plan to provide this rescue. It is this good news we boldly proclaim for life in this age…and for life in the age to come.
The label “Baptistic” includes the conviction and commitment to adhere to Jesus’ great commission to “teach and baptize”—that is, to help bring the lost to the Savior, then to grow in that relationship with Him. We affirm “believer’s baptism” as the biblically accepted mode of affirmation of the presence of new life in a redeemed soul.
Our fellowship is independent and autonomous of other ecclesiastical authorities. This works itself out practically in these ways: the congregation elects it’s leadership (pastor, elders, and deacons); the leadership acts largely on behalf of the congregation. And with regard to missions, for example, as a church we independently choose whom we will financially and prayerfully support.
To further describe our core values, we are a congregation committed to learn and obey God’s Word. The preaching and teaching of the Bible as the inspired and inerrant revelation of God holds a most prominent part of our church life together. That may be seen in our emphasis on verse-by-verse expository preaching, the public reading of Scripture, and the use of Scripture as we meet corporately for prayer. In all forms and venues, we affirm that our living Lord speaks today through His Word. Further, we strive to be biblically literate and theologically astute, that we might discern the sometimes subtle difference between truth and error.
We are a congregation committed to share life together. One of our elders often refers to Emmanuel as “a family of families.” Families live and eat and work together. So it is that children worship with adults. They work and serve alongside adults. We value the cross-generational interaction and relationships with “adopted” aunts, uncles, and grandparents that characterize our fellowship. We regularly share meals together and encourage meeting in one another’s homes.
We are a congregation committed to worship. We affirm that the Lord has left His church with two sacraments: believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We observe the memorial of communion no less than once a month.
Worship is a heart presented to the Lord in reverent focus upon His glory; worship is not a performance by “professionals” that others come to watch. We strive to give our best to the Lord as we prompt others to worship. We value helping those younger and less skilled to grow in their ability to help others worship. Emmanuel has been a safe place for children to learn to use their gifts and talents toward that end.
We are a congregation committed to the proclamation of God’s gospel. Our focus here is not on getting new bodies in the door necessarily, nor in how many baptisms we can tally up at the end of the year. By example, testimony, and teaching we seek to equip our people to know and personally declare God’s good news in Christ, then leave the conversion of the soul in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
Our missions involvement is an extension of our evangelism responsibility. As a conscious choice, we do not support a large number of missionaries or missions agencies. We support only a few…but to a significant amount. We do so in part to make it easier for a missionary family to get some much-needed rest on a furlough. Also, when they are state-side, we want them to feel like they are “home” when they are with us. We want them to infect us with the burning passion for the Savior that took them to the mission field in the first place. At the same time, we want to encourage them with our love and care for them as a family.
We believe God’s purpose for Emmanuel Community Church is to bring glory to Himself, molding us individually and corporately toward Christ-likeness that we might think and act like our Lord at all times, in order that others come to know Him and similarly bring glory to Him. We glorify God and are conformed into His likeness to the degree that we live an authentic, holy life-style in obedient response to Christ through His Word before others in the midst of life’s circumstances—largely through the disciplines of prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and the proclamation of God’s good news.