Rev. Curtis Flemming & Dr. Nancy Flemming
The Bay Community Fellowship—Its personality
The Church is the body of Christ in the world. The Holy Spirit oversees the life of the church, blesses, assists, prods and holds it strong. The Word encourages us that the “gates of hell” ultimately will not be able to withstand the offensive thrusts of the church. Yet people lead the church day by day some of whom are not yet all God intends. Thus, the church can be diverted by cultural and personal pressures and lose its sense of direction. To assist in keeping the Bay Community Fellowship on mission, we list the primary activities of the Church. These should be characteristic of the ministry at the Bay Community Fellowship.
The worship of God is the central activity of God’s people, the under-girding reality of all of life. The psalmist said, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1, NRSV). When we praise God our revelation of ability is expanded and correspondingly our trust in him as master over our life and destiny. For thousands of years this life of continual worship has been shaped and nourished by special gatherings and by daily, weekly and personal worship in which God is praised and His saving acts recounted.
In worship God invites His people to enter into his own heart for all people. Believers are called to share the good news of his love so that more and more people may come to know, love and worship the one true God. The vocation of God’s people Israel was to be “a light to the nations...” (Isaiah 42:6, NRSV). As that calling and occupation are fulfilled in the people of Christ, this call continues: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...” (Matthew 28:19, NRSV). Likewise, there is the parallel call to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength ... [and] love your neighbor as yourself...” (Mark 12:30-31, NRSV). Evangelism is also at the heart of the life of God’s people. Healthy churches seek every way possible to reach people and bring them into the life of the Kingdom.
Those who come to God through trust in Jesus Christ are drawn into a shared life. The biblical term is “fellowship.” Fellowship is more than socializing; rather, it is the sharing of our life together under the umbrella of God’s grace and love. The call to a deeply shared life together comes from the New Testament: “ They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…” (Acts 2:42 (NRSV). It is in the context of this life together that Christians worship God, share his love with the lost, serve the needy and broken, and build each other up toward maturity.
Images of growth and development abound in the New
Testament. The Bay Community Fellowship seeks to help every believer grow up in Christ. The same commission of our Lord, which commands that we go and make disciples of all nations, explains that in addition to baptizing them, the church is to teach them to obey everything He commanded. The Christian nurture process seeks to lead people to Christ and to identify with the people of Christ by a pledge of their love and loyalty to Christ and the church through membership with a local congregation.
The local church then helps believers grow to become fully devoted followers of Christ, equips them with skills they need for service, fans the flames of their passions, and enlists them in the worldwide mission of sharing Christ and redeeming the world to Him.
The Bay Community Fellowship exists to love God, love people and make disciples
The Bay Community Fellowship seeks to be a healthy biblical community of holy people multiplying disciples, leaders, groups and churches. Fulfillment of this vision requires that the Bay Community Fellowship be a healthy church with Spirit-filled leaders, who continuously work a plan to fulfill our Expected Outcomes.
Were we draw the line
We may not:
● live in violation of the Scriptures.
● live in violation of the Articles of Religion, the Constitution, the Membership Covenant or the mission.
Our leaders may not:
● live in violation of ordination vows.
● lead the Bay Community Fellowship in ways that detract from our mission.
Placing mission ahead of method, the Bay Community Fellowship will remain flexible and minister in ways that fulfill our expected outcomes.
Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel reminds us that the Father’s heart passionately seeks those outside the Kingdom. Until the lost in any generation are found, God will attempt to win their faith and loyalty.
It is our expectation, in light of this loving, reaching heart of God, that pastoral and lay leaders will seek to develop the Bay Community Fellowship so that it is characterized by the following outcomes:
a. Being an evangelistic congregation: befriending spiritually lost people; presenting and explaining the gospel in culturally relevant ways; and inviting spiritually lost people to trust Christ as Savior.
b. Being a disciple-making congregation: connecting all who wish to know Christ to groups or cells; nurturing believers toward Christ-like, obedient love; enfolding believers, welcoming them into membership; bringing disciples to a life pattern of holy living through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit; and taking and sending disciples into the world to serve.
c. Being a reproducing congregation: developing the next generation of pastoral and lay leaders; establishing cells as core groups for new church plants; and planting new congregations.
d. Being a world-mission congregation: engaging in world missions; giving vital resources; sending cross-cultural evangelists; and providing diverse support teams.
These emphases have been high priority throughout our history and should continue to be so since they agree with the evangelistic imperative of the Bible.