This past Sunday, October 21, 2007, we held the Charter service for our church plant. The significance of a church chartering is, in a nutshell, transitioning from a church plant to a New Testament, independent, autonomous, Baptist church. It was an amazing day. On this post I have included some items for your viewing/reading pleasure: our newly adopted Constitution (you are probably wondering why in the world I would attach our new constitution. Good question, glad you asked. Answer: because we have spent the last seven months putting it together!), the bulletin for our charter service, a slideshow containing the day as captured through a camera lens, and the challenge given from Mr. Tom Logsdon (also forthcoming).
It is difficult to adequately capture the ethos of the day with words. The service was well-attended, indeed, beyond our expectations. We had a total of 111 people in attendance from Bible Baptist, Fourth Baptist (our parent church), and other churches and friends of Bible Baptist Church. A choir comprised of members from Bible Baptist and Fourth Baptist provide a ministry of music. We worshipped the Lord with congregational singing. Mr. Tom Logsdon, from Continental Baptist Missions, gave a very good challenge from Colossians 1:3-11 for us to be a church that possesses inward faith, exhibits upward hope, has an outward focus, and lives fruitful lives. The first members of BBC signed the church charter. The newly formed congregation of Bible Baptist read our church covenant together. We closed the service by singing the Doxology. It was a fitting and beautiful way to close this service of praise to our great God.
What an incredible thought: where there previously was not a church, the Lord has raised one up! To God be the glory!
There was a central theme intentionally woven in throughout the service: covenanting. As such, we incorporated vows for me, as the new pastor, to publicly affirm as there were for the congregation. Below are the texts of each. These are sobering to accept, for a covenant is not to be taken lightly.
We ask for your prayers as we endeavor to proclaim the Word of life in the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. We have seen God’s hand of blessing on our ministry and commit ourselves to Him for a prosperous ministry that will bear fruit beyond what we ask or think for His glory!
(1) Do you reaffirm your faith in Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Savior?
(2) Do you believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, totally trustworthy and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that the New Testament is the church’s rule of faith and practice?
(3) Do you sincerely believe the Articles of Faith and Covenant of this church contain the truth taught in the Holy Scripture?
(4) Do you promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the statements in the Articles of Faith and Covenant you will on your own initiative make known to the church the change which has taken place in your views since your assumption of this vow?
(5) Do you subscribe to the government and discipline of Bible Baptist Church?
(6) Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart, to accept the office of pastor from love of God and sincere desire to promote His glory in the Gospel of His Son?
(7) Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in promoting the truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace of the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise to you on that account?
I do, with God’s help.
(8) Will you be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as pastor, whether personal or relative, private or public, and will you endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your manner of life, and to walk with exemplary piety before this congregation?
I will, by the grace of God.
(9) Are you now willing to take personal responsibility in the life of this congregation as a pastor to oversee the ministry of the church, and to devote yourself to prayer, the ministry of the Word and the shepherding of God’s flock, relying upon the grace of God, in such a way that Bible Baptist Church, and the entire Church of Jesus Christ will be blessed?
I am, with the help of God.
(1) Do you, the members of Bible Baptist Church, acknowledge and publicly receive this man as pastor, as a gift of Christ to this church? We do!
(2) Will you love him and pray for him in his ministry, and work together with him humbly and cheerfully, that by the grace of God you may accomplish the mission of the church, giving him all due honor and support in his leadership to which the Lord has called him, to the glory and honor of God? We will!