When we consider the “mission” of Bethany Baptist Church, we believe the question that is truly being asked is, ““What is the specific task or purpose that the church is sent into the world to accomplish?” The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives us a start: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Since this is the chief end of an individual, the church’s mission should be to facilitate this for believers and reach out to those who do not know the saving grace of God so that they can fulfill their true purpose. God’s Word instructs us how to do this.
The Great Commission
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) is a commandment not only to the original apostles, but to all Christ-followers. There are four verbs in the Commission that we believe the universal church should be actively doing: Going; Making Disciples; Baptizing; and Teaching.
Bethany believes in sending and supporting missionaries in the work of going to the very ends of the earth so that all might hear the good news of the gospel. Scripture indicates that this message of grace started in Jerusalem and will one day reach the entire world. Since that hasn’t happened yet, it is every believer’s responsibility to be involved in spreading the good news of the pivotal moment in history – Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection.
Conversion is never the end of the story. The disciple-making process is not a single act, but is a long-term relationship built on trust, accountability and love. The picture is of an apprenticeship, where the more mature believer comes alongside the new believer to teach, admonish and encourage. The work of sanctification is never accomplished through human effort, but God calls us to live life together and to sharpen each other “as iron sharpens iron.”
While baptism does not save a person, it is an outward expression of an inward transformation and more importantly, an act of obedience to our Lord. Our goal is to see new believers take this step as soon as is practical.
It is imperative to continue to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Knowledge itself cannot save a life, but even as our Lord grew in wisdom, we should also learn more of God and His character throughout our sojourn on Earth. In no small part, this is so that we can engage in the disciple-making process more effectively.
Other Purposes of the Church
The early church, as described in Acts chapters 1-3, is a model for how the church should function even today. Specific purposes listed in Acts chapter 2 are devotion to the apostles’ teaching (studying the Bible), fellowship, the breaking of bread (Communion), prayers and praising God (worship).
Carrying Out the Mission
The leadership and members of BBC critically and prayerfully examine each ministry opportunity to ensure that what we are doing and supporting is guided by all of these Biblical principles.