The vision of Keystone Bible Church is to be a God-centered, healthy community of faith.
The mission of Keystone Bible Church is to honor God by making and maturing disciples who are becoming like Jesus Christ.
Every member of Keystone Bible Church agrees to join the missional pursuit to be and make disciples, and every discipleship relationship with Jesus and His Church begins with understanding the central message of the Bible: that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Keystone Bible Church exists to proclaim that simple, but life-changing message locally, regionally, and globally.
The gospel is good news—the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)
1) God created us for his glory. (Isaiah 43:6–7)
He made human beings in His own image so that each person would image forth, or reflect, his character and moral beauty.
2) Therefore, every human should live for God’s glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31
The way to live for the glory of God is to love him (Matthew 22:37), trust him (Romans 4:20), be thankful to him (Psalm 50:23), obey him (Matthew 5:16), and treasure him above all things (Philippians 3:8; Matthew 10:37). When we do these things we image forth God’s glory.
3) Nevertheless, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him . . . and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (Romans 1:21–23). None of us has loved or trusted or thanked or obeyed or treasured God as we ought.
4) Therefore, we all deserve eternal punishment.
“The wages of sin is (eternal) death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Those who did not obey the Lord Jesus “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).
5) Yet, in his great mercy, God sent his only Son Jesus Christ into the world to provide for sinners the way of eternal life.
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
6) Therefore, eternal life is a free gift to all who will trust in Christ as Lord, Savior, and supreme treasure of their lives.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
All members of Keystone Bible church must be in full agreement with the following cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, as taught in the Scriptures:
We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the complete and final written record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. Different human authors, while writing according to their own styles and personalities, were supernaturally moved by the Holy Spirit to record God’s very words, inerrant in the original writings. Therefore, those applying themselves to study its literal, historical-grammatical context can accurately understand God’s Word. Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
The Triune God
We believe in the one living and true God, eternally existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and honor and obedience.
(Gen. 1:1–2; Deut. 6:4; 1 Chron. 16:23– 25; Matt. 3:16–17; Matt. 28:19–20; John 1:1– 18; John 17:3; Acts 5:3-4)
God the Father
We believe that God the Father is the first of three co-equal, eternally existing, divine persons of the Trinity. In this role and relationship, He has planned, directed, and is absolutely sovereign over all of creation and redemption, having decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass. God the Father is an invisible spirit, yet personal and relational. He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, purposes, and promises. He is perfect in knowledge, wisdom, truthfulness, faithfulness, goodness, love, holiness, justice, and wrath. Each of His attributes, in their perfection and fullness, are eternally true of His character and exist in complete and beautiful harmony with one another. As Father of His redeemed people, He has chosen from eternity past those whom He would call His own and, as a gift of His grace, sent His Son to save them from sin and death. All who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ are adopted as His children, making them fellow heirs with Christ and recipients of His fatherly love and discipline.
(Psalm 90:2; Genesis 1:1–31; Psalm 24:1; 103:19; Romans 11:36; Revelation 4:11; Isaiah 46:9–10; John 1:18; 4:24; 1 John 4:7–12; Psalm 102:25–27; Job 37:16; Romans 16:27; Isaiah 45:19; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 36:5; Psalm 100:5; 1 John 4:8; Romans 5:8; Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 6:3; Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 1:18; Isaiah 63:16; Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 1:3–6; Romans 3:24–25; John 1:12; Romans 8:15–17; Hebrews 12:5–9)
God the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh. Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the virgin Mary. He, being fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life and sacrificially shed His blood and died on the cross as a substitute for sinners accomplishing redemption for all who place their faith in Him. He arose visibly and bodily from the dead three days later, was seen by many witnesses over the course of several days, and then ascended into heaven. He is now seated at the Father’s right hand, as the Head of His Body, the Church, and is the only Savior and Mediator between God and man. He will one day return to earth in power and glory to judge sin and consummate His redemptive mission.
(Matthew 1:23–25; John 1:1, 14, 18; 3:16; 14:8-9; John 20:28; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Philippians 2:5–7; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5; 3:16; Hebrews 4:15)
God the Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the divine agent in nature, revelation, and redemption. In all that He does, the Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of sin, restrains evil, draws the unredeemed, and regenerates those to be able to repent of their sins and exercise faith in Christ. At salvation He imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and His Church. The Holy Spirit seals, fills, empowers, guides, teaches, comforts, equips, sanctifies, and permanently indwells all who become the children of God through repentance and faith. He also bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service.
(John 16:8-15; 13:1-15; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-7, 11- 13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 2:1-4)
We believe that God created mankind—male and female—in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship. Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, the first man, Adam, freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death, and condemnation to all mankind. All human beings, therefore, except for the virgin conceived God-man, Jesus Christ, are totally depraved by nature and by choice. Alienated from God without defense orexcuse, and subject to God’s righteous wrath, all of mankind is in desperate need of the Savior.
(Genesis 1:27-28; 3:1-6; Matthew 19:4–6; Romans 1:18, 32; 3:10-23; 6:23)
The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. God calls totally depraved sinners out of the world, unto Himself, and grants them this salvation in Christ purely on the basis of His unearned grace and sovereign good pleasure. Jesus’ death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, which fully satisfies God’s righteous wrath for each person who turns from sin in repentance and places personal faith in Christ alone by grace alone. At salvation, each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever.
We believe that salvation is made effectual in an individual’s life in a three-fold manner: 1) Positional Justification: Each believer is placed in a position of holiness, and freed from the penalty of sin, at the very moment that he repents of his sin, and trusts Jesus Christ as Savior, by faith. Justification is the judicial act of God whereby He pardons sin and declares the person to be righteous on the basis of the applied righteousness of Christ. 2) Progressive Sanctification: Each believer enters into a process of continued spiritual growth as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to his life and increasingly frees him from the power of sin. Genuine faith will continue in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end. 3) Ultimate Glorification: Each believer will be freed from the very presence of sin at death, when the soul is separated from the body, or at the return of the Lord. When Christ returns, both the living and the dead, found in Him, will receive glorified bodies that are untainted by sin.
(Isaiah 53:10; John 3:16; Acts 1:9–11; 2:38; Romans 7:24-25; 8:34-39; 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 15:3–8, 20; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:4-14; 2:8–10; Philippians 2:12; Hebrews 2:14)
We believe in the personality of Satan, that he is the unholy god of this age, the prince of all powers of darkness and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire.
(Ezekiel 28:13-17, Isaiah 14:12-15, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9-10; 19:11, 16, 20; 20:10)
We believe in the eternal security of the true believer in Jesus Christ. Since salvation is by grace, it is impossible for any believer to lose his salvation. We believe that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from the superficial professor; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
(Jeremiah 32:40, John 10:27-30, Romans 8:28, 35-39, Ephesians 1:13-14, 1 Peter 1:3- 5, 1 John 2:27-28)
We believe that upon placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, the believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. The Scriptures command believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples of all nations. Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, under the watchful care and authority of pastors, they form a local expression of the Church. A church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. Growing Christians use their God-given gifts primarily for the purpose of edifying the church, doing the work of the ministry, and obeying our Lord’s command to be and make disciples of all nations.
(Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2:42-46; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8; 14:26, Galatians 3:26–28; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19–22; 4:16; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 10:23– 25; 1 Peter 4:10; 5:1-5)
Things to Come
We believe in and expectantly await the imminent, glorious, visible, personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed hope of His return has a vital bearing on the personal life, service, and mission of the believer. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The saved will be raised to eternal joy in the new heaven and new earth in the manifested presence of God. The lost will be raised to judgment and experience eternal wrath in hell.
(Matthew 16:27; Acts 1:3, 9, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 54–55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 7:25-26; Revelation 20:11–15; 21:1–9)
Practical issues that we have chosen to take positions of conviction on in areas where we believe Scripture gives clear instruction. For the sake of unity, all members of Keystone Bible Church must be in full agreement with the following:
Marriage and Sexuality
We believe that marriage is created by God to be shared between one biological man and one biological woman, in a lifelong holy covenant, for the purpose of companionship, sexual intimacy, and procreation. Our created gender, sexuality, and sexual fulfillment are gifts from the Creator and are to be embraced with gratitude and worship. God designed sexual intimacy to be expressed and consummated only between a man and a woman when they are united as one flesh in marriage.
(Genesis 1:27–28, 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6)
We believe that not all persons are called to be married. Singleness is a dignified calling of value and worth that provides its own unique ways to serve and advance the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 7:6-8, 25-40)
Men and women are created in the image of God and stand equal in dignity and worth. God designed gender, recognized through our biological sex, as an immutable reality essential to our identity as male and female. While the fall distorts God’s design for men and women, Jesus makes men and women fellow heirs of God’s eternal grace who differ in complementary and mutually beneficial ways. We affirm the significant role women should play in the local church and that every leadership opportunity is open to women except those excluded by Scripture in the home and church. Specifically, the Scriptures state that husbands are called to lead and love in the home as Christ loves the church and that a plurality of men are to serve the church as Elders.
(Genesis 1:27; 3:16-19; 9:6; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Peter 3:7)
Baptism and Communion
We believe that Christian baptism is a public declaration of the believer’s salvation in Christ, identifying with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection symbolized by immersion in water. The Lord’s Supper is the united commemoration by believers of Christ’s death until He comes and should be preceded by a careful self-examination of relationship with and commitment to the body of Christ.
(Matthew 3:13-17; 28:18–20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 16:33; 22:16; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29)
We believe that missions is first and foremost the activity of God Himself, who sent Jesus to reconcile all things to Himself, because of the Genesis 3 problem of sin. The overarching mission of God then, is to redeem and reconcile those created in His image and to use the activity of His church to carry out the task of missions throughout the world, which is specifically to spread the gospel, make disciples, and plant churches. As a result, we believe that it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church to glorify God by responding to the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ by going and participating in God’smission to make disciples of all the nations. We also believe that the primary focus and priority of this call should be centered on efforts that establish and strengthen new, indigenous, reproducing local expressions of God’s Church locally, regionally, nationally, and globally, and that these church plants will then, in turn, plant more churches that plant more churches for future generations and God’s glory.
(Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3; Exodus 19:3-6; Isaiah 49:5-6; Psalm 67; Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Revelation 5:9)
Specifically in relation to global missions, we seek to display the glory of God by proclaiming the gospel to all peoples and by establishing churches in every nation filled with disciples who by His grace obey and worship God now and forever. Our Gospel Partners are global missionaries identified and sent out by Keystone Bible Church to make the gospel known and to plant, serve, and strengthen local churches across ethnic, linguistic, or geographic divides. It is our joy to support biblically faithful, methodologically patient, gospel- proclaiming, church-loving missionaries, who share our passion to see more gospel transformed individuals in biblical churches who will ultimately join the heavenly multitude praising the Lamb of God forever.
(Isaiah 56:1-8; Matthew 16:18; Acts 11:19-26; 16:1-3; Romans 8:1-11; 10:14-15; 15:7- 13; 1 Corinthians 3:4-17; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Ephesians 3:8-11; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 10:19-25; 3 John 1-8; Revelation 2-3; 7:9-10)
We believe that Civil Government is of Divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that governing officials are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
(Exodus 18:23; Deuteronomy 16:18; 2 Samuel 23:3; Psalm 2:1-12; 72:11; Daniel 3:15- 18; 6:7-10; Jeremiah 30:21; Matthew 22:21; 23:10; 28:1-20; Acts 4:18-20; 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; 14:4, :9-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13; Revelation 19:16)
The bride of Christ is not, nor has ever been perfectly faithful. She has been shamefully complicit in society’s sin and has thereby harmed people, her witness, and the name of Jesus.
For this reason we commit to the biblical practice of Church Discipline. The informal process of church discipline happens any time a believer confronts another believer about his or her sin and encourages repentance. The formal process of church discipline typically begins when the individual in sin is unwilling to repent over an extended period of time. Thus, most formal church discipline is not as much about the sin as it is about the hard-hearted unwillingness to repent of sin. The process of church discipline concludes when the believer either repents or is formally removed from the membership, by means of congregational vote, to no longer be recognized as a follower of Christ. Additionally, those who intentionally stir up divisions in the church should be disciplined with greater swiftness.
The leaders of the church are not exempt from this process. For this reason, we emphasize plurality and team oversight at every level of our organization. Leaders of the church are to be disciplined with an even greater swiftness and publicity, as sin in leadership severely harms the local church.
(Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1, Acts 20:28; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1–7; 2 Corinthians 2:5-8; Ephesians 5:25-27)
Biblical Unity in Diversity
Within the framework of sound doctrine, we value an atmosphere of theological freedom with humility and a non-divisive spirit. We want to reflect the unified beauty of Father, Son, and Spirit, participating in the building of the multi- faceted Kingdom of our triune God. In our theological systems, our ministry forms, and our personal relationships we are committed to biblical unity in diversity. We pray that we will…
● Live in pleasant unity with one another. (Psalm 133:1, Ephesians 4:1-3)
● Never tire of meeting together and that we will make it a priority to spur each other on in our faith. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
● Never forget that we belong to one another and we form one body. (Romans 12:4-5)
● Be of the same mind in Christ and that we will be committed to serving without divisions in our body. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
● Have the mind of Christ, showing sympathy and love for one another, and living humbly with tender hearts. (1 Peter 3:8)
● Be a diverse body of believers that serves as equals in Christ. (Romans 12:16)
Secondary issues that should not divide us. Our church family should have unified expectation of hearing the following perspectives taught at Keystone, even though individuals within our leadership and membership may have differing viewpoints on these topics. These distinctives will characterize our public teaching.
End Time Events
We teach the blessed hope of the imminent return of Christ to gather up His Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53), followed by a period of time called the Great Tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27; 12:1b; Matthew 24:21, Mark 13:19, Revelation 7:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 13-19), after which Christ will return with His saints to this earth where He will sit on the throne of David, and will subdue all enemies and reign in righteousness for a one thousand year millennial kingdom (Daniel 12:11-12; Revelation 19:11-20:7). We teach that after this will come the Judgment of the Great White Throne when the wicked dead will be raised and condemned to eternal punishment in a literal hell called the lake of fire which is the second death (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15). The righteous saved will then enjoy eternal glory with God in His presence. (2 Peter 3:7-13; Revelation 21:1-22:5)
As a point of clarity, while we believe our position regarding end times eschatology to be a secondary issue, we do not believe that Jesus has already returned.
Cessation of Sign Gifts
We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given to the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message (Hebrews 2:3- 4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture is to be the test of the authenticity of a man’s message, rather than gifts.
Furthermore, miraculous gifts can be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14). As a result, we teach that the only gifts in regular operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification. (Romans 12:6-8)
We also teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today, but that God does hear the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted.
As a point of clarity, while we believe the complete cessation of all use of the miraculous sign gifts to be a secondary issue, we do not believe that the gift of tongues (or any other individual spiritual gift) is required as an evidence of salvation, and we believe that any claimed use of such gifts must be regulated by the clear biblical requirements.
(Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15)
Creation of the Universe
We teach that the Genesis account of the universe being created by God out of nothing is neither allegory nor myth, but was a literal, historical event. The existence of all things is the result of the direct, immediate, creative acts of the triune God completed over the course of six literal days. Humanity was created by the direct work of God, in His own image. Humans did not evolve from previously existing forms of life. The entire human race descended from the historical Adam and Eve, who were the first parents of the entire human race.
As a point of clarity, while we believe “the age of the earth” to be an open-handed issue, we do not believe in theistic or Darwinian naturalistic evolution.
(Genesis 1–2; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16–17)
-Church Government Polity
Keystone Bible Church is an independent, non-denominational church, that closely mirrors Historic Baptist faith and practice. We are not an official part of any denominational organization or ecclesiastical conference that would subject us to any outside authority. We are Jesus-ruled, Word-submitted, Elder-led, Deacon-served, Multi-congregationally governed.
We gather as one church, that meets in multiple locations. As one church, we’re united in doctrine, in teaching, in core values, and in mission. But we allow for a diverse expression of those identities to form within each of the Keystone Congregations.
There is no greater authority in the local church than Jesus Christ. He is the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23) and the Chief Shepherd over us (1 Peter 5:4). Therefore, Jesus rules the Church, and what He commands is what we are called to obey as a Church.
We look to God’s Word alone as the singular uniting authority for all matters of doctrine, teaching, vision, mission, and core values. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
Under the rule of Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, God appoints under-shepherds to give spiritual oversight to the local church. These Elders are entrusted with knowing, leading, feeding, and protecting the church (1 Peter 5:1-5). The qualifications for men to serve as Elders are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. We believe that God will hold the Elders accountable for the soul- care of the members.
According to the New Testament deacons are to be servants (Acts 6). The actual word “deacon” means servant, and they are chosen to shoulder the many practical needs of the church family, as chief servant-leaders, so that the Elders can effectively devote themselves to leading the church through prayer and the ministry of the Word. They are assigned individual tasks by the Elders based on the needs represented within the congregation. The qualifications to serve as Deacons are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
Keystone Bible Church functions as one church, gathering in multiple locations, under one shared Eldership, with one combined membership. Members are those people at Keystone who have been saved by Christ, baptized in obedience, and covenanted with us to be and make disciples. Elders are voted into office by the members and are given the freedom to make many decisions in regard to the leadership of the church. However, members vote directly on the following:
All Keystone Members from all congregations vote on: New Senior Lead Pastor, New Campus Lead Pastor, Gospel partnerships, Non- budgeted all-church savings account expenditures, New church planting or revitalization initiatives. Centralized budget.
Keystone Members from each respective congregation will vote locally on: Local elders, local deacons, adding or removing members, discipline, local budget.
Jesus-ruled, Word-submitted, Elder-led, Deacon-served, Multi-congregationalism harmonizes the various and distinct responsibilities given to both church members and to elders in the New Testament. Church members believe and study the gospel, take responsibility for one another, and share the gospel far and wide. Deacons lead by serving and shouldering a wide variety of ministry tasks. Elders know, feed, lead, and protect the flock both by instruction and by example, in public and private, as they equip the flock for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16, 1 Peter 5:1-5). Together, Elders, Deacons, and Members bear responsibility for the health and unity of the church, and everyone enjoys the blessings of such things.
-Regenerate Church Membership
We believe that the Word of God creates the people of God. Moreover, if the Word-through the testimony of the prophets and the apostles (Ephesians 2:20) is our foundation, then church membership is the cement that holds us all together. The Scriptures harmoniously point us toward church membership and its purposes to encourage, protect, and instruct us.
Here are six “church membership sightings” in the New Testament early church:
- There was a known number of members in the group. (Acts 2:47; 5:12-13)
- Leadership selection was from the known group of members. (Acts 6:3)
- Membership transfer letters were sent. (Acts 18; 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2Corinthians 3:1)
- Pastors were required to guard and care for members. (Acts 20:28; Hebrews13:17)
- Churches were to provide care for their own members (1 Timothy 5:9-12).
- Unrepentant sinning church members were to be removed from the group.(Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-7)
Keystone Membership Commitments:
- Doctrinal and Philosophical Agreement: It is only reasonable that every member be expected to be in harmonious agreement with the major doctrines held and taught by Keystone Bible Church. Our Statement of Faith clarifies the areas that require unanimous agreement and those areas where we can embrace unity in spite of charitable disagreement. Because doctrine must be lived out in life, our practice must be shaped by and should reflect what we say we believe both corporately in our worship and individually in our walk. For this reason, it is important that every member clearly understand and be in agreement with our vision and mission statements as well as our philosophy of ministry as we partner together to fulfill the mission.
- Faithful Attendance and Active Participation: A healthy church is one in which the members are faithful and active in their attendance and participation each time the church gathers. Members should strive to faithfully attend our weekly gatherings for worship and discipleship.
- Biblical Stewardship of Resources: God has chosen to supply the financial needs for Keystone Bible Church through the joyful, voluntary, sacrificial, regular giving of its members. When we give our finances, it is in response to the amazing gift of God and our giving is an expression of thankfulness and worship to Him, as the only One worthy—the God of grace. Members should purpose to be “cheerful givers” (2 Corinthians 9:7) who are “generous and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18)
- Joyful Submission: As New Testament believers, our members are to model Biblical submission in the context of the local church. We submit to God (James 4:7), to one another (Ephesians 5:21), and to our leaders who have been called and appointed to the task of Elder, (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5). Jesus Christ delegates His own authority in the local church through the Elders (2 Timothy 1:13; Hebrews 13:7, 17). As such, He has established His Church as the highest authority, under Him, in our lives here on earth (1 Corinthians 6:1-2, Matthew 18). As result, in as much as a particular local expression of His Church functions in a healthy, Biblical way, that church’s members are called to submit to Him by submitting to it.
- Peaceful Conflict Resolution: All churches and their members face conflict at some point. The measure of a church’s health is by no means the absence of conflict but the manner in which its members handle that conflict peacefully as they submit to God’s plan for conflict resolution. We seek peace (Romans 14:19, James 3:18) and should not be contentious, self-seeking, argumentative, unteachable, stubborn, or unbending. We commit to deal with problems God’s way by forgiving (Ephesians 4:32) and pursuing reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Matthew 5:23-24)
- Spirit-motivated, Willing Service: Our members invest their time and use their Spirit-given, grace-gifts in service to God in some area of ministry. God has equipped every believer with the ability to responsibly employ gifts for the benefit and common good of the church. (1 Peter 4:8-11, 1 Corinthians 12:8)
- Missional Scattering: Our members gather faithfully and intentionally for worship and discipleship, but they also scatter intentionally to share the gospel with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) and to make and mature more disciples of Jesus . Because Christians have received and believe the gospel, they are missional ambassadors for Christ throughout the world. (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Christlike Testimony: Our members strive to be good testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ and of Keystone Bible Church. Jesus instructed His disciples to live in such a way that when others saw their good deeds they would glorify the Father who is in Heaven (Matthew 5:16). Our desire as a congregation is to live authentic, loving, obedient lives so that we can represent the Lord Jesus Christ accurately and attractively to a watching world. This means that we must be committed to living pure lives in the midst of an impure world (Philippians 2:15). It means that we must do all we can to model righteousness both morally and ethically in every relationship both in our homes and neighborhoods, at work, and throughout the community. It means that we must strive to guard our testimonies in such as way that we do not give unbelievers occasion to mock our faith and our claim to be followersof Jesus. We must do all we can with the Spirit’s help and guidance to avoid letting our good be evil spoken of by unbelievers. (Romans 14:16)
Keystone Membership Responsibilities:
- Worship in Services: We gather for unashamed worship of God, believing that He deserves our highest praise and that we need His transforming truth. Members must faithfully attend the weekly Lord’s Day gathering (Hebrews 10:24-25) to worship God through preaching, songs, ordinances, prayers, financial gifts, service, and fellowship. Regular attendance is fundamental to church membership and provides the context and foundation for fulfilling all other obligations.
- Live in Groups: Few things are more vital to spiritual growth than regular and intentional community with God’s people, around God’s Word. This is how we hold one another accountable to be and make disciples (Matthew 28:18- 20; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 3:12-17) and to fulfil the basic “one-another” commands of Scripture in each other’s lives. Consumer Christianity absent of life-on-life discipling relationships is a contradiction in terms. As a result, every church member is not only able but also responsible to help at least one other person follow Jesus.
- Grow in Studies: This is how we preserve the gospel (Matthew 16:13-19, 18:15- 20). Every church member is responsible to know the gospel and to know what it requires in the life of the individual Christian and in the life of the local church.
- Serve on Teams: When God saved us He commissioned us to engage in the greatest of all causes, namely, to glorify Him by making and maturing disciples of Jesus. And with that commission came Spirit-empowered grace- gifts to serve the church and reach the lost (1 Corinthians 12).
- Participate in Family Meetings: Elders are voted into office by the members and are given the freedom to make many decisions in regard to the leadership of the church. However, members vote directly on the following: The annual budget and any large purchases; The election of new Elders and Deacons; The hiring of a new Lead Pastor; Affirmation of new members; The final step of church discipline. These decisions cannot be made by proxy, nor can they be made in isolation (1 Corinthians 5:4-5, 2 Corinthians 2:5-8).