Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Christ Fellowship Bible Church leadership seeks to answer some of the common questions that folks have asked us.  (www.CFBCSTL.org)

This is part 2. It is continued from part 1. 

6. What ministries do you have?   —  When people often ask what ministries we offer, it can often refer to what we as a church have to cater to their desires and age groups? At CFBC, we believe that the greatest ministries that we must have, biblically, are the regular preaching of the Word of God, the diligent praying with the saints of God, and the faithful shepherding by Godly leaders. We seek to define ministries not in terms of ‘programs we offer’ but in terms of ‘people to serve.’ In other words, rather than offering a ministry for the divorced, a senior-saints’ ministry, a youth ministry, a children’s ministry, a women’s ministry and the like, we endeavor to reframe the conversation around people within the flock that we can actively and intentionally serve. We are called to minister to “one another” (Gal 5:13). With all that said, we do have men’s and women’s Bible studies during the week. We do have occasions where the older women disciple and teach the younger women in biblical womanhood. On Sundays, we have Bible studies for our youth and a catechism class for our children. When someone thinks about a ministry to plug into, we encourage them to actively think about who they can serve in the church family. And in doing this, ministry happens and the flock is edified.

7. Why do you most-often pick hymns to sing and not Christian radio favorites?  —  We view the singing portion of the worship service as a very important occasion to worship God and reflect on who God is, remind each other of what we believe, praise Christ for what He’s done, call the saints to worship God, and affirm with the believers that we will strive to walk in holiness.  We choose songs because of their content not because of their style or when they were written. Most often, we do choose the hymns of the faith because of their rich and theological content. Some hymns are quite old and some have been more recently written. We also choose songs to sing because of the lofty and majestic nature of the music that aids the congregation in singing together. The hymns that are chosen often will specifically connect with the theme of the text that will be preached that day. Or, at other times, the songs will be selected to work to progressively work through a theme (for instance, the character of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the glory and beauty of Christ). We encourage our congregation to sing loudly, to sing together, to sing heartfully, and to sing joyfully. Singing praise to God, after all, will comprise one of the blessed activities that we’ll do in heaven. So we endeavor to choose God-glorifying and gospel-saturated songs here to wet our appetite for eternal glory with the Lamb!

8. Why do you usually only have one musician and one vocalist leading as they stand off to the side?  —  We often have a very simple setup in terms of musicians aiding in the music portion of our worship services. Often we will have a musician, or two, and then a vocalist, or two. And at that, they are situated up front and off to the side (on the opposite side of the screen where the words are displayed). The reason for this is because we want the music to serve and support the theology and we want the musicians to be fade in the background so the focus rests more on the content of what is being sung rather than the skillfulness of those up front. We do encourage our singers and musicians to play and sing with excellence and to lead in a way that does not draw attention to themselves. But we strive to have the music played in such a way so as to serve the words of the songs so that the focus centers on the theology and doctrine that is being sung and not on the talent of those playing those songs. And for us, this is one way that we’ve found helpful in serving the church family during the music time.

9. Why do you have a mid-week prayer meeting and encourage the body to attend?   —  The powerhouse of the local church is the prayer life of the local church family. We firmly believe that we could employ all kinds of ministry tactics and clever outreaches but if the Spirit of God does not attend His Word with Almighty power, it is all useless.  We preach the Word powerfully and we strive to pray the Word fervently. The mid-week prayer meeting revolves around two important elements. First, we gather and sit under the preaching of the Word of God (though it’s a shorter exposition). And second, we respond to God’s Word that has just been preached in corporate prayer.  Often our corporate prayer times include a few ’seasons’ of prayer. We will pray out loud, corporately, together, and praise God and reflect on His gospel. We will confess our sins.  We will pray specifically for the church congregation (members, ministries, outreaches, events). We pray for the missionaries and other local churches in the area. We also pray for our families and various needs in the congregation. This teaches the congregation how to pray. It serves to model for the children how to pray and why prayer is important. It shows the congregation that communing with God is a two-way conversation. We hear from God (through His written Word) and then we respond to God (in prayer). 

10. Why do you encourage and support street preaching?   —   We believe the Bible is true when it says that the “gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes — to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Rom 1:16). Rather than expecting lost sinners to all funnel into our church on a Sunday, out of great love for God, and out of great love for our neighbor, we seek to go out to the lost and seek to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to them and call them to turn from their sinful ways and trust in Jesus Christ alone to be saved from God’s eternal wrath. Street preaching is simply one way of getting the gospel to the masses. Preaching on the streets, in the open air, requires a confident and an unwavering conviction in the sovereignty of God to save His elect. So we go because God has His people! This gives us confidence and joy in our zealous pursuit of the lost! Far from driving sinners away from God, they are already dead in their sins and enemies of God and headed for wrath, we can’t drive them further away by bold proclamation of the gospel; rather, we summon them to obey God’s call that “He is summoning all men to repent” (Acts 17:30). The Old Testament prophets were street preachers.  John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the early Apostles were street preachers. It’s one way to take the gospel to the public ‘highways and hedges’ and compel sinners to come in (Luke 14:23). All of this flows from a deep love for God and for His glory, and out of a great love for our neighbors and for their undying souls. So we go, we go out, we go fervently, we go boldly and proclaim the biblical gospel and summon all sinners to repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).

More questions and answers to come in the future.

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