VISION AND VALUES
We are not who we desire to be. We are an established church that looks pretty much like any other church. Our vision, though, is to become a church that reaches and engages the families that live in Anderson Township. We want to be a picture here on Earth of what Heaven will be like. What this means to us is that we will be multi-generational and multi-cultural. The model we are trying to follow is called “Simple Church.” It encourages churches to strive to perform with quality the ministries they do, but not try to do or be everything for everybody. It allows flexibility for serving God. We aren’t there just yet, but the goal is for each member of the church to be free and encouraged to minister from their own gifts and talents as God leads them.
Our ministry plan will look a lot like an apprenticeship program. The apprentice is the one who is just coming to know God and learning about Him. As he grows, he moves into a journeyman roll where he is putting what he has learned into practice. As he gains maturity and proficiency, he becomes the master and starts the process over in someone else by showing them God and teaching them how to follow Jesus.
To KNOW God intimately
We use worship times to achieve this goal. It is our hope that through each other, worship, the Word, prayer and serving that we would find ourselves in the presence of our Father, the presence of God. We use fairly traditional elements of worship currently because that is the talent pool we have, but we are open to expanding the means we use to encounter God.
Our worship gatherings are primarily geared to believers because that is who we are currently, but we do try to provide a relevant application to non-believers as well. Singing and prayer will help to usher us into the presence of God while the preaching is drawn from God’s Word and made relevant, useful, and alive to the normal person. It is our hope that we would truly encounter God. That His name would be made great and that we wouldn’t be the same people we were before we came.
To GROW with God continuously
We are a group that is searching for more to life. For many of us, this is the search for hope, love and wholeness. For believers, this is the desire to go beyond surface level Christianity and into a deeper walk with Christ through discipleship. Regardless of where you are in the search, we believe that more can only truly be found in the deep and unconditional embrace of God.
To achieve the desired depth of discipleship, we use Bible study for all ages. Each Sunday morning there is a time for age appropriate study of God’s word. We also employ Life Groups which meet at other times during the week and usually at other locations. The Life Groups have a different dynamic. One of the groups is for the women of the church, W.O.W. (Women Of the Word). They meet monthly for a lunch and weekly when they are doing a study. Other life groups have been open to anyone that wanted to participate and meet at a frequency decided upon by that group.
Sunday evening is a more casual study where we are trying to get back to what the Bible teaches rather than just relying on the Sunday school stories from our early days. It is often marked by lively discussions and the realization that we don’t have all the answers and that we can admit we don’t know all the answers.
We use special events like Vacation Bible School to teach the children that God loves them and He’s not out to get them. Every week we have lessons prepared for them on a level they can connect with.
To SHOW God to others faithfully
Our desire is to be a people that would give hope and compassion to the sick, broken & hurting. 1st Baptist is a family where one can be transparent and know that regardless of who there are or where they've been, they are welcome here. We are all broken people; that is why we need God, that is what gives us our purpose and meaning.
We use many vehicles to show God’s love to the people we encounter in our lives. Service projects for the community, like working at the local school in mentor programs and beautification projects, to donating food to a local food pantry, providing limited help for gasoline and medicine, or whatever may arise. A couple of annual events are handing out cold bottled water during the township’s July 4th celebration and offering a free community egg-stravaganza at Easter.
We have recently begun a monthly meal for the community in partnership with three other congregations and a re-focusing of our service activities called the “One Thing.” The name came from the movie, City Slickers, where the lead character is seeking the meaning of life. He is told by the sage cattle boss that the secret is one thing… which is different for everyone, he says. We believe the one thing is the same for everybody – loving God with your all and your neighbor as yourself. Each month we will focus on one thing, one ministry, for those God brings into our lives.
Each month we will have “One Thing” that we focus on as a way to show God’s love to others. Some months will have an additional event over and above the regular monthly lunch.
– A message from First Baptist Church of Anderson Hills