Rules have a negative connotation. They are restrictive and rigid. Even though they come across that way they are necessary for every family and organization. The rules keep people on track. They can be a safety net and guide to church as well. While we can’t list all that we feel God would have us to do, we have made a general list of principles that are useful in guiding the leaders of our church. These principles are good and useful not just for the church but every day living. This list in not meant to be exhaustive. A person or family could print this list out and add to it as scriptures and the Spirit of God lead. The list below is a list developed to guide the leaders of this church in the decisions they make that affect the church.
I have written articles over the past 8 months that have dealt with our highest good (to glorify God), our one way we aim to glorify God (making disciples of the world), and the goals we have set in order to do that (outreach, worship, fellowship, training, and ministry). Now I am going to address the biblical principles that we must consider as a church and as church leaders.
1. Pure doctrine (Titus 2:7, 8, Acts 2:42). The early church gathered regularly in homes, synagogues, and other venues. The gatherings were marked by a common doctrine or set of teachings. They focused on the teachings given to them by the Apostles. They were encouraged to maintain that truth.
2. Relational integrity with God, Family, church family, neighbors, and friends. (Mark 12:29-31). This passage as well as other teach us to maintain a right relationship with both God and man.
3. Biblical unity of the church and its mission (Phil. 3:13-17). Paul had a single focus in carrying out God’s mission. He was fixated on doing one thing: living for the gospel. Reaching forward and straining for what God wanted in and through him. Churches need to stay focused on the one thing, carrying out God’s mission on earth.
4. Servant leadership (2Tim. 2:2, Eph. 4:11-13). The leaders of the church are tasked with serving others and equipping them to continue to process of teaching others through service. The singular task of the Pastor is the edification of the saints so that they can do the work of the ministry. Stated another way, the leaders of the church are to equip the people of the church to do ministry. This requires servanthood.
5. Church centered – the local church is the primary center for unified activity. This is not a place but a local gathering. (1Tim. 3:15). This passage calls the church the pillar and ground of the faith. This is not to take away from the family. The church is the gathering place for believing families and is the primary organization of households for preaching and teaching the truth of God.
6. Family focus – teaching families to grow together (Ephesians 6:1-4). The primary building block for the church is the family. The healthier the families, the healthier the church. We need to help each person know and apply the Word of God. We minister to the children as well as the adults. Some churches it seems, have developed their churches with very little focus on the families and children. Ministry is important for all ages.
7. Striving for excellence – We must strive to do our best for God as an act of worship (Col. 3:23). Perfection and excellence does not guarantee true worship, but genuinely giving an offering of your time, talents, and resources can. When a person offers the best of what they have and who they are to God it can truly be an act of worship.
8. Biblical separation – in order to live a clean and pure life and have a clean and pure church (Romans 16:17). Doctrinal purity is very important to the church of God. Even to the extent that it is admonished to mark those who are teaching and living in error and to avoid them.
9. Indigenous – we must be sensitive to the culture in which we live. This should not lead to any kind of spiritual compromise (1Cor. 9:19-22). Churches should look, sound, and act like the people of a particular region. Not to a sinful degree, but to the degree that the church reflects the culture and customs of their community.
10. Financial integrity (2Cor. 8:20-21). All handling of church and personal finances should be done in honesty. Every employee, officer, leader, and member of the church should maintain a high degree of integrity in their use of money.
11. Christlike compassion (1Peter 3:8). We must allow our Christ-like compassion to motivate our ministry to others.
12. Heart focused (Matthew 23:23, Luke 6:45). Our service must flow from a heart of sincere love and obedience to God.