STATEMENT OF FAITH

We believe God has revealed Himself as one God existing eternally in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; distinguishable yet indivisible. (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary and is the Savior of humanity. (Luke 1:26-35; John 1:18; Isaiah 7:14, 9:6)

We believe God created humanity in his image free from sin but humans rebelled through Adam’s sin and are born spiritually dead, with a sin nature and eternally separated from God. (Romans 5:12,18)

We believe Jesus Christ died on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all people. He was buried and then resurrected on the third day appearing to his disciples. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 4:25)

We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace through repentance and faith in the perfect and sufficient work of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected, by which forgiveness of sins is granted. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 9:12,22; Romans 5:11)

We believe Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, His exaltation as Heavenly High Priest and His personal, literal and bodily coming to earth again a second time to establish His Kingdom’s reign. (John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Hebrews 4:14)

We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, His convicting and regenerating work, and abiding presence in the true believer. The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers and He has been sent to be the Comforter and Empowerer of the Christian church, to enable believers to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit and to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to the scriptures. (John 16:13, Ephesians 4:7, Romans 12:6, Galatians 5:22)

We believe that all Christians are called to a life of godly character, devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and service to Him. (Ephesians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 7:1)

We believe that the universal church is a company of the called-out ones, it is the body of Christ where all believers join together to pursue the work of the ministry of Jesus Christ with Him as the Head. We believe that the local church is an autonomous group of believers who join their lives together by a covenant. The local church is governed by the scriptures and operates under the Lordship of Christ with Pastor-Elders leading the people toward faithfulness in Christ. The office of the Pastor-Elder is limited to men as qualified by the scriptures. (Ephesians 1:22-23) 

We believe in water baptism by immersion as a confession by the believer in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and an expression of faith and obedience to His command. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:37-41, 19:1-6)

We believe in the breaking of bread commonly called communion or the Lord’s Supper where bread and the cup are the symbols of celebration and remembering Jesus’ sacrifice. (1Corinthians 11:28-32)

We believe in Eternal Life for the believer and Eternal Punishment for the unbeliever who has rejected the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as Savior. (John 5:24, 3:16; Mark 9:43-50; 2 Thessalonians 1:9)

 

CHURCH GOVERNANCE

Jesus Christ is the Head of His church which includes this local church.  Pastor-Elders in a local church are the highest form of human government. Pastor-Elders lead this church in submission to Him and each other.

ELDERS

Southlands church is not a democracy but led by men appointed and recognized with the gift of and grace for leadership. (Eph. 4:1-3Heb. 13:7, 17).

Scripture uses three words interchangeably to refer to function of one and the same person:

  1. “Presbuteros” – Elder (executes God’s justice, government and administrates the affairs of the church.
  2. “Episcopos” – Overseer or bishop (oversees, a guardian, gatekeeper or watchman).
  3. “Poimain” – Shepherd or pastor (shepherd the flock, nurture and care for the flock, feed the flock).

(See Acts 20:17, 28Titus 1:5,71 Peter 2:25, 5:1-2)

Elders oversee every aspect of church life, are mutually accountable and are led by a visionary or lead elder.  We place a high value on the team dynamics of our leadership.

DEACONS

This is the only other office mentioned in the scriptures in the local church.  The Greek word for deacon is “diakonis” and means “servant, and who ministers alongside, ‘helper.”’  This does not mean that deacons do menial jobs, rather that deacons come alongside the elders, assisting them in the pastoring of the church, releasing them “to prayer and ministry of the Word.” (Acts 6:1-8)  Our deacons, together with and under the oversight of elders, exercise oversight in home groups and other care groups.

ACCOUNTABILITY

As an eldership team we hold a value of plurality and consensus on decisions of doctrine, direction and discipline. We also believe that every team has a leader, with Alan Frow taking the role of lead pastor, but this is done as a ‘first among equals’ rather than as a senior pastor with associate pastors.

We believe in the autonomy of the local church, in which the elders are the highest governing authority in that church, but we do not believe it is healthy or wise for a church to be independent. As a team we actively seek accountability and counsel from men with whom we have relationship and in whom we recognize an Ephesians 4 gifting of either apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher or evangelist.

Our primary accountability and counsel comes through our relationship with the Advance Church Planting Network which can be found at www.advancemovement.com.  Advance is a global movement of churches partnering together to advance the Gospel through planting and strengthening churches.  In close relationship with these churches and their leaders; we seek guidance, wisdom and to provide the necessary stability, strength and accountability intrinsic to a healthy local church.