DOCUMENT 2: Guiding Principles
Section 1: Mission Statement
Our Mission: Southern Hills Baptist Church exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ, by the grace of God for the glory of God..
We are partners in God’s purpose to create disciples through redeeming the lost and transforming the saved. Every decision we make and every effort we undertake must be focused on obeying the Great Commission. Every ministry we have must be judged by its effectiveness in making disciples.
- We believe that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) expresses the heart of God to make disciples by redeeming the lost and transforming the saved to become like Jesus Christ.
- We recognize that God has assigned the task of making disciples to the local church, and as such is our primary reason for existence.
- We understand that we depend completely on the presence and power of God who is with us to accomplish any eternally significant work. We rely on the promise of Matthew 28:20 that Jesus will be with us to accomplish the tasks that lay before us.
- We define “making disciples” as the process of leading sinners to follow Jesus. We must proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and teach those who are saved to walk in obedience to Christ in everything.
Section 2: The Church’s Biblical Mandates
We believe that God has assigned certain tasks to the church, which are essential for our obedience to the Great Commission. They are based primarily on Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8, and Acts 2:42-47.
First Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by evangelizing Siouxland.
- Matthew 28:19 says that we make disciples by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:8 says “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem.”
- From these scriptures, we recognize that God has commanded us to spread the gospel in a systematic way throughout our entire region, calling sinners to repent and believe.
- The gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:3. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again as Lord of all. We must call all people everywhere to repent of their sins and trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- We accept the mandate to develop an effective and comprehensive plan to bring the gospel to all of Siouxland!
Second Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by teaching its people the full counsel of God’s Word.
- Matthew 28:20 says, “…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” In Acts 2:42, we are told that the Jerusalem church “…devoted themselves to the Apostle’s teaching.” Those teachings formed the basis of the New Testament.
- We recognize that if God’s people are going to obey all that Jesus commanded, they must know the Word of God fully.
- We accept the mandate to develop a systematic program of Bible Teaching for this church.
Third Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by maintaining a close fellowship.
- Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to…the fellowship.”
- We understand fellowship to mean a shared life of sacrifice, encouragement, and support, between those believers whom God has led to be a part of this local fellowship.
- We understand that there is also a call to fellowship with the greater Christian world, but affirm that our primary focus is on the fellowship of this local church.
- We believe that unity of the Body of Christ is of the highest importance and should be a priority in every member’s life.
- We believe that fellowship demands sacrifice, humility, love and forgiveness from each person toward the others in the church. We also recognize the need to hold one another accountable in a biblical process of church discipline.
- We accept the mandate to develop and maintain a deep fellowship at SHBC.
Fourth Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by worshiping the Crucified and Risen Christ in spirit and in truth.
- Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to…the breaking of bread.”
- We understand the breaking of bread to refer primarily to the Lord’s Supper, which is a time of deep worship focusing of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
- We understand that worship involves more than just singing. It is the act of giving glory to God and surrendering completely to Him in the light of who He is.
- We accept the mandate to worship passionately, both in our personal lives and in our public church services.
Fifth Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by fervent prayer.
- Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to…prayer.”
- We recognize nothing we attempt will be successful without the power of God. Luke 18:27 says, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” John 15:5 gives the other side of this. “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
- We affirm that prayer is our source of intimacy with God and of spiritual power.
- We accept the mandate to develop an organized strategy of fervent prayer that seeks God’s presence and power in all we do.
Sixth Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by participation in a program of worldwide missions.
- Acts 1:8 says, “You shall be witnesses…in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
- We recognize that we must have a focus on the spiritual needs of the entire world.
- We affirm our commitment to participation in the Southern Baptist world missions program by giving a percentage of our undesignated gifts through the Cooperative Program, by supporting the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, the Hyde State Missions Offering and other denominational missions causes as we are led.
- We affirm the freedom of this church to support other missions causes not aligned with our denomination, as long as they are faithful to the gospel and in basic agreement with our doctrine and practice.
- We will pray for missions and for our missionaries. We will seek ways to enhance personal involvement with our missionaries.
- We will actively participate in world missions through mission trips both in the US and around the world.
- We accept our mandate to be an active part of a worldwide missions program.
Seventh Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by providing administrative support so that we operate all our ministries effectively, efficiently, and legally.
- 1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “But all things should be done decently and in order.” Matthew 22:21 says, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
- We recognize our responsibility to see that the church operates its ministries legally, ethically and in an orderly fashion.
- Unless there is a conflict with biblical principles, we will seek to operate in accord with all the laws of the land and standard business and accounting practices.
- We understand that administrative support is crucial to the proper operation of ministries, but also understand that our primary task is ministry, not the maintenance of our buildings, programs or administrative structure.
- We accept our mandate to provide proper administrative support for our ministries.
Section 3: Core Values
Scripture: We believe that the Bible is God’s perfect word and is our final guide for doctrine and practice.
- We believe that the Bible is completely true and is authoritative for all of life.
- It is God’s Word, not our own experiences, our traditions, our cultural norms, our preferences or our denominational customs, that is to guide our church’s life.
- We subscribe to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 as our church’s doctrinal standard. All who teach must teach in accordance with that statement. Copies are available online and in the church office.
Christ is our Head: We recognize Jesus Christ as the Head and rightful ruler over the church.
- The church is ruled by Jesus Christ and no one else. He is the head of the Body.
- The goal of leaders is to seek God’s will and God’s agenda. Leaders must understand that Jesus is Lord and that they are only serving His interests in the church.
- We believe that God has established leaders within the church and that these leaders should lead the people and be honored by the people. However, the pattern for leadership should be the servant leadership which Christ taught.
- Leaders must walk in obedience to the will and ways of Christ, not advance their personal agendas.
Spirit-led Consensus: We believe that the church should seek to find a Spirit-led consensus on all matters.
- Our leaders should seek the mind of Christ and the divine agenda and lead the church according to it.
- The church will seek the mind of Christ and the divine agenda as it respects its leaders and gives consent to the ideas of the leaders.
- Leaders must never coerce, pressure, or manipulate the people to go along with their ideas. Each member should be encouraged to read scripture, pray and seek God’s will individually.
- If our goal is to seek the mind of Christ and His will in all matters, the Spirit will lead us into general consensus about the course of action we should take.
- If we do not have this Spirit-led consensus on matters of business, we should continue to pray, discuss and seek God’s will until the Spirit brings us into consensus.
Sacrifice: We are called to die to self and live our lives for the glory of God.
- We believe that the essence of Christianity is dying with Christ to self and being raised to walk a new life of sacrificial service to the Lord.
- We believe that every Christian is responsible to give generously and sacrificially of his or her time, abilities, gifts and money to advance the Kingdom of God.
- We believe that the standard for giving in the New Testament is 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. 2 Corinthians 8:5 says that they gave themselves first to the Lord, then gave their money. In 8:2, Paul says that the Macedonians, while experiencing extreme poverty and hardship had hearts of overwhelming joy, and gave “as much as they were able and even beyond their ability.” We do not pressure people to give, but follow 2 Corinthians 9:7, which says, “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Politics: We believe that our primary task is to proclaim the gospel and teach the commands of Christ, not to advance any political agenda.
- Pastors and other leaders will be free to address any political or social issue in a biblical fashion, but will not endorse candidates, political parties or movements in the church.
- We will not shy away, as a church or as leaders, from addressing significant moral issues even if they offend the prevalent culture of the day. We believe in the sanctity of human life, in marriage as between one man and one woman, in sex being a gift of God for marriage couples to experience. We hold these to be important biblical truths.
- We believe that every church member should exercise his or her constitutional rights to vote and to voice opinions on these matters. Our members have the individual responsibility to be salt and light in the community
- We believe that the gospel, not partisan politics changes lives. Our duty as a church is to obey the Great Commission, not to promote a political agenda.
Social Ministries: We believe that as a part of our duty to reach this community, we have a responsibility to reach out to the poor and needy, to widows and orphans.
- James 1:27 makes it clear that if we wish to demonstrate a faith that is “pure and undefiled before God the Father” we must “visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”
- We cannot be content to simply minister in middle-class communities, but must seek to minister to and help those in need.
Cooperation: We believe that it is our duty to cooperate in ministry with other churches as much as we are able without compromising our doctrinal convictions.
- We believe that Jesus’ heart for the unity of the church extends beyond the doors of this church to include the entire church of Siouxland, of which we are one part.
- We will look for ways to join with them in proclaiming the gospel and ministering to the needs of the community.
- We will never sacrifice fundamental doctrinal truth to cooperate, nor will we compromise our convictions for the sake of fellowship with other churches.