Constitution of the Church
The Christian church is a local community of God’s disciples throughout the new Covenant; it is not a building or one specific denomination, but instead often refers to a local community of Christian believers. The local church is united in the global church, and is manifested through millions of local church gatherings. God instituted the creation of the church through Apostolic leadership (Matt. 16:18) and church leaders are accountable to Him (Heb. 13:17). The church is referred to in Scripture as the people of God (2 Cor. 6:16), the body of Christ with Christ as its head (1 Cor. 12:12-30, Col. 1:8), and a temple/sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Although the church itself is not the Kingdom of God, the church is a manifestation of the Kingdom – the Kingdom creates the church, the church witnesses to the Kingdom, the church is the Kingdom’s instrument, and the church is the custodian of the Kingdom until Christ’s return (Acts 1:8).
Although membership and participation at a local church is not mandatory for salvation, individualistic approaches to God outside of the church community miss out on the unity and diversity Jesus aspired for His followers which bear witness to Him in the world (Jn. 17:20-26), and thereby miss out on the fullness of the Christian experience (Heb. 10:24-25).
FBC Washington governs through a team of pastors and lay leaders (structured through committees) for oversight and runs day to day ministry through paid staff and volunteer leaders. FBC intentionally and willingly partners with the Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and Union Baptist Association in ministry and mission.
Roles and Functions of the Church
Jesus directly commissioned the church to make disciples, and accomplishing this task is the primary function of the church (Acts 1:8). This making of disciples involves evangelism of non-believers (Matt. 28:20), edification of believers (Eph. 4:11-12), worshiping God (Heb. 10:25), and being agents of social justice and benevolence (Matt. 25:25-37, Lk. 10:25-37). A balance of these functions is essential for the spiritual health of the church, and will be most effective with the development and exercise of members’ spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12).
The doctrine of the last things (called ‘eschatology’) is important and crucial for the Christian life because believers must live now in light of what will be (Heb. 12:28-29), and if future events are incongruent with God’s promises then such discrepancies would compromise His character and disparage hope in God’s future workings (2 Pet. 1:4). With that being said, difficult and obscure Scriptural passages vary in clarity on this topic, and conclusions regarding the specific timing or mechanics of future events derived from these passages must be critically examined as to whether such details have serious implications for the Christian life or are merely speculative and divisive.
The ordinances of baptism and communion are commanded by Jesus for His followers and should be normative for the church (Matt. 28:19, 1 Cor. 11:23-25, Acts 2:41-42) because of the imperative from Jesus. Baptism is a symbolic and public proclamation of the believer that they have been buried and resurrected with Christ (Gal. 2:20). Communion is a practice in which believers commemorate Christ’s death, participate in mystical union with God, and anticipate Christ’s return.