What Shapes Us

These are the ideas, the truths of Scripture, that shape Tamworth Baptist Church.

This is the shape of life, growth and ministry at Tamworth Baptist Church.

These are the plumb lines we use to measure our growth.

These are the bones of the skeleton that give the body shape.

These are the road signs we use to find our way.

These are the core values that we hold together.

#1 It's all about Jesus

The first thing John the Baptist says about Jesus is, “The Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Jesus’ identity and his mission are both tailored to deal with our sin. Remember the paralytic lowered through the roof? His friends thought his greatest need was his illness but Jesus said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)

Our biggest problem is sin and the answer is Jesus.

Our church has cherished as our motto a summary of the great commission, “know Christ, make Him known” (based on Matthew 28:16-20). At the core of all our ministry is the desire to grow in Christ and to introduce others to him and his saving grace. We remind ourselves that Jesus is the source and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the beginning and the end for us. He is also the middle.

This means that our ministries, our activities, our relationships, and our buildings-- everything shares the same purpose – to help us grow in the grace of Christ. If something doesn’t sooner or later bring people to Jesus, or grow them in Jesus, or strengthen them in Jesus then we don’t think it’s the best thing we could be doing. (Colossians 3:17)

This is what we mean when we say things like:

  It’s all about Jesus Jesus is our foundation  
  The gospel is our guide Keep your eyes on Jesus  
  Remember the cross Is it about Jesus?  
  Jesus is the answer
know Christ, make Him known
Can you see Jesus in it?  

#2 The Bible is our Bottom Line

God is a speaking God. Whenever he did anything important he spoke. From the “let there be”s of creation to the prophecies pointing to Jesus to the voice at Jesus’ baptism, God acts with and through his Word. Because this is based in the character of God and not in our ability we are convinced that God can speak to us through the Bible. (1 Peter 1:2 and 1 Tim3:16) That is where we hear God’s voice- in the independent, unbiased word of God. So what the statement of faith says we actually believe and live out, “The Bible is our authority in all matters of faith and practice.” We look to the Bible first, and then we consult others or consider contemporary wisdom or reflect on our feelings. We look to the Bible for the final decision too. It’s only through the Bible that we know the real Jesus.

So, when we come to our Sunday gathering we don’t want to hear what the preacher has to say, we want to hear God speak through his word. In a church meeting we don’t want a democracy; we seek God’s will by reflecting on his Word.

This is what we mean when we say things like:

  God speaks we listen The bible is our bottom line  
  The Bible is our boss God's word is enough  
  The answer is in the book The bible is our map  
  What does the Bible say? Show me that in the Bible?  

#3 People are Important

Church is not a building or a time slot it is a family. We are a family. Families are people connected to each other. God makes it very clear through the apostle Paul that each member of the church is important (1 Corinthians 12-14). This is not dependant on the person, but on their place in God’s family. Each church member is a child of God. People are important. They church exists to build people up- We are given gifts to build people up – in Jesus. (Ephesians 4) We firmly believe that people are more important than programs. It doesn’t matter to us whether something is official or unofficial, big and flashy or small and quiet, what matters is that people are built up in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We encourage people to meet with other people to read the Bible and pray. There’s not program, no obvious signs but people are valued and grow together.

Each one of us is here to serve others; together we reflect God’s fundamental truth that people are important.

This is why we say:

  People are more important than programs You can always say no
Busyness is not godliness
  Poeple are important We're all here to serve  
  Don't do what you can't do How are people built up?  

#4 Relationships Matter

Read any letter in the New Testament and see how many ‘we’s and ‘us’s and ‘one another’s there are. We don’t do this on our own. But more than that- everything is relational. Good relationships make things better and bad relationships ruin everything. Whenever we get together it’s about building relationships, not just doing things. We never make someone feel guilty for having good relationships. We encourage all members to get connected. Church isn’t something you go to, it’s a family- you are the church. This is why life groups and 1-to-1 meetings are such an important part of our church life. If you just come to church for an hour on Sunday and sit there you don’t understand what church is and you are not doing what the Bible says. You can’t love someone if you don’t know them. And once you get to know them you’ll probably have to forgive them – you’re obeying Scripture already. We will always ask people to follow Matthew 18 to reconcile relationships because relationships are everything.

In everything we do here we seek to help people build deep, lasting relationships that we might be built up in Christ together.

This is why we say things like:

  we don't make a splash we make a difference get connected, plug yourself in  
  Everything is relational You need a family  
  It's all about relationships We are a family  
  Relationships matter
elationships are everything
Who do you pray with?  

#5 We believe in the local church

Jesus said I will build my church. (Matthew 16:18) We do not believe the church is an accident of history or a side effect of salvation. The church is what God is doing. Read Ephesians 4, focus in on verse 10. The church is God’s victory parade. The church is where the wisdom of God is displayed. It’s not in some abstract eschatological outcome. God is glorified when his people cling to his grace and proclaim his gospel in the church.

So we are not ashamed of being all about Tamworth Baptist Church. We exist to glorify God in this church. What God is doing here is exciting, it’s eternal, it’s essential.

We are passionate about being the church Jesus is building. We will give preference to ministries and activities that build the local congregation, unashamedly. Before we support an event, an outreach, a ministry, an organisation we want to know how it will build people into a local church. Read 1 Peter 2, this is why Jesus came, to bring us back to him, together.

This is what we mean when we say things like:

  We believe in the local church We are God's workmanship  
  What is God doing here How does it plug poeple in?  
  We are Jeses' life work    
  How does that build the church    

Some other things that are importnant to us:

Training is important

If you are doing something important, take someone with you and teach them how to do it.

We start where they’re at

We might have a definite idea of where we need to be, but God seems to start where we are. Jesus came to the lost sheep. Paul became all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:22) we meet people where they are at and let them start there.

It’s only by grace

We know we are saved by grace. No one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) No one is better than anyone else. We know we have been forgiven and that’s why we forgive one another. (Matthew 18) We deal with sin and call for repentance, but we forgive those who are repentant and bear with each other’s failings (Philippians 2:3).

We walk by Faith

The Christian life is characterised by trusting Jesus. This is a daily practice of turning back to God and trusting his forgiveness, his promises, and his strength. Whatever bind we are in, whenever we look for a way to turn, we know it will always involve turning back to God and trusting him (repentance and faith).

It’s all about reconciliation

God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) God is not just reconciling us to him but also to each other. We will follow the Scriptural guidelines to work out differences and honour one another.

Family comes first

The family is the place where Christians are brought up. We will not undermine the family in our ministries and activities. We will sometimes not do things deliberately because we want parents to be with their families. We want parents to be thoughtful and biblical parents who are discipling their own children. We will make this easier, not harder.