The Gospel Message
We at Evanston Baptist Church have the Gospel message as the core of our existence. Feel free to read and accept it’s truth.
God is perfect in love, justice, knowledge, and power. Though made in His image, we are corrupt. Our sin wrecks our lives on earth and our prospects for heaven. But in love, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to provide the way of forgiveness and salvation. Born of a virgin in the line of David, Jesus lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death on the cross to pay the penalty for sins for those who accept His gift of eternal life. He was buried, rose from the grave on the third day, appeared to His disciples, and now reigns in heaven where He claims those who have turned to Him in repentance and faith. He’s given them a new heart, and it clearly shows. They’re not perfect, but they’re His forever. Jesus is coming to earth again, and, in the end, all will admit that He is Lord. Those seperated from God will do so bitterly. The saved will proclaim it with joy.
At a recent meeting of church planters, the pastor was asked to make a brief statement of the new church’s mission and major values. Here are the items he listed:
MISSION: To flood Evanston and surrounding communities with the whole counsel of God (see Acts 20:27) through all available means and to lead people in applying it to their lives.
MAJOR VALUES (in random order): 1. We desire that Spiritual Awakening come to our region. 2. We cherish the exposition of God’s Word, the Bible. 3. We are persistent in evangelism. 4. We give strong emphasis to training. 5. We are intent on reproducing ourselves on the North Shore. 6. We will seek to honor biblical standards.
7. We respect diversity of personality, taste, gifts, and interpretation within our basic theological commitments. (See The Baptist Faith and Message at the SBC Web site. A link is provided on our home page.)
8. We are a Southern Baptist Convention church, plugged in to SBC missions and drawing from SBC programs and materials. 9. We are a praying church.
A mailed invitation to Evanstonians begins with these words, words which capture leading commitments and understandings of the new church:
Believing that God is wonderfully sovereign and providential. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. The Holy Spirit convicts, counsels, encourages, and enables. The Bible, God’s perfect Word, is our standard. The Church throughout the world and the ages offers treasures of wisdom and worship. The Lord heals broken lives and relationships.
We invite you to the first service of Evanston Baptist Church.
Beginning October 22, Evanston Baptist Church began receiving members. Each applicant is asked to provide an account of Christian conversion and to sign a membershipship covenant. Here is the pastor’s conversion account, the covenant, and a monthly worksheet wherewith members discuss their growth and service with another Christian of their own choosing.
Following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 9, we well express our conversion to faith in Christ by giving an account of our life before conversion, the circumstances of our conversion, the essence of our new faith, and the change there has been in our life since conversion. Here is a brief version of my own story. Yours will be unique to you.
My father was a minister, and our family was very active in church. You might say we were there every time the door opened. Until age 7, I thought that I would go to heaven on the family plan. After all, we went to other church-type things together. But under the preaching and teaching of the Word, I began to see that I needed to get right with God. I became aware of my sinfulness and my need for a personal Savior. I began to feel that the preacher was speaking directly to me, and I became very uncomfortable.
One day after Sunday school, I asked my mother how to become a Christian. I knew right away that this was of the utmost importance, because she sat me down outside the auditorium and began to explain things to me. We never missed church, but we were missing church this day. I listened intently as she explained that salvation was based on repentance and faith in Christ. I knew that this was what I wanted.
When my father came home for lunch after preaching at another church, we sat on the front porch and he picked up where mother left off, confirming the gospel and my desire to respond to it. I prayed to the Lord for salvation and gained the assurance that my prayer was heard.
That evening, I came before the church at the time of invitation, and professed my faith in Christ. Several weeks later, after a short course in church membership by the pastor, I was baptized.
I knew something was different in my life the Sunday after I made the profession of faith. Our Sunday school class was so rowdy that a number of teachers had quit in recent months. But this time, as my classmates got into their routine of inattention and disrespect, I said that we should settle down and listen to the teacher. They looked at me as though I had lost my mind. And I wondered what had come over me. I believe it was an early sign that I had been born again, that I had a new heart.
My Christian walk has been a real adventure. God, my Heavenly Father, has blessed me with a wonderful Christian family and great things to do. He’s counseled and protected me. He’s even disciplined me. And as I grow, I am confident that I am a member of his family forever. I am saved by his grace and not my merit, and his grip on my life is sure. Through highs and lows, I know that he is faithful to complete his good work in me, and I find great joy in serving him.
Evanston Baptist Church Membership Covenant
(October 22, 2000)
Acknowledging God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord, welcoming believer’s baptism by immersion, recognizing that the integrity and vitality of the church are precious to our Lord, and trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit, I say to Evanston Baptist Church, you can count on me:
To be faithful in attendance. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
To help sustain the church through regular giving.
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. (I Corinthians 16:2)
To bear witness to the gospel in the world.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
To shun destructive chatter.
I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (II Corinthians 12:20) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
To join in the care and encouragement of members of the fellowship.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (I Corinthians 12:26-27)
To seek service according to church needs and my spiritual gifts.
Each one of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. (I Peter 4:10)
To so conduct myself as to bring honor to the Lord.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Philippians 1:27a)
To be missions minded.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
To biblically express and address grievances with restraint and proportionality, placing high value on unity in the church.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)
To study and train for growth in understanding, skill, and spirit.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)
To pray regularly and specifically for the concerns of the church.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)
To honor and defend biblical preaching, teaching, and ministry.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (II Timothy 4:2-5)
To make myself accountable for these standards.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
To resign or to accept removal for chronic, striking, and unrepentant indifference to these standards.
If you brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-18)
Monthly Accountability Worksheet
To be completed and then shared with verbally with another Christian, whether the pastor, a church member, or a believer outside the fellowship of EBC. Church attendance and giving are noted in the ordinary course of record keeping. A member who does not attend or contribute over a four-month period will be dropped from the church roll unless there are compelling, mitigating circumstances.
This month, I have borne verbal witness to the gospel to the following person(s) in the following way:
I have ministered to the membership of EBC in the following way(s):
I have ministered to the world at large in Christ’s name in the following way(s):
I have sought to grow in understanding and spirit by the study of:
Other Christian material:
I have wrestled with these concerns and ask prayer for: