NCC Member Letter - Feb 2020

An Open Letter to the NCC Family
February 7, 2020
Blessings Northside Family!

We are all so blessed to all be a part of a church family of faithful, Spirit-filled and Spirit-led believers and followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our fellowship has grown in so many ways over the many years that God has given us as a local assembly of the Body of Christ. We have all been blessed by the many members that God has added to our fellowship over the years. And as we grow numerically, we understand that God is always challenging us to continue to grow in maturity as individuals and as a corporate body, as Paul says in Ephesians 4:13,15 – “…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…speaking the truth in love, [that we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.”

This is a challenging process for us all. But it is joyful and exciting because we know that in all things, God is working for our good to complete the work that He has started in us – both individually and as a church family. We live and grow in our Christian faith in community. He has called us to live out our faith together and to walk together with humility, grace, and mercy in the unity of the Spirit. In Ephesians 4:1-16 we see this described so powerfully by the Apostle Paul. Please take time to read this passage. It is one of the clearest descriptions in the Bible of what the Church, the Body of Christ, is supposed to be and how it is supposed to work. And it gives us instruction and teaching, both individually and corporately, about how we are all supposed to work together to be a part of this Body to fulfill God’s purposes.

It is vitally important that we as Christ-followers learn to order our lives according to God’s Word and principles. As we learn to read the Word and apply it to our lives, God’s blessing and power are made available to us in new and immeasurable ways. We should all be daily in the Word of God, hearing what God has to say to us, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and convict and then empower us to apply what we hear with our spiritual ears by choosing to walk in obedience with whatever truth is revealed.

This process should also be ongoing in the church as a whole. In Revelation 2-3 we see Jesus “walking around” seven churches in seven different cities at the time John wrote this letter. There are seven different messages that Jesus gives to each individual church that can be summarized as commendation, correction, and rebuke. Here’s the point – Jesus is still doing this today! And He always has a right to come to us and speak a word to us that we need in order to encourage us when we are on the right track, correct us when we get off track, and rebuke us when something is out of line. The primary way that Jesus speaks to us as individuals and as the corporate Body of Christ is through the Bible. Each of us has a personal responsibility to read it, seek to understand what it is saying through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and then apply it appropriately to our lives so that we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and mature to become more like Him daily.

In the church, it is the responsibility of the Elders and appointed five-fold ministers (Ephesians 4:11) to ensure that the church body is being edified spiritually and cared for, and also to “oversee” the affairs of the church to ensure that we are following Biblical guidelines where they are provided in all aspects of ministry so that we accurately represent Him to the world around us. Hebrews 13:17 says that those who serve in these positions will give an account to God for how they have fulfilled these responsibilities. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:15 that he is writing to him so that “you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

We who serve as Elders and Pastors here at Northside Christian Center take this responsibility very seriously. We meet regularly and prayerfully to seek God’s guidance and direction for our church family. We believe and affirm that the Bible is the infallible and inerrant Word of God and is authoritative in all areas of personal and corporate conduct and faith. Therefore, all of our guidance and decisions, while bathed in prayer, must be Scripturally based and affirmed. We recognize that in some areas of Scriptural guidelines for personal and corporate life in Christ there may be differences of interpretation and application in the Body of Christ as a whole throughout the world. However, we are responsible and accountable before God for our leadership and oversight here at Northside Christian Center in accordance with the direction He gives us by His Holy Spirit. Our Statement of Faith is our statement of doctrine and practice that summarizes our understanding and application of Biblical truth and guidelines as a New Testament fellowship of believers. Generally, our Statement of Faith has not changed significantly over the years. But, we have had times where God has prompted us to give consideration to important matters of life and faith that we have felt God leading us to address and amend in this document. For example, over the past 5 years we have added important position statements on the issues of Biblical marriage, family, human sexuality and the sanctity of all human life. It is easy to see in our current culture why this became important.

Over the past three years, the Elders have been prayerfully considering another area of church order and ministry practice as it relates to ministry leadership and gender roles in the church. It is our belief that those guidelines that have been clearly given in Scripture are as relevant today as they were when written by the Apostles and should be followed and applied by the Church in this generation so that His house is in biblical order and can truly stand in this generation as a light and the “pillar and ground of the truth.” For this reason, the Elders of Northside Christian Center have unanimously approved the addition of the following position statement to our Statement of Faith in Section 3.16 – “Ministers to the Church”:
At Northside Christian Center we desire to uphold Biblical principles of spiritual authority honoring God’s creation order in the distinct and complementary roles of men and women (Gen. 1:27; 2:18-25). We believe that men are called by God to serve their families and the church as spiritual leaders. In the home this role is to be godly husbands who love their wives as Christ loves the church and who lay their lives down for them as they lead their families (I Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-33).

In the church men are called to provide spiritual leadership as elders (bishops/overseers) serving in lead apostolic or pastoral ministry roles. Godly, qualified men have the ultimate responsibility under Jesus Christ to lead and teach biblical doctrine and truth in the church (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9). Women may be called on to teach other women or children under the covering authority of church leadership but should not be in a position of teaching or having authority over men (I Timothy 2:12-14; Titus 2:3-5).

We recognize that this position is in stark contrast with the current trends and values of today’s culture. It is also true that this position is different than many other church positions in other denominations and congregations, and even from how we as a church have understood and applied ministry roles in our past here at Northside Christian Center. However, we believe it to be consistent with a faithful interpretation and application of the referenced Scriptures. And we ask that each of you read, pray, and consider these passages of Scripture as you give prayerful attention to this important and significant change in our church family.

One practical application of this is in the area of teaching ministry classes and Sunday School classes. All teaching of biblical and doctrinal truth should be guided by this Scriptural principle. So, any classes where men, or men and women together are being taught should be led and taught by a qualified man approved by church leadership. A woman may certainly be gifted, called and affirmed by church leadership as a teacher of the Word. However, she should not be placed in teaching authority over a man or men. Her ministry then should be directed toward other women and/or children. This has profound implications to all of us both personally and corporately and has already significantly affected a precious group of people in our church – our senior adults who have enjoyed wonderful fellowship and teaching in Sis. Janis Travis’ Sunday School class for many decades. I (Pastor Aaron) have spent the past five weeks with them, beginning with our wonderful sister Janis, and then with their class to share with them this new direction and the foundational reasons we (the elders) have made this change. This has been a difficult transition for most of them. But we are thankful that the vast majority, while admittedly struggling, have accepted this change and in their maturity and wisdom are trusting God through this transition and are willing to yield (Hebrews 13:17; James 3:17) to our church leadership’s direction. Sis. Janis will continue to teach her class in the Fellowship Hall as an adult women’s class, and we are excited to be starting a new Adult Sunday School class for both men and women in the Activity Room with Allan Cain as the teacher. We are excited to see all that God will continue to do in our church as we move forward in faith and obedience to Him!

As I close this letter, I want to thank each of you who have taken the time to read it thoroughly and to prayerfully consider it in your hearts. I pray that all of us will walk humbly in the Spirit and in true agape love toward one another. I pray together with Paul in Ephesians 4:1-3 that you will “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to contact me or any of our eldership.

In His Service,
Pastor Aaron Bequette for the NCC Elders:
Pastor Scott Dragoo, Pastor Brandon Pierce, Bro. Louis Wiggins, Bro. Kyle Mosier, Bro. Justin Rogers
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