Preface to the Covenant:
Every believer at salvation through faith in Jesus Christ enters into a covenant relationship with God, and is placed into covenant community with all true believers, known as the body of Christ. Local churches represent specific covenant communities, of which each believer is to be an active part. In turn, Mission Mid-Atlantic is a voluntary association of autonomous local churches representing the body of Christ in covenant community with one another.
THE COVENANT OF THE CHURCHES OF MISSION MID-ATLANTIC:
The association of churches known as Mission Mid-Atlantic, as part of the body of Christ, acknowledges our God-ordained covenantal relationships as a fellowship of Conservative Baptist churches. Holding in common our doctrine, polity, and philosophy of ministry, we agree to a relationship expressed in dependence upon, responsibility for, and accountability to each other by God’s grace. Mission Mid-Atlantic also seeks covenant community with other regional CB communities throughout North America and around the world through CB Global. As an association of Conservative Baptist Churches in the Mid-Atlantic region and in the presence of our Lord, we covenant to partner with our fellow Mission Mid-Atlantic churches in order to…
- Treat each other with love and grace as we seek to honor the many biblical “one-anothers” of Christian fellowship.
- Minister to each other by sharing our strengths and resources so that church leaders can be strengthened for kingdom purposes.
- Encourage churches to pursue maturity with the goal of fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
- Partner together as an ethnically diverse association of churches committed to honoring and respecting one another.
- Work together to establish new churches.
- Embrace partnership and cooperation in ministry with an attitude that facilitates regional unity, shared vision, networking, and celebration.
- Identify, train, and empower current and future church leaders.
- Develop relationships with other evangelical ministries to assist our churches in fulfilling their God-given vision and mission.
- Support the ministry of Mission Mid-Atlantic with our prayers, finances, talents, and time.
- Uphold the Mission Mid-Atlantic Statement of Faith (herein referred to as “Doctrine”) to which we subscribe.
THE HOLY BIBLE:
We believe that the Scriptures, comprised of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original writings, complete as the revelation of God’s will for salvation, and the supreme and final authority in all matters to which they speak. We believe Scripture must be understood through the literal, contextual, grammatical, and historical method of interpretation, and applied under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 119:160; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Corinthians 14:37)
We believe in one God, Creator and Sustainer of all things, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they are equal in essence. They execute distinct but harmonious roles in the work of creation, providence, and redemption. (Genesis 1:1-2; Job 26:13; Psalm 104; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 2:18; John 10:30; 14;23;17;5; Acts 5:3-4)
GOD THE FATHER:
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, knowledge, power, and love. We believe He concerns Himself both graciously and mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. The Father does everything in accordance with His perfect will, though His sovereignty neither eliminates nor minimizes our personal responsibility. (Matthew 28:19; John 15;26; Psalm 19;1; Exodus 3:14; Colossians 1:17)
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son. We believe further that He is not only true God, but true man, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. We also believe in His sinless life, His substitutionary atonement, His bodily resurrection from the dead, His ascension into heaven, His priestly intercession on behalf of His people, and His personal and visible return from heaven. (Matthew 28:19; John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13;14; Philippians 2:5,6; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)
We believe in God the Holy Spirit. He was sent by God the Father and God the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ and implements Christ’s work of redemption and baptism. He regenerates, seals, gifts, and indwells all believers at conversion, progressively sanctifying, and securing them in Christ forever. The Spirit fills, leads, comforts, and intercedes for believers, empowering them for godly living and service. His presence is evident by the fruit of the Spirit and the building up of believers into the body of Christ, the Church. (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; John 16:8-11; Ephesians 4:30; Exodus 31:3; 1 Samuel 16:13; John 14:26; Romans 8:26)
We believe God originally created Adam and Eve in His image and free from sin. We further believe that all people are created in His image, but are sinners by nature and choice and are spiritually dead. We also believe that those who repent of sin and trust Jesus Christ as Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We believe God established marriage to be a lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman. Marriage so defined is the only permissible context for intimate sexual expression and is the foundation for the human family. We believe that human life is sacred and precious from conception until death and should always be protected. We further believe that every human being is directly responsible to God in matters of faith and life. (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 22; 5:1-2; 9:6; Psalm 100:3; 119:73; Isaiah 45:12; Acts 17:26-28; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:31, 34-36, 41, 44; Genesis 2:23,24; Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Timothy 3:2)
We believe in salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We further believe that this salvation is based upon the sovereign grace of God, was purchased by Christ on the cross, and is received by faith, apart from any human merit, works, or ritual. All who repent and believe in Jesus Christ are forgiven of all their sins, baptized by Christ with the Spirit, justified in God’s sight by the merit of Christ’s righteousness, adopted into His family, eternally sealed by the Holy Spirit, and have equal access to God. We further believe that salvation results in righteous living, good works, and proper social concern. (Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24, 28; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:5,8; Romans 4:4-5; 6:23; 8:29-30; 11:5-6; Galatians 1:15; Ephesians 1:3-6; 2:8-9; Philippians 3:7-9; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 7:10-11; Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8)
We believe that the Church is the spiritual body of which Christ is the Head. We believe that the true Church is composed of all persons who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We believe that this body expresses itself in local assemblies whose members have been immersed upon a credible confession of faith and who unite themselves for worship, fellowship, instruction, evangelism, and service. We believe that the ordinances of the local church are believer’s baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper. We also believe in the interdependence of local churches and mutual submission of believers to each other in unity and love. We believe that each local church is self-governing in function and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority. (Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 12:27; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Colossians 1:18; Matthew 18:15-17; 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38, 41-42, 47; 8:12, 36-39; 16:34-34; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25; Ephesians 4:1-13)
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the saved and lost, the eternal existence of all people in heaven or hell, and in divine judgments, rewards, and punishments. (Isaiah 26:19; John 5:25-29; Acts 24:14-15; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 20:5-6; 21:6-7)
This statement of polity (form of government of a church or organization) uses the biblical terms for church leadership in the New Testament. Many of our association churches use different terms for their leadership teams. Our intention is descriptive, not prescriptive. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church Each local church, under His headship, is led by congregationally-affirmed elders. Those who have been affirmed as leaders have biblically-granted authority, responsibility, and accountability. (Acts 20:17-28; Eph. 4:11, 12; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
Elders are biblically-qualified males (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9) who do the work of shepherding God’s church by praying, feeding, leading, guiding, nurturing, and administrating the church. These elders are affirmed by the congregation and have the responsibility and authority to lead in discerning the mind of Christ and in following God’s will. Congregationally-Affirmed The congregation affirms the leadership of the elders. Congregants contribute in helping the elders discern the mind of Christ and willingly submit to their leadership for the spiritual health and harmony of the church. (1 Cor. 3:9-17; Acts 6:3; Hebrews 13:17)
Our polity as an association of autonomous churches will seek to reflect the biblical model for the church. Officers of the Association must be members in good standing of an Association church and be recommended by their church. Area Association moderators must also meet the biblical qualifications of elder and be chosen by their area Association.
Our vision as a diverse fellowship of churches united by the Great Confession is to engage the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ both in practice and proclamation by living out the Great Commandment, Great Commission and Great Commitment in community.
- Great Confession - we exist to exalt Jesus Christ, the Son of God as our Lord and Savior. (Matthew 16:16)
- Great Commandment - we exist to love God and our neighbor. (Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34, 35)
- Great Commission - we exist to reach and equip people. (Matthew 28:19, 20) Great Commitment - we exist to serve each other and our world. (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Peter 4:10)
As we engage the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our mission is to:
- Build healthy churches: Using consultation, evaluation, assessment and targeted tools, we seek to assist member churches in achieving and maintaining church health.
- Develop church leaders: We seek to equip elders/pastors along with current and future leaders with tools and resources that allow them to pursue excellence in ministry under the sovereign hand of God. We see this occurring within smaller clusters of church leaders, during the annual conference, and other intentional training opportunities.
- Plant new churches: We seek to regularly plant and develop new local churches of like identity and purpose.
- Assist in crisis: A crisis can sometimes overwhelm an elder/pastor or a church. We seek to come alongside in these crisis situations to help resolve conflict, solve problems, and restore relationships to the glory of God.