I grew up in Michigan and then moved to California for college. In my youth, as well as in recent years, I have had the unique opportunity to visit and be a member of multiple churches. They have included religious groups such as Non-Denominational, Protestant, and Baptist. They have ranged in size from over 6,000 to 50. All were ‘Christian’ churches attempting to reach and impact a community in their own unique method and style. Over the years, I was able to sit back and see how these churches worked.
Even though I visited many churches that were either non-denominational or some variant of protestant, I always ended up coming back to the Baptist church. There are certainly some solid, Biblical non-denominational and protestant churches out there. However in my experience, there were always certain things in the Baptist churches I attended that I couldn’t find as easily in other churches. It is because of these reasons that I, as a Christian, I choose to go to a Baptist Church.
I know that all Baptist churches are not the same. There are certainly many varieties of Baptists out there. I primarily attended an independent Baptist church and will continue to be a member of an independent Baptist church in the future. I also understand that all independent Baptist churches will not be the same, but for the most part, the Baptist churches I attended generally had the same qualities.
I feel that Baptists sometimes get a bad reputation because of various “Baptist churches” that are a part of absurd acts that in no way portray Christ or a loving church. Also, there are even Baptist churches that nit-pick at one another over trite issues. It is obvious that there certainly is no perfect church. I don’t believe there will ever be. All of our churches consist of imperfect people, and if there is any problem in a church, it is the people’s fault.
It can of course be said that there is always room for improvement. I think there are enough people out there, who are more qualified than I am who have already written about improvements our churches should make. Those articles are helpful and necessary, but I simply just would like to highlight certain areas where I feel that our Baptist churches do good job. I think sometimes it’s beneficial to just give a pat on the back and say, “Hey, good job!”
1. The Emphasis on Family
One of the things that I am most grateful for in our Churches is the focus on the family unit. I’m sick of hearing about churches supporting divorce or even cohabitation. I know in our Baptist churches that the family unit is stressed and supported. The church gives deference to the family, and provides Biblical tools to support it.
I know that my own life and marriage have been greatly impacted by the support that our church has given to strengthening my family.
2. The Faithfulness to Fundamental Doctrine
One of the stronger aspects of the Baptist church is it’s adherence to Doctrine. I really appreciate that the pastors and teachers in my church hold strong to fundamental Doctrine and also can explain Biblically why they do so. Our Baptist churches will not compromise their stance to appease the culture, neither will they cease from holding to the Doctrine they believe.
3. The Personal Touch
A great thing about our Baptist churches is the personal touch you get. From Sunday school to small groups, there is a family atmosphere that warms the heart of most everyone. The people at my church have become like family. Some of my dearest friends are at my church.
Our churches go the extra mile to visit people personally and invite them to activities and events. People then get connected to groups within the church and form relationships. These relationships strengthen each other and encourage each other to grow spiritually. At our churches you get a personal touch that you can’t find watching a televangelist or attending a big formal ceremony. Getting connected to people is so important and I believe our churches do this well..
4. The Effort in Reaching People
This is one thing I feel that our churches get criticized a lot for. It is easy to get discouraged when a church down the road with big movie screens and a rock band bring in hundreds of visitors weekly and our church only has ten. But one thing about our Baptist church is that we are faithful to our outreach. I believe we should always try to find ways to reach people. There is something to be said for a church that still goes out on a Saturday morning or Tuesday night to personally invite people to church. Their faithfulness shows that they are serious about reaching people and that they care about the message they have to tell.
5. The Resources for Healing People
A great thing about the Baptist church is the emphasis on helping hurting people. Ministries like Reformers Unanimous and other counseling programs help people who are going through rough times by giving them Biblical advice and counsel. Unlike more progressive ministries, our Baptist churches do not use modern psychology to cure people but rather use Biblical principles to help heal people.
6. The Opportunity for Growing People
Another aspect of our Baptist church I like is the opportunity for spiritual growth. “Taking the next step spiritually” has always been emphasized in the Baptist churches I have been a part of. Established discipleship programs are becoming the norm, giving anyone the opportunity to grow spiritually and learn more about their faith.
7. The Friendly Atmosphere
There was one time when I visited a popular church in southern California. I came to the church service early and even hung around a little after the service, but still only one person came to speak to me! I felt as if I had a disease. Yes, the building was beautiful and their brochures were top-notch, but the people there were very uninviting.
However, if there was one word to describe the church I am currently attending it would be: “friendly.” I will never forget when I visited the church for the first time. I had barely stepped out of my car, when someone greeted me with a friendly smile.
Our Baptist churches are no-longer those dark, spooky churches with judgemental people and obscure formalities. They are friendly churches with exciting people that are welcoming to guests and visitors.
8. The Biblical Preaching
This is one area I think I missed most when I visited or attended other churches. Their preaching was always a little lack luster. I know there are solid preachers in non-denominational churches that preach Biblical standards. I have read some of their books. But, as far as the churches I attended, the preaching was more about what the audience wanted to hear then rather what the audience needed to hear. Preaching should not be about entertaining your audience. It should be about changing peoples’ lives for Christ.
9. The Purity of Christ’s Person
One thing I really respect about our Baptist churches is the defense they of the name of Christ. Different religions have weakened a lot who Christ was and what he has done. They weaken the name of Christ by saying He was just a prophet, or they try to discredit His testimony by stating He was immoral.
Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us so we can enjoy freedom from our sin. His name should be respected and His testimony needs to be upheld. Some churches have tried to move away from the deity of Christ, but our Baptist churches have not. They still proclaim the name of Jesus Christ.
10. The Importance of Morals
The last thing listed that our churches do a good job in is their stance on moral values. Our world is morally deteriorating. Divorce, Co-habitation, homo-sexuality, pornography, and drug abuse are all on the rise within our culture. However, it is still drastically lower in the Evangelical world.
I do believe Satan tries hard to have pastors and Christian leaders to fall into sin. Whenever that does happen it is a shame. But the thing about our churches is that we still call sin, sin. Some churches are starting to tolerate some “acceptable sins.” However, our Baptist churches still preach and teach everything that the Bible calls is a sin.
A vast majority of our Baptist churches do a great job in these ten things. Again, no church is perfect but I believe that they should at least be commended for what they are already doing well. It is the things like being friendly, faithful to doctrine, and reaching people that will change our world for Christ. I believe these are the things that will truly make a difference.
Good Job Church!