A Brief Overview
It is a great privilege to share with you a little bit about the Trinity story. We have been ministering from the corner of 41st and Union since 1930. What began as a neighborhood church now draws people from across Southwest Tulsa, Sand Springs and Sapulpa. This material has been prepared to answer some of your questions about membership in our church and to inform you about our fellowship. If you have further questions we would be happy to discuss them with you!
Pastor Rod Harris
Why did God ordain the church? The Bible refers to the church in several ways. The church is the body of Christ, a building made up of living stones, a holy habitation, God’s household, the people of God, and the family of God.
The word for church used in the New Testament is “ecclesia” which means “the called out ones.” The church is made up of those called out from the world to live unto God as His own unique people bought by the death of His own Son.
As such we are called to share our gifts, our skills, and our talents with each other to enable the body of Christ to grow up in all aspects unto Him. We are called to be rightly related to God and to one another.
No believer is called to a life of isolation. Our faith is indeed personal but it is not private! We are part of a community – the church. We have an obligation to encourage and support one another in the faith.
The purpose of our fellowship is summed up in our mission statement:
“Trinity Baptist Church affirms God’s call to assist individuals in discovering life in Christ; in developing a vibrant, living faith; and in discerning their unique mission within the body of Christ.”
We seek to fulfill that mission by being:
- A worshiping fellowship, where Christ-centered worship is the central theme. Worship founded upon the preaching of the Gospel of grace and reverence for the presence of the living God.
- A loving fellowship, where the love of Christ is not just a sacred truth but a living reality demonstrated in the life of the membership.
- A witnessing and mission-minded fellowship, where a burden for the lost permeates all that we do. Where individuals seek to reach the lost next-door as well as around the world.
- A dynamic fellowship, where we are bound by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, but not by tradition, public opinion, the latest fad, or the status quo.
While it is true we have no direct scriptural command to “join a church” it is clear from the New Testament church membership existed. Phrases such as “when the whole church was assembled” and the apostle Paul’s admonition to expel the immoral brother (1 Corinthians 5:1-13) imply there was some formal commitment. But let me suggest two additional reasons.
First, church membership is a formal way of identifying with a particular group of people. By your action you are saying, “I want to let the world know I am part of this group, this body of believers.”
Second, church membership is a formal way of identifying with a particular body of truth or doctrine. By joining a church you are saying, “I stand in agreement with the doctrines and teachings of this church.”
The basic doctrinal statements of our church are reflected in the Baptist Faith and Message, which is the confessional statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. Our statement includes:
The Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
There is one living and true God, eternally co-existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, perfectly satisfied the righteous demands of God and gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
All men are sinners by nature and by choice and are therefore under condemnation; salvation is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.
Jesus Christ is the founder of His church and that church consists of those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit; the most visible expression of the church being the local body of believers.
There are two ordinances given to the church, baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord Jesus, according to His own promise, is coming again in power and great glory for the consummation of His eternal purpose when this world will end and a new age will begin.
- By profession of faith and baptism.
- By baptism in our church when coming from another denomination.
- By transfer of membership from another Southern Baptist Church.
- By statement when coming from a church of “like faith and order” or a previous membership in another Southern Baptist Church.
We are excited to welcome those who desire to be a part of our church family. Because we believe church membership is an important commitment on our part as well as on your part, adequate time will be taken to inform you about our church, its doctrines, programs and philosophy of ministry. We also want to get to know you! Thus while you may present yourself in any worship service, memberships are voted on in our quarterly business meetings. If you would like more information about church membership, express your desire to one of our staff and arrangements will be made to assist you in any way we can.
While the church has a responsibility to serve its members, the member has a responsibility to the church as well. There are four specific responsibilities a member has toward the church:
- Attendance: The Scripture teaches us the importance of meeting together regularly (Hebrews 10:25). We need each other. As part of this body and fellowship you have a responsibility to meet with your church family.
- Prayer: As a part of this church you have a responsibility to pray for the church and its ministries. Pray for the pastor and staff. Pray for those in leadership. Pray for direction. Pray for the peace, the well-being and the spiritual growth of the membership. Your prayers are essential to the health of this body.
- Giving: Part of your responsibility to the church is to give of your time and resources. Members should give a tithe (10% of their income) to the work and ministry of the church, as well as other gifts and offerings for various works. No one will contact you asking for money, but it is expected that those who are part of the church will support the work of the church with their giving.
- Participation: Stewardship includes more than financial support. It includes the giving of ourselves in service to the Lord and His church. The Holy Spirit has gifted each believer and part of your responsibility is the use of those gifts in the building up of the body of Christ.
While our responsibility to you as a member covers many areas, here are just a few:
- To teach and preach the Gospel in ways that will facilitate your spiritual growth and equip you for service and ministry.
- To provide structure for corporate worship.
- To provide opportunities for involvement in missions, evangelism and outreach.
- To provide opportunities for fellowship with the members of the body of Christ.
- To stand with you, regardless of your circumstances. We pledge to weep with you when you weep and rejoice with you when you rejoice. We are committed to love you unconditionally. The church should be the one place where you can be yourself and we love you anyway!
“Contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.” Jude 3
Southern Baptists believe the Bible. Historically, Southern Baptists have been known for believing that the Word of God is without error and that it is sufficient to guide us into the truth. Each Southern Baptist church is autonomous, so no one person or organization tells a church what they should believe, but, over the years, Southern Baptists have adopted doctrinal confessions. Currently, The Baptist Faith and Message of 2000 is the confessional statement adopted by our church. We also affirm the great doctrinal statements of the ancient church as well as historic Baptist confessions.
Baptist confessions of faith throughout the centuries have reflected the orthodox teaching concerning the person of Jesus Christ – He is the unique, eternal God-man. This means He is fully God and fully man. They have also reflected biblical teaching regarding the Trinity, the doctrines of sin and salvation, as well as church order, evangelism, and missions.
A Southern Baptist church is composed of professing believers only. Therefore, Southern Baptists do not practice infant baptism, but practice the New Testament example of believers baptism by immersion. A Southern Baptist becomes a member of Christ’s church through a public profession of faith in Christ at baptism.
A Southern Baptist church is an evangelical church. An evangelical believes one is made right with God by what Christ has done on their behalf, rather than what that person does on behalf of God. This is “good news,” which is the definition of evangel. Being evangelical also means communicating the Gospel to everyone, in order to bring salvation to everyone who believes.
A more full statement of our beliefs is summed up in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.
View a side-by-side comparison of the 1925, 1963, and the 2000 editions of the BF&M.