Victor G. Sholar, a St. Louis, MO native, is the son of Sharon Shelton-Sholar and the late Victor Sholar. He is married to the Athena L. Scholar and is the proud father of four sons: Jonathan, Josiah, Jeremiah, and Joshua.
Pastor Sholar graduated from Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1996 receiving a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and began his professional career in government administration. During this time the Lord placed a higher calling on him to serve as the Campus Director of the Baptist Student Union where he taught bible study for Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Heeding the Lord's call, after much prayer and counsel, he resigned from this position and moved his family to California to attend the Master's Seminary in Sun Valley, California.
Pastor Sholar was licensed for gospel ministry by Pastor Wayne Cooper of Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Pasadena, CA in March 2003. He graduated from the Master's Seminary in 2004 and received a Master's of Divinity Degree and shortly thereafter, the Lord blessed him to become Associate Pastor at the Los Angeles Community Bible Church (LACBC) while also serving as a Bible instructor at the Los Angeles Bible Training School (LABTS) wheer he served in these two positions for 6 years. He was ordained during this tenure.
On the night of April 26th, 2010, the Lord sovereignly and graciously moved upon the hearts of the saints of Main Street Baptist Church, to extend the call to Victor G. Sholar to become its 15th Pastor. After praying to his Father in Heaven, he was humbled, honored and happy to accept this calling. As Main Street Baptist Church begins her next chapter, Pastor Victor G. Sholar looks forward to continuing the legacy of the pastors that have come before him in presenting... "every man complete in Christ..." (Col. 1:28).
ARTICLE II… OUR BASIC DOCTRINAL POSITIONING (“ WHAT WE BELIEVE”)
Below is a combination of excerpts from the Baptist Statement of Faith coupled with excerpts of teachings of the Doctrines of Grace. This is intended to give the reader a general overview of the basic tenets of our faith, that are taught and nurtured at Main Street Baptist Church.
I. THE SCRIPTURES
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. The Bible is the Word of God. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
There is one and only one living and true God. The very essence of God’s being is Spirit. God is Sovereign. That simply means that He can do what He wants to do; when He wants to do it; to whom He want to do it and how he want to do it. God is self-existent, self-sufficient, unlimited, infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, for He is eternal. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God of the Bible, reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personhood attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. In other words, the one God is three personed, existing all at the same time and enjoying a personal relation with each other. God’s New Testament name is Father, Son, and Holy spirit. (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2). This three-in-oneness concept of God distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. The term “ Trinity” is used to describe this three-in-oneness, though the term is not in the bible.
A. GOD - THE FATHER
God, as Father, ( first person of the “Trinity”) reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. In redemption, the father foreordained the work of redemption of the Son as Savior of an elect group out of every nation, tribe, and tongue as recipients of grace, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God in Sovereign choice through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all his creation, but particularly so to His elect and adopted children.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17-20; 1 John 5:7.
B. GOD - THE SON
Christ ( the second person of the “Trinity”) is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He became the God-man, fully God and fully man. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross. He completed His mission to redeem all of the elect of God. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, the God-man. In His Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
C. GOD- THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit, ( the third person of the “ Trinity”) is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His indwelling- presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers his church, the body of believers, in worship, evangelism, and service.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.
First of all, man was created by God. He is not, therefore, the evolutionary product of blind chance. Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. Scripture teaches that God created them, male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man (Adam, who is the federal head of the human race) sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan, man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherited a fallen nature in a fallen environment, captive in the bondage of sin. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, from our human perspective, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
IV. THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE
Because of the fall, man is unable, in his own natural condition, to come to a saving knowledge of God. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not--indeed he cannot--choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ--it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to in order to effect salvation, but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation--it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.
Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-10
God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected, He brings, through the power of the Holy Spirit to a willing submission to Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.
Romans 9:10-21, Ephesians 1:4-11, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 8:29-30, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48
Christ's redeeming work was intended to save God’s elect and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary atonement for the penalty of sin in the place of elect sinners whose names are written in Book of Life from the foundation of the world. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which united them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died.
Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, Philippians 1:6, John 10:11-30, John 17:6-12, Romans 8:28-30, John 6:44, Acts 20:28
God has ordained that the gospel must be preached. The human vessel does not know whom God has elected for salvation, so the gospel is to be preached to everyone. In His sovereignty, God, through the power of the gospel and the workings of the Holy Spirit, extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The general summons (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the effectual call cannot be rejected, and it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.
John 3:16, Matthew 22:14, Acts 17:29-31, Matthew 23:37-39, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.
John 3:16, John 6:35-40, John 6:44, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Jude 24-25, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:35-39
V. THE CHURCH
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers. So the Main Street Baptist Church is an autonomous body of believers. A church is not simply a conglomerate or assembly of people. It is an assembly of people who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The first church was made of those “that gladly received His word” ( Acts 2:41), those “that believe” ( Acts 2:44) and those “ who are saved”
( Acts 2:47). In Paul’s writings to the churches he addressed them as “ the called of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:6), “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus” and who “ call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:2) He calls them “ saints” ( 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph 1:1), “ the faithful brethren in Christ” ( Col 1:2). All of these expressions indicate that the churches were made up of people who believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This is our creed at Main Street Baptist Church. Additionally, the church is a spiritual organism, not merely an organization. This implies that as a church we march to the beat of a different drummer. Our methods, practices, and policies will in many cases differ from the norms of our worldly society.
Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord and to each other as brothers and sisters. If one looks with spiritual eyes one can see the essence of the “cross” in the fiber of the very intent of the church, vertically and horizontally.
The scriptural officers of the church are Pastors / Elders and Deacons. At Main Street Baptist Church we hold to this biblical teaching.
VI. BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his / her faith in the final resurrection of the dead.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. This is commanded by our Lord to do this in remembrance of Him.
Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
VII. THE LORD'S DAY
Every day is a day that the Lord has made in which we can and should honor and worship God. However, following New Testament teaching, the time set up as the day that the local body assembles for the purpose of corporate worship is the first day of the week. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with christian conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.
VIII. LAST THINGS
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, and according to the sequence given in scripture, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly and in glory. According to God’s Sovereign order, the dead will be raised; the righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever with the Lord; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
IX. EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
Firstly, the church has a mission to the world. Here the church’s primary mission is the proclamation of the gospel in evangelism as dictated by the Great Commission ( Matt 28:19-20) Secondly, the church has a mission to itself. This mission is that of edification of one another. It refers to the building and developing the members in the life and faith ( Eph. 4:16; 1 Cor. 14:26). Every individual member has a responsibility or part to play in edifying the whole body. This is done through, teaching, exhorting, encouraging and comforting one another. This concept is clearly pointed to in our Church Vision in Article I.
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Each church should have an adequate system of Christian education so as to effectively complete spiritual nurturing for Christ's people. Main Street Baptist Church has many avenues for education for all age groups such as: Sunday School (all ages), Tuesday Church Bible Studies (noon and pm), Brotherhood, Women’s Missionary Circles, and Youth and Childrens’ Meetings.
Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.
XI. THE CHRISTIAN AND THE SOCIAL ORDER
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose all things which oppose the Word of God.
XII. THE FAMILY
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. There is an ordained order with roles as defined by God. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7
XIII. BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP
God works by plans. He has a plan for everything. He had a plan when He made the universe. He had a plan when He created man, and He had a plan for the human family on the earth. He had a plan of salvation and a plan for the work of His church. He had a plan also for the financing of the great program that He gave His church to do.
God gives only one plan of church finance in the Bible, and that is tithes and sacrificial offerings from His people. The tithe is the tenth, meaning that God’s people are to bring a tenth of their incomes to the Lord and his work. Offerings are the amounts that are given above the tenth. This is the plan that God teaches in His Word, and it is the one scriptural plan that will work as the people of God trust Him and are obedient.
Article III…Church Membership
All Christians are members of the Universal Church, meaning the body of Christ, but relationship with and ministry under that label is difficult if not impossible. Local churches are the tangible expressions of how the body of Christ is manifested in this world. Individual believers can participate and serve Christ in the local church in more concrete ways.
The Main Street Baptist Church is an autonomous congregational body under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership, lead by the Pastor, assisted by the Elders and Deacons, retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of the church, bowing only to the Word of God.
Section 1: Church Membership - General
A Biblical Reason: Scripture teaches that in Christ, we who are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:5). Membership in Main St. Baptist Church is therefore open to all who profess faith in Jesus Christ and believe the basic teachings of the Christian faith.
A Cultural Reason: Commitment sends a message to our society. We live in an age where very few want to be committed to anything: a job…a marriage…our country. This attitude has even produced a generation of “church shoppers and hoppers.” Membership swims against the current of America’s “consumer religion.” Membership is an unselfish decision. Commitment always builds character.
A Practical Reason: Membership defines who can be counted upon. Every team must have a roster. Every school must have an enrollment. Every army has an enlistment. Even our country takes a census and requires voter registration. Membership identifies our family.
A Personal Reason: Membership produces spiritual growth. The New Testament places a major emphasis on the need for Christians to be accountable to each other for spiritual growth. You cannot be accountable when you’re not committed to any specific church family.
So, having said that, we must also realize that there is more to being part of a church than having your name in the directory. Church membership viewed biblically is an obligation of discipleship and love that derives from being united with Christ by grace through faith, and from the discipline that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed to the church, to preserve its orderliness, purity and peace.
Membership, in this sense, is assumed throughout the New Testament, and taught explicitly. For example, Paul teaches that Christians are members of one another as well of Christ, and that this unity is visible and practical in the church. He likens the visible church to a physical body of which Christ is the head, to which believers are joined and held together by love.
The difference between “members” and “attendees” can be summed up in one word: commitment. It’s like the difference between couples who just live together and those who get married. While becoming a Christian means to commit yourself to Christ, becoming a church member means to commit yourself to other Christians, specifically, the Main St. Baptist Church body.
Membership in Main Street Baptist Church may be obtained :
A) Upon profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, giving testimony of a change of heart and following in obedience by believers baptism, as prescribed in Acts 8: 26-39.
B) By promise of a letter from a church of like faith and order showing them to be in fellowship and good standing. They shall be under the watch-care of the church until their letter is received. Following a proper letter they shall then be brought into full membership.
C) By statement of prior conversion experience and baptism by immersion in a church whose beliefs and practices are in accordance with this local church, but no letter is to be obtained. (This is generally known as by Christian Experience)
Additionally, an individual can request to be placed under the watch-care of our church. This means the person requesting watch-care remains a member of another church but is under our watch-care while at our church. This person does not have the rights of membership for voting purposes but will be allowed to participate and serve in church ministries. [This case is often with students attending school and or those on temporary work assignments who want to worship and serve in a church while away from their home church].
Each new member, depending upon their mode of entry as a new member is placed under the Church Elder responsible for New Members , to determine what training/ orientation is needed.
That training is then delivered in the New Members Class, prior to the official fellowship into the church body.
Section 2: Membership Responsibilities
Earlier in Section 1, the need for individual commitment was mentioned. So, while all are invited to attend, members make a formal commitment to the church. That commitment includes:
1. Regular attendance of Sunday worship. Exceptions would include illness, necessary work, and being out of town. (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:24-25).
Members attend and participate. In the New Testament, the church met each week on the Lord's Day. A minimal level of participation is expected and needed by members. For example, if a person attended only 75% of the time, it would be the equivalent of missing three months out of the year. There are few legitimate reasons to not attend church. Sickness, or being out of town are two that come to mind.
2. Participation in the ministry by serving (Romans 12:6-8; 1Co 12:4-11; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
Members are expected to serve in the local church in some way. Service may be in many forms. Service along the line of one’s spiritual giftedness and talents would be a good guide as to the place /point of service. By prayerfully surveying the various ministries / needs of the church one can easily find a place to render service, guided by the Holy Spirit.
3. Participation in the ministry through biblical financial contribution.
Biblical giving is to be regular, proportional, and offered in faith. A tithe (10% of one's income) is considered a biblical baseline. Additional, sacrificial offerings is also key to biblical giving. [ Pastor Sholar’s sermons of Sept. 7, 2014 and Sept. 14, 2014 speak directly to this matter]
New Testament giving is not to be under obligation but according to spiritual maturity. After being blessed by God, we are to give freely as we purpose within our hearts. The tithe becomes our training wheels in giving. We are to give as God has blessed us. We give with the biblical understanding that everything that we have comes from God and we cannot beat God in giving.
4. Receiving the Lord's Supper regularly and frequently (Luke 22:19-20).
It is our tradition to monthly observe the Lord’s Supper. Every member should give priority to this time, in obedience to scripture and in remembrance of Christ.
5. Understanding of and commitment to the Vision / Mission of Main Street Baptist Church. (See Home Page)
6. Willingness to submit to the spiritual leadership of the Elders of the church as they submit to God and the scriptures. (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-5)
The members of the church are to submit to the God-ordained leadership of the church regarding issues of the church, as the leaders submit to the Lord. The church leaders have no desire nor right to dictate personal issues not expressly addressed in scripture. Their responsibility is to point people to the Lord and to His Word.
7. A desire to be held accountable by the church, including church discipline if necessary. (Proverbs 18:1; Matthew 18:15-20; James 5:16-20)
If the leadership of the church, out of concern for a member, approaches a member about an issue in his / her life, the member needs to be reminded that this caring action was invited by becoming a member and under the auspices of what the Bible teaches. The person should also realize that the Elders do not take such action lightly, and have spent much time in prayer beforehand.
Section 3. Maintaining the Integrity of the Church Roll
Following the teaching of Heb 10:25 where we are instructed to “not forsake the assembly of ourselves together” it is expected that true members of Main Street Baptist Church, have a love and desire to regularly attend, support, and serve .
Therefore, if a member is noted to have been absent from church services / activities for a period of three months, without notification from the individual member or a sufficient reason designated, the Church leadership may place the member’s name on the” inactive status” through the church office. ( No vote is required.)
It is not the intent of the church to maintain an inactive file for any extended period of time. Therefore, the church will attempt to bring a person of inactive status current. The church will continuously lift them up in prayer in hopes to minister them back to active worship and fellowship with the Body. After an additional three months with no commitment response, then the individual will be dismissed from the Main Street Baptist Church roll. (No vote is required.)
Inactive members lose the privilege to cast votes in any church business meeting nor can an inactive member hold any office specified to be filled by members, such as Deacon.
An inactive member can be reconsidered for active status at the recommendation of the Pastor, Elders, or Deacon body. Reinstatement, based upon the direction of Church leadership, may need to be accompanied by counseling, or training or any other help that can be ministered to benefit the member in kingdom business.
Special exemption to the tenets of this section shall be given to the following:
a) Members on the sick list and shut in list
b) Students and military personnel and special employment situations, whose status takes them away from the opportunity to have regular attendance with our congregation. ( Notification to the church office is required)
- Members in the above categories will be exempt from being considered an inactive member, while in that status.
Article IV… Church Policy Letters
Policy Letter No. 001 (Policy date: as of April 9, 2011)
Wedding Policy of Main Street Baptist Church
We, the Pastor and Elders of the Main Street Baptist Church, believe that marriage is a God ordained covenant relationship between a man and woman, which is meant to reflect the mystery of the glorious union between Jesus Christ and His church ( Eph 5:31-32). It is therefore our endeavor to provide guidelines to ensure that the wedding procedures at Main Street Baptist Church reflect the level of sanctity and orderliness pleasing to the God who created this blessed institution. Underneath that premise, the following statements apply:
The ministers of Main Street will encourage members of other church congregations to get married under the watchful care of their pastor. We will not assume responsibility for individuals who are under the leadership of another pastor.
Those who wish to get married at Main Street must notify the church office at least six (6) months to a year in order to confirm whether the wedding date is available.
No minister of Main Street will marry a couple whose current lifestyles are in violation of Holy Scripture. (1 Thess. 4:3-7; 1 Cor. 6:12-20)
No minister of Main Street will marry a couple if it is discovered that one is an unbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
No other minister besides the ministers of Main Street may conduct a wedding ceremony on church premises unless agreed upon by the pastor months in advance. In such cases, counseling concerns shall be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Couples must agree to at least 6-8 sessions of pre-marital counseling by the MSBC minister with the understanding that the wedding date must be considered tentative upon the successful completion of counseling sessions.
A minister of Main Street has the right to discontinue pre-marital counseling or cancel a wedding ceremony if there are legitimate grounds that a couple is unfit to be married in the eyes of God.
All members of Main Street must pay a fee ($100) for janitorial services concerning events/activities associated with the wedding.
All couples are to consult the Minister of Music well in advance of the ceremony with a suggested list of music to be performed vocally and instrumentally to ascertain if the music is biblically appropriate in glorifying God. The couple will have the financial responsibility of selecting the instrumentalist(s) and vocalist(s) for the rehearsal/ceremony; and, as these persons do not have to be staff people, they do have to be submitted for the Minister of Music’s awareness/approval. Music should be presented to the instrumentalist(s) and vocalist(s) far enough in advance that adequate preparation may be made.
Additionally, the attire for those participating in the wedding must be modest and of good taste, as this ceremony is to take place in the House of the Lord. Often what is acceptable in our worldly culture in not appropriately reverent for the event of holy matrimony. To this end, we seek to honor the Name of Christ Jesus.
If the couple would like to use the kitchen/fellowship hall area please advise once the scheduled date has been confirmed and someone will contact them with instructions on use of the facility, proper functionality and clean-up.
All couples who wish to utilize the fellowship hall (either at the Main House or Chapel) are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages, play inappropriate music, or engage in immodest and sexually suggestive dance.
There should also be coordination with the Broadcast Ministry of the Main Street Baptist Church for proper use of the sound system. Additionally, any video-taping requests must be made 30 days in advance with a cost of $250.
Services for Non-members are performed on an exception-only basis and must be approved by the Pastor.
Non-members: Couples who are not professing Christians nor meet the biblical guidelines for marriage—said couples will not be given in marriage on church grounds
Non-members: Couples who have pastoral approval must agree to pay a fee ($100) for the officiating minister and a $400 fee for the use of the church facilities (which includes payment for janitorial services).
Policy Letter No. 003 (Policy date: as of June 25, 2015)
MSBC - - Funeral Policy
The purpose of this Policy Letter is to document and to communicate the position of Main Street Baptist Church as it relates to funerals that are conducted on our church premises.
First of all, we acknowledge that , even for Christians, experiencing the death of a loved one is a difficult time. In our humanity, we grieve the loss of our loved ones, but we do not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). It is through the Word of God that we have hope in times like these ( Romans 15:4b).
It is important that we issue this policy letter so that in the time of a family’s bereavement we are clear how our church will be of service to them.
Funeral Services… general
The right/benefit of having one’s funeral at Main Street Baptist Church comes with being a member of our church. Therefore, all funeral services occur at the express permission of the Pastor.
Who is a member, indeed? Being a member in good standing of Main Street Baptist Church must be clearly understood. Article III in this handbook has been written for this very purpose, with three sections:
(1) Church Membership -- General
(2) Membership Responsibilities
(3) Maintaining the Integrity of the Church Roll
So, a member in good standing is one who embodies the criteria for membership outlined in Article III.
Funeral services for non-members and for those individuals deemed inactive are at the discretion of the Pastor.
Date and Time of Funerals
Dates and times for funeral at MSBC are to be arranged in consultation with the Pastor / pastoral staff based on availability and the preferences of the deceased’s family. Funeral services will need to be planned around already scheduled events.
Who will Officiate?
Who officiates a funeral at MSBC is under the total scrutiny of the Pastor. Any requests for another pastor or minister to officiate or assist in the service must be approved by Pastor.
Structure of the Funeral Service
A funeral service at MSBC is a service of worship whereby we honor and praise God, and bow to His Sovereignty in all matters, even the death of our loved ones. The liturgy of the funeral service and the burial service takes on the form of a basic worship service. The gospel is preached and the family of the deceased is pointed to Christ Jesus for help and comfort.
Additionally, members--during the course of their lives—may be involved in various social organizations. Quite often there are requests for these social organizations to be involved in funeral services. This is scrutinized closely by the Pastor &, Elders —who have the oversight in such matters. Therefore, any organizations or groups of individuals that by charter/organizational beliefs/mandates do not square with written scripture will not be allowed to participate in the funeral services on Main Street Baptist Church premises.
Only music appropriate to a worship service shall be used. The Minister of Music of MSBC must be consulted. Taped instrumental and accompaniment music, soloists, solos, musicians and all matters musically, must have the approval of the Minister of Music.
Families may wish to display the deceased’s remains, as well as certain photographs of the deceased and his family. The following guidelines apply is these situations:
- Any displays or pictures must be appropriate to a worship setting.
- No nails, tacks, staples or screws shall be put into the walls or attached to the pews
- All decorations must be removed within 3 hours of the conclusion of the service.
- No furniture shall be removed from the church building.
Only fresh cut flowers and planters may be used in the sanctuary.
The MSBC family will do everything reasonably possible to accommodate a member’s request for a family meal following a funeral service. The meal is prepared under the direction of the church’s Funeral Meal Ministry.
There is no fee charged for this meal ministry. Members of the church provide this service as a ministry of Christian love.
The church does not provide a nursery for funeral services.