What We Believe
STATEMENT OF FAITH AND PRACTICE
Below is our Statement of Faith and Practice.
It is written in a format that can be used in a local church.
A number of our member churches have adopted this document.
- That the Holy Bible is divinely inspired (God-breathed), both the Old and the New Testaments. God’s Word is one of the main ways He communicates with His children, reveals Himself and shows His ways. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; I Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
- In one God, revealed in three Persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our God, Creator, holy and omnipotent, desires relationship with men, women, boys and girls everywhere. (Matthew 3:16-17 & 23-29; John 17)
- That Man, in his natural state, is a sinner, lost, undone, without hope, and without God. We also believe that man can be forgiven and know God through Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:19-23; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:1, 2, 12)
- In the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus Christ; that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is God come in the flesh, born of a virgin, and that He is both divine and human. He came, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died on the cross, and rose from the dead that we might be restored to a relationship with God. He did all of this so that we might live out God’s destiny and plan for our lives. (Matt. 27:1-26; Luke 1:26-38, John 14:1-3, Acts 2:36-3:14, Philippians 2:5-12, Hebrews 1:3-15)
- In the Blood Atonement; that the blood of Jesus Christ has the power to save, and His righteousness is given (or imputed) to all who believe in Him. There is no sin too great that His blood is not sufficient to cleanse and forgive. (Acts 4:12, Romans 4:1-9 & 5:1-11; Ephesians 1:3- 15)
- In the Bodily Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ; that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and was resurrected in the same body in which he was crucified. He then descended into Hell to witness to those captive and then ascended to the Father and is presently seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. (Luke 24:39-42; John 20:24-29; John 14:1-6; Romans 8:34)
- In the Second Coming, the visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ to this earth to gather His Church (His Bride) and judge the living and dead. (Acts 1:10-11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; James 5:8; Revelation 1:7). (Note: It is not necessary that we all believe alike concerning whether He will return before, during or after the Great Tribulation.)
- In Salvation. We believe that the terms of salvation are repentance toward God for sin and a personal, heartfelt faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, resulting in the regeneration (new birth) of a person. Good works are not a condition of salvation; rather, they are the fruit of salvation. This salvation is entirely by grace of our Lord and not by any good thing we do. Salvation is a love gift from God, whose love is unconditional. (Acts 3:19-20; Romans 4:1-5 & 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-10) 6
- In the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit’s purposes in redeeming man are: to convict him of sin, to regenerate (give new birth to) the repentant believer, to guide the believer in understanding the Holy Scriptures, and to indwell and give gifts to believers as He wills, that they may minister as Christ would. Further, we believe that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, shall operate in present day churches that yield to the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe a believer can be baptized in the Holy Spirit during the time Jesus is regenerating him, or any time subsequent to his regeneration experience. We believe that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (with an evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance) is for all believers as promised in Scripture by John the Baptist, witnessed by the early disciples of Christ, and is evidenced in the lives of many present day believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. What a great privilege to have the Holy Spirit empower and lead us into the plan and will of God for our lives! (Luke 11:13; John 7:37-39; 14:16-17; Acts 2:39-48; Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:4,5,8; Acts 10:44-47)
- In Heaven and Hell. The Holy Scriptures clearly set forth the doctrines of eternal punishment for the lost and eternal bliss and salvation for the saved – Hell for the unsaved and Heaven for the saved. We also believe that no man has to go to hell – Jesus made the provision that all people, everywhere, can be saved from an eternity without Christ and live in heaven forever. The Bible says that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. That means anyone! (Matthew 25:34, 41, 46; Luke 16:19-31; John 14:1-3; Revelation 20:11-15)
- In the Local Church. We believe that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a Local Expression of a Body of Believers who have been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; who are under recognized, delegate authorities; and who assemble to worship, carry forth the Great Commission and minister as the Holy Spirit leads. (Matthew 16:18, 28:19-20; Acts 2:40- 47; 20:28; Ephesians 5:22-32; I Timothy 3:15)
- In a Separated Life. We believe that believers should seek, as the early disciples did, to practice the separated life from the world and unto Jesus Christ and to set standards of conduct which shall exalt our Lord and edify His church. (Romans 12:1-3; II Corinthians 6:17; Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 5:11; Colossians 3:17)
- In Divine Healing. We believe that God does use doctors, medicines and other material means for healing. However, we believe divine healing has been provided for us in the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. Divine healing may be received through the laying on of hands by Elders, laying on of hands by believers, by the prayer of an anointed person gifted for healing the sick, by the anointing with oil and the prayer of faith, or by a direct act of faith where the believer receives healing directly from the Lord Jesus Christ without ministry from anyone else. (Isaiah 52:5; James 5:14-16; Mark 16:18; I Corinthians 12:9; Mark 11:23)
- In the Ordinances of the Church. We believe there are two ordinances of the Church as set by the Lord Jesus Christ: Water baptism and Communion(The Lord’s Supper). (Matthew 3:15-16 & 28:19-20; Acts 8:38; Romans 6:1-4; Luke 22:13-20)
- In Biblical Marriage. As the creator and author of marriage, God alone has the authority to define it. This He did in Genesis where God, having created both male and female in His image, brought them together personally and a benediction was pronounced over the couple; “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” For this reason, Christian believers now hold, and have always held, that marriage is: a faithful, exclusive, covenantal, lifelong relationship between one man and one woman, as 7 instituted by God for the purpose of producing godly offspring, and being a true representation of the nature of God’s relationship with mankind. It is sealed by the exchange of covenant vows, and is intended for the whole of natural life, until death. (Genesis 1:26, 2:28; Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:1-10; Ephesians 5:22-25; Hebrews 13:4)
- In the Sanctity of Marriage. Not only does God ordain marriage, but He also established and outlined the confines for sexual relations within this marriage relationship. According to Scripture, any sexual activity, mental or physical, outside of Biblical marriage, is considered to be sexual immorality. Sexual immorality includes, but is not limited to sexual contact or relations with the following: anyone outside of or prior to marriage, parents, siblings, children, another’s spouse, animals, dead people, or those of the same sexual gender. Pornography, sexting, virtual sex —looking at or distributing to others—is included in the mental aspect of sexual immorality. (Leviticus 18; I Corinthians 5, Exodus 20, Matthew 5:27, and 19:1-10)
- In the Government of the Church. We believe that the New Testament Church should be apostolic in nature and governed by delegated authorities. Those authorities at New Covenant Church are the Elders and Pastors with trans-local apostolic oversight. We understand and believe that God’s order of government for the local church is one of the church being birthed under the oversight of an apostolic ministry with the elders and pastors being raised up under the oversight of that apostle. Once that level of local church government is established, the church operates in an autonomous manner under the oversight of an apostle in an on-going relationship. This relationship is to be one by mutual consent of the apostle and the pastor and elders of the local church. (Acts 6:1-7, 15:6-29, Ephesians 4:7-11; Titus 1:5-9; I Timothy 3:1-13)
- In the Priesthood of the Believer. We believe that each believer is a priest of the Lord Jesus Christ and has direct access to the Father through the Lord Jesus. Each person must believe for himself, be baptized for himself, obey for himself and answer to the Creator for himself. (Revelation 1:6; I Peter 2:9)
- In Tithes and Offering. We believe that God’s plan of finance for His work is by tithes and offerings, given cheerfully, and that it is a joy for His children to acknowledge His Lordship in this manner. (Malachi 3:6-12; Genesis 14:17-20; Hebrews 7:1-10; Matthew 23:23; II Corinthians 8 & 9; Acts 20:35)
- In Christ-likeness. We desire that by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ love, mercy, grace, truth, purity, power, and integrity would shine through all that we are and all we do. (Ephesians 5:2; Galatians 5:16-26)
- In Being Spirit-led. We honor Jesus as our Head and the Holy Spirit as our Counselor, teacher, and Helper. The Holy Spirit will abide in us forever. We seek to be responsive to the Holy Spirit in life and ministry. (John 14:16-17; Colossians 1:15-18; Romans 8:14)
- In Covenant Relationships. We are honored by every person and group with whom God allows us to work and relate. We aim to work together to build the church by maintaining mutual respect, open communication, determined cooperation, and believing and speaking the best about each other. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
- In Discipleship. We desire for every individual to grow as a disciple (learner and follower) of Christ and to make disciples of others. (Matthew 28:18-20) 8
- In the Individual. Single or married, we honor whatever gift, calling or anointing each person enjoys. We respect unique ministries in the Body of Christ and work not to overshadow, minimize or discount them. (Romans12:9-10; I Cor. 12:1-11; Eph. 4:11)
- In Integrity. It is important for us to speak the truth, have honest dealings, and live uprightly. (Ephesians 4:15)
- In the Kingdom of God. We aim to move in the signs of the present fulfillment of the kingdom, desiring the Spirit’s powerful presence, ministering through the Spirit’s gifts, and seeing God heal and work wonders. (Mark 1:14-15)
- In the Mercy and Grace of God. We believe that grace and mercy are fundamental to all that God does in salvation. We, therefore, aim to live a life of grace, extending mercy to one another and those to whom we minister. (Colossians 3:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-10)
- In Prayer. We believe that prayer is essential as our primary means of communion with God, as well as God’s primary means of accomplishing His purposes in the world. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:6)
- In the Pursuit of God. We are hungry to know God’s presence, hear His voice and follow hard after Him. (Psalm 63:1-3)
- In Reality and Excellence. We desire to walk in the Spirit and see real, supernatural works of God. We aim also to function in excellence and wisdom. (James 1:5)
- In Servant Leadership. We believe that Christ has put significant leadership and spiritual responsibility into the hands of church leaders. We aim to exercise that authority in caring for God’s people with humility, selflessness, grace, and a sincere desire to build up the Body of Christ. (Mark 10:37, 45; Eph. 4:11-16)
- In Simplicity. We wish to do nothing for “religious effect” but rather to operate in natural lowkey, non-hype patterns. We desire to do the ministry of Christ with joy. (Philippians 4:4)
- In Unity. We are convinced that all who belong to Christ are one in His body, the church. We aim to maintain unity by honoring all who call on Jesus’ name. (John 17:21-23)
SERVANT-LEADERS SENIOR PASTOR: The Senior Pastor shall be a mature person meeting the conditions of Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7. They shall serve as the chief administrative officer of the church, the president of the corporation, preside over the Elders meetings and prayerfully seek direction for the church. The primary function of the Senior Pastor is to see that all the flock under their oversight receives proper care. They shall submit their leadership to the Elders for confirmation from the Holy Spirit. They shall be a person of vision. They shall preach and teach the Word of God and give administrative oversight to persons “called to preach” to see that opportunities are given to them to practice and learn. In addition to being Senior Pastor, they shall be recognized as presiding Elder. The general direction of the church shall be the Senior Pastor’s responsibility and they shall represent the policies given by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the eldership to the church. The Senior Pastor shall communicate to the Elders the direction they feel led to lead the church so that they can pray and fast, seeking confirmation that the Senior Pastor’s vision has been inspired by the Holy Spirit.
PASTOR: The Pastor shall be a mature person who meets the conditions of Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7. They shall work under the administrative oversight of the Senior Pastor. They shall assume responsibilities as defined and agreed upon in the job description at the time the Senior Pastor and Elders confirm the relationship between the Pastor and the Church.
ASSOCIATE PASTORS: The Associate Pastor shall be a mature person who meets the conditions of Titus 1:5-9 and II Timothy 3:1-7. They shall work under the administrative oversight of the Senior Pastor and/or Pastor. They shall assume responsibilities as defined and agreed upon in the job description at the time the Senior Pastor and Elders confirm the relationship between the Associate Pastor and the Church.
APOSTLES, PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, PASTORS and TEACHERS: Ephesians 4:11-16 explains God’s plan for the development of the church through what we call the “Five-Fold Ministry.” These five offices of the ministry are ministry gifts given by God to the church to bring it to a place of maturity. A person operating in one of these offices who wishes to become a member of the church shall follow the same procedure for membership as other members.
THE APOSTLE AND THE LOCAL CHURCH: The Apostle shall serve as pastor to the senior pastor of the local church. Pastoral oversight to the pastor, including but not limited to counseling, encouraging, accountability, etc., should not be seen as an official oversight of the church itself. This relationship will be purely a voluntary connection on the part of both the senior pastor and the apostle.
- In the event that the church leadership, led by the Senior Pastor or Senior Leader of the church asks for counsel from the apostle, the apostle will then consider the request. He then may render counsel, but his counsel is not to be seen as a mandatory ruling, meaning the decision is to be indigenous to the local church leaders.
- If the office of Senior Pastor of a church is vacated and the leadership team contacts the lead apostle of CLN for assistance, any advice offered at this time is only given to assist the local elders of the church in making the decisions necessary to fill the vacancy.
ELDERS: An Elder shall be a mature person raised up into eldership by the Holy Spirit. It is the responsibility of the Senior Pastor to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit and then raise these people up into this office. They shall meet the conditions of I Timothy 3:17 and Titus 1:5-9. Elders are to be people full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, raised up by the Holy Spirit to help the Senior Pastor and staff pastors oversee the members of the local church. The eldership shall be formed by the Senior Pastor and other Elders so designated who are members of the local church. The terms bishop (episkopos) and elder (presbuteros), although different in origin, interchange in the New Testament. Episkopos is Greek in origin and has no exact equivalent in English. The literal meaning is “overseer.” The term presbuteros, meaning “elder”, is Hebrew in background. There is an interchange between “overseer” or “bishop” and “elder” in Acts 20:17, 28. Paul sent for the Elders (presbuteros) of the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:17) and admonished them as believers to “take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers (episkopos), to feed (shepherd) the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). The same interchange for elder and overseer occurs in Titus 1:5, 7. There is enough evidence to understand that elders were raised up by the Holy Spirit, were recognized as to their office by one or more of the five-fold ministries of the church (Ephesians 4), and subsequently functioned in various areas of responsibility in the local church. They assume various responsibilities to see that no one in the local body of believers is neglected. The Elders, under the covering of apostolic oversight, constitute the overseeing body of delegated authority for the local church. They serve in a “plurality” (that is, more than one in number) of eldership. Yet they do not hold co-equal authority with the Senior Pastor.
DEACONS: A Deacon shall be a mature person who meets the conditions outlined in I Timothy 3:8-13. Deacons are selected for the purpose of assisting the Senior Pastor and Elders in ministry to the needs of the church members (Acts 6:2). Areas of responsibility shall be defined by the Senior Pastor, Pastor, and Elders for each Deacon as they are raised up into their respective area of responsibility.
OTHER MINISTRIES: Other ministries not listed in this Order of Faith and Practice may be formed from time to time by the Holy Spirit. It shall be the responsibility of the Senior Pastor, Pastor, and Elders to recognize such ministries and define their functions.
CODE OF DISCIPLINE DISCIPLINE OF A CHURCH MEMBER: Discipline of a church member for immorality, heresy or causing division shall be conducted according to Matthew 18:15-17 and I Corinthians 5:1-13. The Senior Pastor, Elder or Home Church Pastor shall talk to the member privately, calling him to repentance. If the member persists in his error or sin, a second meeting shall be held with the Senior Pastor and/or Pastor and one other church leader with witnesses to the offense present. This group also calls the alleged offending member to repentance seeking restoration. If the member fails to respond to this meeting, the church may be notified of the offense and encouraged to assist in the process of restoration by encouraging repentance in the member. If no change is observed, the member shall be given 30 days to seek genuine repentance from the Lord. If no change is evident after 30 days in his attitude and behavior, he shall be notified that his name has been removed from the church roll. (Note: The Elders make it clear that they can only remove a person’s name from the church rolls and ask him not to return to the church meetings. Our Lord Jesus Christ personally maintains the “Book of Life” and He alone blots out of it. [Revelation 3:5]) Restoration of the member must always be the main thrust of discipline. (Galatians 6:1)
DISCIPLINE OF A CHURCH EMPLOYEE (Excluding Pastors): Discipline of a church employee will be conducted in the following manner: The Senior Pastor and/or Pastor will personally consult with the employee to encourage correct attitudes and behavior. If the employee is under the supervision of another employee who is in management, all consultations shall be directed through the manager in charge. The Senior Pastor and Elders will prayerfully determine what to do if the employee refuses to correct his attitude and behavior.
DISCIPLINE OF A HOME CHURCH PASTOR (or Assistant Home Church Pastor): Discipline of a Home Church Pastor shall be conducted in the following manner: The Senior Pastor, Pastor, Senior Home Church Pastor or Elder(s) will personally talk with him if there is evidence of immorality, heresy or a divisive spirit. If the Home Church Pastor does not seek to correct his behavior and attitude, the Senior Pastor and Elders shall work with the Senior Home Church Pastor to prayerfully seek the Lord concerning appropriate action.
DISCIPLINE OF A DEACON: Discipline of a Deacon will be conducted in the following manner: The Senior Pastor, Pastor or Elder(s) will personally talk with him if there is evidence of immorality, heresy or a divisive spirit. If the Deacon does not seek to correct his behavior and attitude, the Senior Pastor and Elders shall prayerfully seek the Lord concerning appropriate action.
DISCIPLINE OF AN ELDER: Discipline of an Elder for immorality, heresy or a divisive spirit will be conducted in the following manner: The Elders shall talk with the Senior Pastor and the people bringing the charges to determine if they feel the charges are warranted. The Senior Pastor and other Elders will talk to the Elder in question, encouraging an attitude of repentance in him. If the Elder in question shows no signs of repentance by correcting his behavior, the Senior Pastor and Elders shall give him 30 days to seek true repentance in his closet with the Lord. During that time, the Elder shall cease to function in all his church duties. If the Senior Pastor and Elders do not feel that proper changes in behavior and attitude are evident in the Elder after the 30-day period, he shall be expected to resign. If the elder does not resign, they 12 shall be removed by the Elders. The process of “Discipline of a Church Member” shall follow at this point.
DISCIPLINE OF A SENIOR PASTOR: Discipline of a Senior Pastor for immorality, heresy or a divisive spirit shall be conducted in the following manner: The Elders shall talk with the Senior Pastor and the one or ones bringing the charges to determine if they feel the charges against the Senior Pastor are warranted. If they are, the Elders, with apostolic oversight from the Apostolic Team, shall seek to help the Senior Pastor be reconciled to the Lord and the Church through prayer, repentance, advice and encouragement. The Apostolic Team and Elders shall determine if the Senior Pastor needs to step down from his pastoral duties until all charges are dealt with. If the Senior Pastor fails to respond with a repentant attitude, the Elders shall invite their apostolic oversight to meet with them and their Senior Pastor. The Apostolic Team shall hear from both the Senior Pastor and those bringing charges against him before any decision is made. The Elders shall follow the advice and decision of the Apostolic Team. If the Apostolic Team decides the charges are unwarranted, the Senior Pastor shall be restored in full fellowship and with all of his former responsibilities. If the Apostolic Team rules against the Senior Pastor, and if repentance is not immediate, the Apostolic Team shall give him 30 days to pray, seek the Lord and correct his behavior and attitude with repentance. During that time he shall cease to function in pastoral duties. Should the Senior Pastor fail to repent, a second session of the Apostolic Team shall be called. He shall be disciplined according to the recommendation of the Apostolic Team. In the event termination is the determined discipline, the Senior Pastor’s relationship with the church shall be terminated in a gentle and prayerful manner, seeing that proper provision is made for his family during a reasonable transition period. Travel expenses for the Apostolic Team shall be paid from the church treasury. DISCIPLINE OF
OTHER MINISTRIES IN THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRIES OF EPHESIANS 4: Shall be conducted in the same manner as that of the Senior Pastor.
DISCIPLINE OF OTHER WORKERS IN THE CHURCH: The individual (Elder, Pastor, Home Church Pastor, or Deacon) who oversees the ministry of a worker will personally talk with the worker to encourage repentance to correct unchristian behavior and attitudes. If discipline is necessary the leader shall show every consideration to the person receiving discipline, and submit the proposed discipline to the Senior Pastor and Elders for final approval.
RECEIVING CHARGES AND CRITICISM AGAINST SERVANT-LEADERS AND CHURCH MEMBERS: Criticism against any Pastor, other servant-leader in the five-fold ministries, Elder, Deacon, Home Church Pastor or Church Member shall be received only in the presence of two or three witnesses, who are not involved in criticizing the leader, according to I Timothy 5:19. The witnesses shall be the Senior Pastor and Elders. The person being criticized shall be present to hear the charges brought against him. If the charges are proven to be false, and the person bringing the criticism is found to have a divisive spirit, the one with the divisive spirit shall be disciplined according to the guidelines in this material which are commensurate with his position in the church. If charges are found to be true, the procedure for discipline of that person shall follow the guidelines in this material which are commensurate with his position in the church.
SECURING A SENIOR PASTOR, PASTOR, OR OTHER PERSONS IN PASTORAL MINISTRIES: When a Senior Pastor is present in the church, he shall seek men to serve on the pastoral staff who meet the conditions of I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. When he finds the person he prayerfully feels meets the need represented by the vacant office, he shall call the Elders into session for prayer and fasting concerning the matter. If the Holy Spirit confirms in the thinking of the Senior Pastor and Elders that the person under consideration is appointed by the Lord to that position, he shall be acknowledged as the person filling the vacant position with all the honor and respect due his office. When the office of Senior Pastor becomes vacant, the Elders shall contact the Apostle over the church. The Apostolic Team shall proceed to locate the person the Holy Spirit indicated is to be the Senior Pastor for the church. When they find the person who meets the requirements of I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 whom they feel is mature and capable of assuming the full administrative oversight of the church, the Elders shall then invite the prospective Senior Pastor to visit the church and teach the members. During the visit, the Elders shall prayerfully seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit to observe how well the prospective Senior Pastor and the members relate together. The Apostle and his team shall then meet together again to seek the mind of Christ on the matter. If no sound evidence is found to discredit the recommendation of the Apostolic Team, and if the Elders believe they have received a confirmation of the Holy Spirit regarding the candidate, the prospective Senior Pastor shall be recognized as the Senior Pastor of the Church, receiving all the honor and respect due their office. A public installation service shall be held with the Apostolic Team members and local Elders officiating.