Eastside Baptist Church has a long history of ministry and gospel proclamation. As we come to a new era in our country, where the church does not hold the value in people’s lives as it did even 10 years ago, we must ask ourselves, “who are we and what is most important?” For us, it is God and people. We desire as a church to see people connect with one another, and ultimately connect with God through faith in Jesus. We do this through, what we call, our Five Core Values:
Pray Together. The most important activity in a Christian’s daily life, but usually the most overlooked. Or, when done, feels dry and dull. God says that his house will be a house of prayer for the nations. So if we were to do only one thing really well, it should be prayer.
Worship Together. We worship God every day through our work, our interactions with others, the activities we take part in, and when we gather together on Sundays and Wednesdays (and occasionally other days of the week). The primary purpose of a Sunday morning service is not, “what can I get out of this,” but to worship God. He will take care of me if I will lay my life before him. Jesus said to take up my cross and follow after him.
Grow Together. Although the primary purpose is worshiping God, my spiritual growth is also important. We desire to see each member (and visitor) connected to a Sunday School class where you can connect with other believers who can encourage you in your faith journey. We also have Bible study and children’s activities on Wednesday nights for this purpose.
Fellowship Together. Because Baptists like to eat. Jesus ate with people, the disciples ate meals together. But fellowship is more than just eating. It is spending time with one another, getting to know one another, encouraging one another, even holding one another accountable. Fellowship and Growth are very closely connected. Because if you don’t know a person you don’t know if you can trust them; and if you can’t trust them then your ability to grow is hindered because you are not sure if you can be open and honest. We push each other in spiritual growth. And as we grow closer to God we are also growing closer to one another.
Go Together. Jesus sent out his followers in groups of two. Paul always had at least one companion with him. Very rarely do we see any of Jesus’ followers out on their own. We need each other. We support and encourage one another. And as much as we can do that here in our church buildings, we are commanded to ‘go and make disciples of all nations.’ And this can seem like a scary and daunting task, until we realize we are to go together. Whether that is across the street, to our family or coworkers, or across the world, we are not lone warriors but we go together.
Hopefully you have noticed a word that connects all of these: TOGETHER. You see, the Church is not a building (although we call it that). The Church is the body of gathered believers. I am not the church on my own, you are not the church on your own. Jesus says that where two or more are gathered in his name, he is with them. We are individually members of the body of Christ, and individually citizens of heaven and children of God. Therefore, we represent him always and everywhere. But we are the Church together.
These five things are not programs, initiatives, or schemes, because those change with time. Going all the way back to Acts 2, these are the five things that have been the core identity of the church for over 2,000 years. That is why we strive to make them the core identity of Eastside Baptist Church.
In a world where we are constantly connected, yet feel all alone, we desire to be a place for people to find support and hope and community. And to know that there is a God who knows them and loves them and is with them always.