What follows is what our church believes and what we want the city of Green Bay to know.
WE BELIEVE the Bible, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, to be divinely inspired, inerrant, and only infallible Word of God.
WE BELIEVE that there is one triune God as revealed in the Bible, eternally existent in the persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one, but distinct in person and function.
WE BELIEVE God the Father is the first person of the trinity. As infinite Spirit, He is the source, support, and end of all things. He is the creator, speaker of revelation, author of redemption, and sovereign of history.
WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is the second person of the trinity. We believe in His deity, his virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, His bodily resurrection, and His bodily ascension to the right hand of God the Father.
WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity. He is the agent of conviction, regeneration, indwelling, baptism, sanctification, and illumination of all who are born into God’s family through Jesus Christ.
WE BELIEVE the universe and everything in it was created by God in six literal days.
WE BELIEVE that salvation is the free gift of God received only by repentance and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work.
WE BELIEVE in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost. Those who are saved will be raised to eternal life, and those who are lost will be raised to eternal damnation.
WE BELIEVE that God has ordained the local church for the perpetuation of His truth and work in the world.
WE BELIEVE in the literal, visible return of our Savior, Jesus Christ for all believers. The rapture of the saints will be followed by the Lord’s wrath upon the unbelieving world.
WE BELIEVE in a personal new birth. We believe that in order to be saved from Hell, all men must be born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son. The new birth is a result of repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ.
WE BELIEVE in the blood atonement for sin. The salvation of sinners is wholly by grace, that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, shedding His blood on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice.
OUR CORE VALUES
JESUS CHRIST IS ALWAYS FIRST.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is the head of the church and that He must have the preeminence in churches. This means that He must be the first and most important among us (Colossians 1:16-18). Because He is God He deserves nothing less, so we want Him to be known and loved here. But not only that, we want Him to be in charge…and He is. He is first.
THE SCRIPTURES ARE CENTRAL AND SUFFICIENT IN LIFE AND CHURCH.
Because the Bible is God’s Word and message to us, we believe that what’s taught from our platform ought to be driven by what the Bible says. The technical term for this is exposition. It means that the man on the platform will be exposing the meaning of Bible passages for those seated in our auditorium. What could be more important than that?
Clear Bible teaching that connects with life is the only active catalyst for transforming individuals and the entire church. The Bible is sufficient to bring us to spiritual maturity (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
OUTREACH IS THE CALLING OF THE ENTIRE CHURCH.
We believe that telling people about the loving plan of our Creator is the responsibility of every person who knows Christ, so we provide materials and opportunities to make this happen. Our church foyer contains a help we call Evangelism Central, and we also provide events throughout the year that give you the opportunity to bring others to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18). The simplest definition of prayer is talking to God. Since we are totally dependent on God for everything we must be in constant communication with Him. At Bay City Baptist Church we are dedicated to bringing everything to God in prayer. Every worship service and every business meeting begins with prayer. No major decisions are ever made without seeking the Lord.
THE BIBLE TRANSLATIONS ISSUE NEEDS A BALANCED APPROACH.
We primarily use the NKJV in our ministry. We believe it’s important not to let the controversy over Bible versions become our main focus or an unnecessary point of division. We’ve decided not to make it a major issue even though we understand the manuscript issue.
We think it’s acceptable for Christians to have other translations and use them, but we also believe that we should exercise caution. The NIV, for example, is a helpful thought-for-thought paraphrase which can be helpful in reading Old Testament narratives, but it does have some problems. Click here for cautions on the NIV: www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/articles/niv.asp
The ESV differs from the NIV in that it is a literal translation. While there is some concern about some of the manuscripts used in the translation of the ESV, many have found it helpful. The New King James version (NKJV) can be helpful for those who like the King James but struggle with some of the words.
Because God did not address the issue of translations in the Bible itself, we won’t bind God by saying other translations cannot be used by Him to carry out His purposes. It’s been well-said that God has often used a crooked stick to draw a straight line. God has used many imperfect men to translate Bibles that have been used to draw many Himself.
Looking for a great study Bible? One of our favorites is the Life Application Study Bible. It comes in KJV and NKJV, and contains many helpful notes that help the reader understand the Word of God in its context.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE THIS COMMON MISTAKE.
One of the easiest mistakes to make in our walk with God is to think that if we can keep a “list” of all the “do’s and don’ts” that we’ll gain acceptance with God. It’s sad to see churches make this mistake.
God doesn’t see it that way and neither should we. When God draws us to Himself and saves us, He “declares us righteous” and accepts us. The Bible calls this justification. God didn’t say that we first had to reach a certain level of goodness and then He would love us. We came to Him just as we were.
And God did not say we need to maintain a certain level of spirituality in order to have a continuing relationship with Him. If we have put all our trust in Him, He still accepts us. Of course God wants us to obey Him and live clean, but He doesn’t write us off when we sin. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14, ESV).
Many Christians have made the mistake of “living by the list.” They have reduced their relationship with God to a list of do’s and don’ts just like the Pharisees. Christians who live like this will ultimately realize it doesn’t work, and some will end up quitting in frustration.
So, in this Green Bay church, we’re going to place the emphasis on our relationship with God.
Yes, we want to live clean. Yes, we want to please Him and walk in obedience to Him.
But we’re not going to expect that we gain status with God when we do.
WORSHIP IS NOT ABOUT THE MUSIC.
We tend to think worship is about “the music,” or “what we do at church,” but that’s not how God sees it. He wants us to worship 24/7 in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
To worship in SPIRIT is to give yourself completely to Him from your very core. He wants you, not the outward motions and rituals you reserve for Sunday only. He wants you to be engaged with Him all the time, at every moment.
It’s all about a real relationship between you and God. That’s worship in spirit. God wants you.
But we must also worship in TRUTH. What does that mean? It means that God wants us to do more than just accept the truth. We must weave that truth into daily life. We must do what we know is the truth. That’s worship in truth.
Worship in truth is living in obedience to the Lord. It has been well-said: “There is a sense in which true Christians should never not be worshiping.” Yes, that’s a double-negative, but we like that statement. Worship should encompass every minute of our lives as we give ourselves to Him. Then, when we arrive at church on Sunday, the worship that’s already been happening on the inside will spill out in praise alongside others who are doing the same.
Only authentic worship in spirit and in truth can satisfy spiritual thirst. Ask the woman at the well…she’ll tell you (John 4).
SALVATION MATTERS IN THE MIDDLE.
There’s usually a big gap of time between the day someone trusts in Christ and the day they die.
For many Christians, their salvation is reduced to those two days—the day they were born again and the day they get go to Heaven. But what about all the time in between? What happens in the gap?
Many Christians flounder day after day searching for purpose and direction. Are there answers for life’s difficulties in the gap? Does salvation make any difference after we’re saved? We believe it does.
When we understand the depth of what God did and when we connect in relationship to Jesus, every area of our life is affected. He gives us the strength to live like we’re intended to live (Hebrews 2:18).
If it still doesn’t make sense to you, you might read these: The Gospel for Real Life, by Jerry Bridges, The Cross and Salvation, by Bruce Demarest, and How People Change, by Tim Lane and Paul David Tripp.
You will never be the same when you understand everything God has done for you.
LOVING GOD AND LOVING PEOPLE MUST BE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST.
In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (NKJV).
The FIRST thing God wants us to do is to love Him. We must connect with God in a relationship. Of course this ultimately works out in obedience: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
We prove our love by doing what He asks. When we’re in a real relationship with God, doing what He asks is not a burden but a delight.
The SECOND most important thing God wants us to do is to love people. This should happen inside and outside our churches. We love people by ministering to them in many different ways. 1 Corinthians 13 makes love clear: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (NKJV). True love shows itself in many ways. Sometime true love uses pointed words of truth.
Loving God and loving people are the two greatest commands we are expected to carry out. Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). In other words, He’s saying that if we focus on doing these two things that we will essentially do all He wants us to do.
Romans 13:8, “he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
When we love God and people, all of life tends to fall into place. May the city of Green Bay see the love of God in us.
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP SHOULDN'T BE "OPTIONAL."
“There is nothing outside the Trinity itself that God loves more than the church for which He died. Sadly, many Christians don’t share Christ’s degree of affection and devotion for His [Church], and often are ashamed to identify themselves with her” (Daniel Kirk quoted in To Be or Not to Be a Church Member, by Wayne Mack). God wants us to be highly connected in authentic relationships to other believers in a church community.
We recommend two books that biblically show the importance of church membership: (1) To Be Or Not To Be a Church Member, by Wayne Mack, (2) Stop Dating the Church, by Josh Harris. You will never see church membership the same after you see what Bible says about it.
CHURCHES OUGHT TO HAVE A TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WHO LOVE EACH OTHER.
According to 1 Corinthians 12, the gathering of people we call the church, is one body. This means that, at Bay City Baptist we are connected to each other and have a responsibility to minister to each other. When one hurts we all hurt and when one is glad we’re all glad.
Every one of us needs the accountability and the ministry that the other members of the body can supply. Read 1 Corinthians 12. It’s clear.
THERE'S BEAUTY IN QUIET, HUMBLE WORSHIP.
The music in our church is not intended to entertain. Entertainment is not worship.
We sing some newer hymns and some older hymns, but we don’t hold to the philosophy that just because they’re old they’re good. Some old hymns aren’t good. Some reflect bad doctrine and some have little substance.
We also don’t believe that all new songs are bad. There’s a new generation of godly songwriters who understand that much of music written in the last 25 years has little substance. These new writers are bringing the focus back where it belongs…Jesus Christ and God’s saving work. When we find a song that fits with our message we’re not afraid to use it, whether old or new.
As to contemporary styles, we understand that drums are acceptable in some contexts, but we have chosen not to use them. We believe it’s important to avoid the entertainment-based worship experience that tends to cater to passions and create a performer/spectator-based service. (This is not to say that every church that uses drums is entertainment-based.)
In performer/spectator-based worship services, people in the churches tend to “watch” others worship on the platform instead of being actively engaged in all the aspects of worship themselves.
There is a special beauty and reverence in simple and humble worship. We want to make Jesus Christ and the wonder of God’s salvation the main focus of our music.
Because we are cautious in our worship music does not mean we expect people to listen to only the same music in their homes. Those who attend our church have a wide variety of musical tastes and there’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, as with all areas of life, we must make sure our music does not speak favorably of the kinds of activities and thought patterns that would not please God.