What We Believe & Our Vision

What We Believe

We believe that when people receive God’s gift of salvation, they are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of our new life in Christ and our experience of being cleansed from sin.

Baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sin, received forgiveness of sin, experienced newness of life through Christ, and received the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of the believer’s incorporation into the body of Christ.

Baptism is for those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and commit themselves to follow Christ in obedience. Baptism is for those who understand its meaning, are able to be accountable to Christ and the church, and voluntarily request it on the basis of their faith response to Jesus Christ.

We practice water baptism by immersion. However, we recognize those who have been baptized by another mode after their personal confession of faith. We encourage those who were baptized as infants and wish to become members of Summerland Baptist Church to be baptized upon their personal confession of faith.

Matthew 3:13-17; 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:2-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13

THE BIBLE

We believe the Bible is God’s word, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters of life. (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

GOD

We believe there is one God, creator of heaven and earth, who exists eternally as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 4:6)

GOD THE FATHER

We believe that God the Father is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever present, unchanging, holy, and loving and has chosen to fully reveal himself through Jesus Christ. (Genesis 1; Psalm 139; Isaiah 6:1-3; Matthew 6:9-10; John 3:16)

JESUS CHRIST

We believe that Jesus Christ is God in human form, fully God and fully man. He was conceived through the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, was crucified, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father as our advocate. (Mark14:61-62; Luke 1:34-35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:22-24)

HOLY SPIRIT

We believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity who indwells every believer for the purposes of comforting, equipping, guiding, and empowering to draw us closer to God. (John 14:15–18; John 16:13-14; Romans 8:26-27)

PEOPLE

We believe all people were created by God in his image and therefore are precious to him. However, every person is a sinner by nature and commits sin by choice. Therefore, without a relationship with Jesus Christ every person is alienated from God. (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 3: 1-23; Romans 3:23; Colossians 1:21)

ETERNITY

We believe that people were created to exist forever, either in union with God through salvation and forgiveness from sin or eternally separated from God by sin. (John 3:16; Romans 2:6-8; Romans 6:23)

SALVATION

We believe that God’s desire is for us to live in communion with him. By his grace he has provided the way, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Salvation is received by faith, not by works and is demonstrated by repentance. (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 14:6; Titus 3:5)

BAPTISM

We believe baptism in water is a personal step of obedience, following the example and command of Jesus, identifying us fully with him. (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:3-5)

THE CHURCH

We believe the church is the family of God and is the hope of the world, commissioned to care for one another and to reach those alienated from God, so that together we might become fully devoted followers of Christ. (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:19; Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 2: 9-10)

CHRIST’S RETURN

We believe followers of Christ need to be ready because at a time known only to God, Jesus Christ will personally and visibly return to establish his Kingdom, just as he said. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelations 21:1-2; Revelations 22:12-13)

Membership: Is it really important?

The New Testament (N.T.) is pretty clear that every local church had people who were members. Unlike our current culture that distinguishes between members and non-members (just try shopping at Costco as a non-member for a current example of this), the N.T. church did not have anything like that. The Church of the first century consisted of members and non-Christian observers who were checking out what this new faith was all about. It was pretty simple and clear: if you were a follower of Christ, you were a member of a local Church.

Some Christians currently question whether they need to have an official church home in which they participate as members. They point out that the N.T. nowhere teaches that you should take up membership in a local church and that most steps of membership and expectations of members are in fact just to meet the requirements of our current society laws. That is a good point, but it misses the larger N.T. message. For instance, the illustrative imagery of the N.T. repeatedly urges Christians to work together like a body or a family in their local church. This body or family of believers clearly had some concept of church membership since there were numerical records: records of widows, selection of church leaders, church discipline and accountability. Indeed the N.T. also tells us that those who filled their roles well as members in a local church could be considered for leadership roles like being a Deacon or an Elder. They clearly had all of the components of membership that some people currently view as ‘legalistic’ present in the N.T. church.

At Summerland Baptist Church, we believe that membership in the church is important and is in fact a natural step of faith and obedience. When we voluntarily align ourselves with a family of faith and willingly commit to loving God and loving people in a specific community, we put ourselves exactly where Jesus wants us to be. We live out our community relationships by following him together as a family of faith, encouraging one another, holding one another accountable, caring for each other and doing our best to love God and love people. To do this well, and to follow Jesus fully, we need to be where Jesus wants us to be. We need to be an active member of his body expressed through membership in a local church.

In our cultural context, membership is worked out a little differently than in the N.T., but the differences in culture don’t negate the larger truth – the Bible assumes every follower of Christ will be an active member of a local church. That is why we encourage you to actively attend, support, serve, pray for and officially join your local church. We believe it is what Jesus desires for us.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25; Acts 2:37-47; 1 Timothy 5:3-16; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Timothy 3:1-10; Matthew 16:18

1. Salvation
We believe that salvation through Jesus is the only hope for the healing of our relationship with God, each other, ourselves and creation.

2. Prayer
Prayer is foundational to our personal relationship with God and for seeking God’s purpose and direction for the Church.

3. Worship
It is our intention to cultivate lives of worship. Worship within the context of SBC takes place through individual surrender to God’s Holy Spirit in times of service, study, music, relationship and giving.

4. Spiritual Gifts
We seek to recognize and encourage the use of individual spiritual gifts and the active involvement of all believers in every aspect of Church and community life.

5. Discipleship
In the context of personal pursuit and intentional living, discipleship mentoring is prioritized for the spiritual development and training of all believers resulting in service in their areas of giftedness.

6. People
It is our intention to cultivate a friendly, caring environment that is welcoming to newcomers and addresses the needs of families and people of all ages.

7. Service
We desire to address the needs of people in Summerland and throughout the world as an expression of the love of Jesus while sharing the gospel message of forgiveness and redemption.

8. Small Groups
We value the development and nurturing of small groups as a place where spiritual growth can happen in a context of caring relationships in which people actively participate in encouraging, challenging, praying, serving and learning together.

1. Salvation
We believe that salvation through Jesus is the only hope for the healing of our relationship with God, each other, ourselves and creation.

2. Prayer
Prayer is foundational to our personal relationship with God and for seeking God’s purpose and direction for the Church.

3. Worship
It is our intention to cultivate lives of worship. Worship within the context of SBC takes place through individual surrender to God’s Holy Spirit in times of service, study, music, relationship and giving.

4. Spiritual Gifts
We seek to recognize and encourage the use of individual spiritual gifts and the active involvement of all believers in every aspect of Church and community life.

5. Discipleship
In the context of personal pursuit and intentional living, discipleship mentoring is prioritized for the spiritual development and training of all believers resulting in service in their areas of giftedness.

6. People
It is our intention to cultivate a friendly, caring environment that is welcoming to newcomers and addresses the needs of families and people of all ages.

7. Service
We desire to address the needs of people in Summerland and throughout the world as an expression of the love of Jesus while sharing the gospel message of forgiveness and redemption.

8. Small Groups
We value the development and nurturing of small groups as a place where spiritual growth can happen in a context of caring relationships in which people actively participate in encouraging, challenging, praying, serving and learning together.

Following Jesus Together;  Reaching, Deepening, & Restoring

“Clarifying vision is about looking to the past as much as to the future… Clarifying vision is always about what God is already doing.” – Church Unique by Will Mancini, page 53.

God has been empowering and blessing our SBC Children and Families ministry. What a joy it is to have so many children and youth a part of our church family. It is a privilege to help their families teach them about the love of Jesus. And yet there are many more children in our communities who need to hear about the love and grace of Jesus.

The vision of Summerland Baptist Church paints a picture of where we want to go. It is a snapshot of God’s better intermediate future. (Our ultimate future is in heaven with Him.) It is a panoramic view from the mountaintop of what is possible because of the love, hope and grace of Jesus. The current reality is not a pretty one. Ours is a challenging culture in which to raise a family. It is a tough time to be a family. While some relationships are strong and thriving, many could use some help, and others, frankly, are broken. Our vision is clearly focused on children and families. We will not stop ministering to seniors or singles or any other demographic the Lord entrusts to us. We will, however, invite everyone to join us as we address one of the greatest needs of this time: marriage and family.

Like a painting, the vision itself is set within a picture frame. For those who would like more detail and background information, you can check the links to the four sides of the frame. They are explained briefly below.

At the top of the frame is Mission. This answers the question What, as in What should our church be doing? In Matthew 28: 19 – 20, Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is what all churches, everywhere, throughout time should be doing. Our Mission is a restatement of the great commission for our unique church, in this place and at this time. Following Jesus Together: Reaching, Restoring and Deepening. Why restoring in place of risking? It is certainly not because our church will stop risking, but risking is a strategy (not what we will do but how). We see the great need for restoring and know that only God can truly restore broken relationships.

On the right-hand side of the frame is Missional Values, the answer to: Why do we do what we do? What motivates us? This is our common heartbeat; these are the shared values of our congregation: Relationships, Serving, Prayer, Everyday Faith and Scripture.

Missional Strategy is at the bottom of the frame. How is the church going to attain its vision? Someone outside the church could connect with SBC through any of the four components: Reach, Worship, Serve, Grow. Ideally, each person at SBC would eventually be involved in all four.

Finally, the left side of the frame, Life Measures, provides a way of evaluating the progress of the church towards its vision. When do we know we are successful? Different from what is often measured: attendance, size of the building, size of the budget, these are evidences in the life of an individual believer.

The vision that we feel God has given our church family is a journey, an emphasis and a direction. Our journey is to continue to follow Jesus. The emphasis will be his love, grace and healing. The direction is to focus our gifts and energies on the pressing needs of families, marriages and parenting so his love, grace and healing are experienced.

For a more in-depth look at our vision, please click here for the complete framework.

FIRE
By Justin Wiebe

Look around you.
Can you see it? Do you hear it?
Open up your ears and listen. It roars to make us fear it.
Do you smell that? That’s the stink of souls going up in smoke
And yet this world dawdles as though this fire is just a joke.
It burns, igniting marriages, oh the hurt and grief it brings,
Transforming vital, passionate people into sleepless, broken things.
It consumes with indifference, unfaithfulness, and shattered trust.
We turn down the feast before us and nibble on just the crust.
It devours. Sacred sex, as though dipped in kerosene,
Goes up in a burst of heat leaving nothing but the obscene
Twisted and perverted version of the truth
And the flames are fuelled further by passing our habits to our youth.
It’s taking homes. Breaking bonds between father, daughter, mother, son
So rapidly it seems the only option is to run
Headlong into bitter confusion without love and form of hope.
Where can you turn after being burned? You simply learn to cope…

But there’s a different fire present here.
It’s strong and hot and bright.
This flame fights for goodness and everything that’s right.
Like a torch that boasts everlasting fuel, it won’t be put to rest
For God himself is the One who lit this ember in our chest.
This is where the battle is, this is where it starts;
Shoulder to shoulder against the destroyer with this backburn in our hearts.
His might is as an earthquake. His love a sea too vast to sail
And though we know we’re prone to falter,
He will never fail! We are His fireline standing against the heat of the human condition
So as Christ’s body this is Summerland Baptist church’s vision:

The unfailing love and grace of Jesus can restore families and heal the brokenness of those scorched by the fires of failed relationships. We believe that one day people within our valley and beyond will experience healthy, God-honoring family life, marriage and sexuality. We foresee the divorce rate declining, marriages thriving, and parents as the spiritual champions of their homes, leading children and youth to know Jesus and His teachings. We will follow Jesus, extend His hope, love and grace and we will invite everyone to experience this life.