Lively Biblical Preaching
The first mark of a biblical and Reformed church is its devotion to the Word of God (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 3:15). The gospel is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). This is a characteristic that needs to be cultivated in any faithful church of Jesus Christ. The Heidelberg Catechism says that God wants His people to be taught “by the living preaching of His Word.” No matter how large a church may be, no matter how excellent its programs and ministries, it cannot be a healthy church unless it finds its life and center in the lively ministry of the Word of the gospel. For this reason, a healthy church will prize the preaching of the Word of God and commit itself to a thorough program of biblical instruction for all ages (Sunday School, Catechism, Adult Bible Studies, Youth ministries, etc.).
Congregational Worship and Song
When believers hear the good news of Jesus Christ and His saving work, they rejoice and praise God (Acts 2:47). The praise of God in public and private worship is vital to the life of the church. The Psalmist says: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name; bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:1). This is the language of the believer’s heart and the delight of every church, to sing praise to the Lord for all that He is and has done. Such praise demands the best we can give. It invites all the members, young and old, to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord. As a congregation, we are committed to the full use of all our gifts, musical and financial, in praise to God. We are also committed to a full and appropriate use of the congregation’s musical gifts in praise to the Lord. The songs of the church should reflect the truth of the Scriptures, and be sung by the whole congregation. Where appropriate, the congregation’s praise can be expressed through the use of vocalists, instrumentalists, and choirs.
Fellowship with Each Other
It is not enough that a church prize the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. The church described in Acts 2 also devoted itself to “fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” (v. 42). The church is a family of believers, which is called to share its many gifts in the service of others. The fellowship of the church, which is most wonderfully expressed in the service of Holy Communion, is a fellowship with the Lord and all who belong to Him. This too is a vital characteristic of a healthy church, which practices the “communion of the saints” and rejoices to invite and welcome others into its fellowship. We affirm our commitment to encouraging strong and meaningful Christian fellowship among our members.
Missions and Evangelism
The Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted the task of missions and evangelism to the church. The local church is called, therefore, not only to nurture its members in the faith, but also to reach out with the gospel to the lost. The promise of the gospel extends to all whom the Lord calls to Himself. We are committed as a congregation to an emphasis upon the importance of missions and local, community evangelism. We will not be content simply to maintain our congregation or to grow through membership transfers. We want to be used by the Lord in “adding to the church” those who are being saved.
Relationships with Other Believers and Churches
Since we confess that we are members of one holy, catholic and apostolic church, we prize fellowship and cooperation with fellow believers and all true Christian churches. Though we seek to be affiliated with churches of like confession and practice, we also desire to retain and cultivate Christian ties of affection and mutual service with other churches, including the churches of which we were formerly members. We are committed to a form of church life that emphasizes our positive commitments as Reformed believers, but resists the temptation to condemn or focus upon the weaknesses of others.