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Who we are
Miller Avenue Baptist Church, sometimes just Miller Avenue Church as the sign in front of the building is too small to fit in "Baptist," is a small church like 75% of the churches in America. We are associated with American Baptists, and now dually aligned with Southern Baptists
Though Baptist few are historically Baptist and visitors would recognize not easily identify us as Baptists.
We are Protestant, Baptists coming out of the great sixteenth century Reformation, and we are Evangelical, committed to the proclamation of the Gospel message.
What we believe
Our theology is thoroughly in the Baptist tradition. Our core theology is on the Reformed side of things, not rigidly so, and has been for nearly twenty years now. We might be referred to as moderate Reformed understanding that any human system is bound to be flawed in some way or another. Perhaps the historical creeds, in addition to the beloved Apostles' Creed, that closest expresses our views are the Canons of Dordt, the Heildelberg Catechism, and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. We do not expect conformity on theological doctrines.
First and foremost we are followers of Jesus, the crucified and risen savior. We desire to lift Him up, learn from Him, and serve Him. We believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, and that only in Jesus is there eternal life, which is a gift of grace and not earned. He indeed is the Way, the truth, and the Life.
We avoid political entanglements, supporting no political causes or candidates as a church body. Each must make up their mind as to their political ideologies, and no political views are promoted by the church body. Only Jesus is the Messiah--there are no others.
What we do
Sunday morning begins with a breakfast, then a class where the preachers and teachers go over what they will be presenting to the congregation, (this is at the same time as choir practice) and then the morning worship service, which runs about an hour and a half. This is followed by a lunch. The breakfast and the lunch are open to all and there is no cost. Fellowship may extend well into the afternoon, some staying until the Sunday Even Song service. Here is the schedule:
Choir Practice--9:30am (all are welcome and no auditions needed)
Tuesday morning prayer meeting--10:30am
Tuesday night Bible Study--7pm
The Scripture figures large in our church's life. On Sunday morning there is a Bible exposition, usually from the Old Testament, that runs about 12 minutes and may be presented by a number of different people, including women. There is a sermon, most of the time from the pastor, who preaches expository sermons. Sunday evening, the Even Song service, is expository preaching and a number of different people will preach. Tuesday night's study is verse by verse
Our Sunday morning service is essentially on the liturgical side. Some years ago we examined what the early church's worship service would be like and after examining the various elements we produced an order of service that we found would be too lengthy for a single service so all the parts are extended over the course of both Sunday worship services. At the close of each Sunday morning service we "Receive the Bread and the Cup," at least those who wish to and all are invited. On Sunday evening we offer prayer for healing with anointed with oil. Then, and in fitting with early church practice, there is an opportunity for any troubled, demonized, with unclean spirits, to have prayer for deliverance. (This is done after the service, in a quiet and safe place.)
There is no formal church membership. We have found that the local church is those who show up for worship and fellowship. We do baptize, by immersion, those who want to follow Jesus and so identify with Him in a public manner. Thus baptism is not a hoop to jump through in order to be a member.
Our business meetings are open to all and our finances are transparent and openly discussed. We have no committees. Our deliberations are few, brief, and focused on advancing the work we are called to.
Our mission strategy
We are a small church in an area where Christians are a vast minority. We focus on straight forward proclamation of the core message of Jesus through preaching and teaching in our worship services, our weekly television program called The Bible Study, now approaching its thirtieth year, our workshop, publishing work through Earthen Vessel Publishing, and other forms of ministry to the broader community. We also Ustream the services.
Romans 1:16 contains the central thrust of our work: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Some of us are Jewish believers and so acknowledge and celebrate the "Feasts of Israel" and support missions and evangelism to Jewish people.
We are "pentecostal" in our views, meaning that we depend on the Holy Spirit to do the work of convicting of sin, revealing Jesus as the savior, and converting those whom He will. We believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, though our services are not openly "charismatic;" and though in the Reformed tradition, we are not cessations, believing that the charismatic gifts are no longer operative.
Our goal is not to grow for growth's sake, meaning we are not entertainers who rely on the "rock band" manipulations or other means to attract crowds merely aimed at getting people into the pews.
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