We’re glad you’ve chosen to join us! The purpose of this class is to develop unity in our doctrine and practice among current members and prospective members. Hopefully after this class you will clearly understand what our core beliefs are and why we do what we do.
WHERE WE ARE HEADING:
Session 1 — Our Past, Present, Future
Past- History of Flat Run u0026amp; our core doctrine
Present- What are we doing now
Future- What we hope to be doing
Session 2 — Our Purpose
Making disciples- Personal u0026amp; Community Evangelism
Worship- Styles of Preaching u0026amp; Music
Spiritual Growth- what’s the story with disciple groups?
Service- Spiritual Gifts, natural abilities u0026amp; opportunities
Session 3 — Our Personnel
What is the role of the Elder or Pastor?
What is the role of the Deacon?
What is the role of the church Member?
Session One — Our past, present, future
When visiting a church and even after becoming a part of a new church many questions flood our minds. This class hopes to answer some of those questions. Questions like, how did this church start and how long have they been around? What is this church doing right now? What are the plans for the future? What do they believe? How do I Join? These and other questions often fill our minds and we hope this is the place to get some answers!
In April of 1849 about two dozen members from Zoar Church in Locust Grove came over to the gold mining areas along the Rapidan River in the north eastern section of the county to start Flat Run Church. The original location was about a half mile east, just over the north side of Germanna Highway beside the flat run. We can imagine they wanted to reach the gold miners in this area and probably already had a good group of worshipers making the longer trip to Zoar for Church each week. From word of mouth we have heard that the original building burned down after the civil war in the late 1800’s and the existing building near Germanna Hwy on our current location was built around 1891.
In the 168 years that Flat Run Church has been established, 26 of those years the doors were closed. Many years the church only met 1 or 2 times a month while sharing a circuit riding pastor with other local churches. Flat Run has had difficult days and no doubt blessed days. God has used His people through the years to secure this church as a lighthouse to the community and a garden for spiritual growth.
So what type of church is Flat Run? The heritage that Flat Run was birthed in was the missions minded Southern Baptist Convention. For about 150 years Flat Run stood as a SBC church. In the late 1990’s the local Goshen Baptist association in which Flat Run had held long time membership in was continuing to move away from Biblical values. At that time Flat Run withdrew from the local, state and national association’s of the Southern Baptist. Many other SBC churches over the years recognized the change of Biblical values within the convention and also pulled out and became Independent. Other church’s decided to stay and win back their influence and control of the convention, its schools and missionary influence. Since Flat Run’s departure the State fellowship has formed a Conservative branch of SBC churches (SBCV) that are focused on church planting while remaining true to the Word of God. Flat Run has remained formally unaffiliated with other church organizations and denominations. Flat Run has a loose affiliation with other Churches for the purposes of youth fellowship, training for the ministry, pastoral fellowship and missionary endeavors. Flat Run Church is a non denominational church.
Closed Hand Issues of Doctrine: no fellowship without these agreed upon
See Article IV of our governing principles
Open Hand Issues of Doctrine: we can discuss in friendly fellowship. (selected examples)
End Time Views: There are a lot of views on the end times and a lot of interpretations of the prophetic passages in the N.T. Two members may take opposing viewpoints on eschatological issues and still agree on essential ones. This is not to say both views are correct, but that neither is worth sacrificing unity over.
Election vs. Free Will: Some Christians of the reformed traditon believe that the salvation is solely decided by the Father’s soveriegnty and will. Others argue that God permits man to respond of His own will in the salvation process. This is an important argument with godly, Bible believing Christians on both sides. While both positions can be discussed passionately from Scriptures, neither is worth casting aside fellowship over.
Education: Many Christan parents place their children in the public school system in support of public education. Others believe that private Chrsitan education or home schooling is the best decision. We view this as a family decision and should never be a reason for disunity in the church.
Bible Translations: Some Christians believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the only inspired version in English while others prefer more modern English translations. While we typically use the New King James for children’s curriculum, we prefer to not make this an issue in our fellowship.
Church Dress: While we believe modesty is a virtue that should be sought after by both men and women in the church, the style of dress is much less signficant. Flat Run has no dress code, nor do we desire to create or enforce one. Some may prefer putting on their “Sunday’ best” and others may prefer coming in shorts and a t-shirt or anything inbetween. That’s ok, in fact we prefer the diversity and enjoy seeing people be themselves and not put on an act or a show for others. So whether you are wearing a bow tie or come in barefoot, we will fellowship!
*other open hand issues that sometimes become divisive may also include church music styles, politics, child rearing, alcohol, etc.
In 2005 our current lead pastor, Ryan Flanders was voted in by 4 members to come and re-establish Flat Run Church. God has blessed by increasing the membership and bringing up additional elders and deacons. Because of steady growth, Flat Run added modular classroom space in 2006 and again in 2007. A new Sanctuary for Worship was finished in 2009. Our strategy and ministries have been developed with God’s blessing over the years to help us fulfill our purpose of making disciples that worship, grow and serve.
We currently have four elders, Donny Smith, John Euson, Johnnie Walker and Ryan Flanders as well as two deacons, Mike Redgrave and Matt Boyer. The office of Elder and Deacon will be discussed with more detail in session 3.
Currently we are worshiping as a congregation in one main gathering on Sunday mornings at 10:30am. We strive to offer family integrated worship with the opportunity for children to be ministered to on their age level. During the school year we offer multiple adult and student disciple groups for the purpose of spiritual growth, fellowship, prayer and accountability. Ministry teams exist for members to use their spiritual gifts and natural abilities in His service.
Our goal is to stay flexible for ministry in the days ahead. We want to be able to follow God without getting to comfortable or tied to tradition. While we trust our purpose and doctrine will never change we must be willing to follow God in adjusting, adding or even eliminating ministries, programs or events. Our goal for the future should never be to carry on because “that’s what we have always done” or “everyone else is doing it.” Our goal should be to carry out a strategy to “make disciples that worship, grow and serve.”
Future in ministry
By God’s grace and strength we hope to continue to train our members to make disciples, grow them through offering various and expanding disciple groups and engaging them to serve the body of Christ and their community.
We hope to operate in good stewardship in all that God provides for the work of the ministry. In the future we trust God to provide additional resources for facilities and ministers. The annual budget is worked on by an appointed team that includes a deacon, treasurer, elders and usually other members from the congregation. The annual budget is brought before the congregation for feedback and confirmation at the annual meeting.
Session Two — Our Purpose
“Making Disciples to Worship, Grow and Serve”
See Article II from governing principles
Making Disciples: Outward
Making Disciples locally
through personal evangelism (Mt. 28:18-20)
The New Testament pattern for evangelism was on display when Andrew went and brought his brother Peter to Christ. The most effective way to win others to Christ is one on one. We attempt to train and encourage our members in personal evangelism to win their coworkers, neighbors, family members and strangers to Christ. We believe that if we are going to win our community, state, country and world for Christ that it will happen with individuals sharing their faith.
through community evangelistic events
Events and community service hosted by the church engage the community and give us opportunities to show the gospel in good deed and in word. Engaging the community through these events allows us to get to know them and for them to get to know us and the gospel.
Making Disciples globally
Partnering with church planting missionaries
God has called His church to make disciples locally and globally. Flat Run must find a way to fulfill the great commission in our community and across the globe. We believe the best way to fulfill this task is to partner with church planting missionaries that will do what we are doing across the globe. We encourage all members to pray and support financially our missions program. Support for missionaries is pledged once a year through our mission’s pledge during Missions Emphasis Sunday’s.
Partaking in Missions Trips
Praying and giving is not to be a substitute for going when God calls. Not every person is called to be a missionary across the globe, but many of us can be nudged by God to go on a short term mission’s trip to do construction, medical care, evangelism or discipleship. We strive to have regular trips scheduled for members of Flat Run to serve on the mission’s field.
Making Disciples to Worship: Upward
Worshiping as a congregation
See Article IX section I of our governing principles
Flat Run has set aside every Sunday morning to worship God as a congregation together. This is an important time to sing His praises, fellowship with His people and hear His Word proclaimed. In Acts 2 the first church began worshiping on Sunday’s to remember the resurrection of Christ. The believers continued to use the temple for their place of assembly and ministry, but they also met in various homes. The 3,000 new converts needed instruction in the Word and fellowship with God’s people if they were to grow and become effective witnesses. Acts 2:46 says “they Continued daily with one accord in the temple.” This was their congregation, large group worship time and was their public gathering as a body.
Worship and Preaching
Paul told Timothy to “Preach the Word.” This is the main ministry of the pastor teacher. Paul also shares with us that it is the “foolishness of preaching” that God uses to bring the lost to Christ and to disciple the saints. While preaching can be done one on one when witnessing or teaching, it must be done before the congregation. Preaching is expounding, declaring and making sense of the Word of God. We endeavor to preach the Bible verse by verse in its context. This is called expository preaching. During certain times of the year there may be topical messages or short series based on a particular theme that runs throughout the Scriptures.
Worship and Music
Christianity is a singing faith! In fact the Bible says more about singing than prayer with 44 of the 66 books referencing music. Music began at creation, continued thru the O.T. and into the church today. At the same time there is probably not a more divisive issue in the church at large then the question of Music. Believers choose churches and leave churches over music. Some churches have separate services with different genres of music to attempt to solve the dilemma. While many churches today find their fellowship around their style of music we prefer to rally around the gospel. Music can be very subjective and cultural. The urge to make this a divisive issue must be resisted for unity.
Music style is not our rally cry, the gospel is! So with these things in mind here is our philosophy of music.
Music in the church should first and foremost bring glory to God. Worship through music is an opportunity for us to be unified as we lift our joyful noise to the Lord together. Our emphasis is congregation music because it brings us together in unity. The music we use must be truthful, portraying to us and others who God is and what He has done for us. Church music should also reflect the culture, gifts and abilities of the church. In other words the style used should not be foreign to the culture in which the church exists. Using a style of music that is foreign to the immediate culture will make worship music hard to relate to and participate in for the congregation.
We also use PowerPoint during congregational songs to facilitate ease of learning and singing of songs. Occasionally there may be special music groups, but congregational worship is the most important aspect of our worship music.
Worship and Prayer
Prayer is our communication with the Lord and plays an important role in the life of the congregation. Prayer is to have a significant part in our congregational worship gatherings, disciple group Bible studies and service opportunities. All we do as a church must be bathed in prayer and laid out before the Lord with petitions. We must pray for God’s working in our hearts as we worship, for growth and maturing of the Saints as we study in groups and for His mighty blessing on our service to Him. Continuing in prayer was one of the habits of the early church.
Acts 2: 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Worship and Giving
See Article VI – stewardship policy in governing principles
Giving is one of the ways that we ascribe worth to God in gratitude of what He has blessed us with. Giving to God supports the work of the church and shows our faith that God will provide for our needs as we give obediently. Giving also puts us under the love of God as shown in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
The tithe, meaning a tenth, has been a principle used by God’s people since before the law to arrange an example of giving. While we are not under the Old Testament law to give multiple tithes, the pattern of tithing prior to that law is still a good example for us to consider. Notice what Jesus said about tithing when He was speaking to the Pharisees,
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Jesus still confirms that the tithing that was practiced by the Pharisees was good to do, just not at the expense of passing by justice and the love of God. The early church practiced giving each Sunday and were taught to do so willing and sacrificially. For some to tithe it takes great sacrifice and priorities have to be decided on. For others a tithe could be no sacrifice at all and the Lord leads them to do much more. However, the New Testament emphasis is overtly giving by grace without reference to an amount or percentage. Ultimately giving amounts should be settled through prayer and direction from the Lord’s leading.
At Flat Run attendees and members can participate in the offering each Sunday morning as a part of our worship gathering. Cash and Checks can be accepted and are placed into a general fund that is used to support the work of the church locally. Members are encouraged to make separate designations to our Missions fund based on an annual commitment or pledge during Missions emphasis month once each year. These funds are used for the sending and supporting of missionaries that the church body partners with. Giving to these funds can also be set up through bill pay with your bank or through a debit card on our website.
Family and Personal Worship
While congregational worship is commanded by the Scriptures and at the same time is a natural response to God’s grace, it is not sufficient in of itself. Just as you would not be nourished enough by one weekly trip to the buffet, one trip to congregational worship will not feed you throughout the whole week. We encourage a personal and private devotional time each day that is spent in prayer and in reading of the Scriptures. Just as we emphasize congregational and private worship in the days ahead we look to strengthen our families by guiding them in family worship. Ultimately the responsibility for Christian parents to disciple their children falls on them. As a church we want to come along side of them and assist, mentor and coach in this process, not take their place. A strong church is made up of strong individuals and strong families that seek to worship the Lord in all settings.
Making Disciples to Grow: Inward
See Article IX section 2 from our governing principles
Once a person is won to Christ and made a disciple their first step is to partner with the church in congregational worship. God intends to take this worshiping disciple and grow them through His Word. The Bible has been given to us as an instructional manual for life. It has everything we need for every season of life. At Flat Run we have chosen our disciple group ministry to move the worshiping disciple through the Word of God in a more focused, personal and accountable way to address those different seasons in life. While the preaching in our worship time may be broad in focus, allowing new disciple groups to form each semester based on a specific topic or age group allows for greater spiritual growth. It was the practice of the early church to not only meet in the large congregation setting, but also to meet house to house for these more intimate settings of fellowship and study. (Acts 2:46)
Making Disciples to Serve: Outward, Upward, Inward
The fourth segment that fulfills our purpose statement at Flat Run is serving. “Making Disciples to Worship, Grow, and Serve.” As we move ourselves and others through each of these four steps we can see God mold us and make us into who He desires us to be. Matthew 4:10;6:24;20:28; Joshua 24:15
This four step process can be understood through a baseball diamond visual:
While some people that gather with us may skip a base or two at times, we believe it is important to go from home to first, to second, to third back to home and then take someone with you around the bases the next time. For example, it doesn’t make much sense for a person who is not a disciple of Christ to be serving the Lord. Neither would it be practical for a disciple to be serving and not growing or faithful in worship. It is also true that someone may become a disciple of Christ after making a commitment to congregational worship or disciple groups. To grow in our faith we believe it is important commit to each base.
The Lord also delights in us using natural gifts and skills for His Work. Spiritual gifts and natural gifts coupled together can be a great tool in the local church.
Flat Run has three primary ministry teams:
Outward, Making disciples- missions, local outreach, care for the membership
Upward, Worship- music team, hospitality, kids church
Inward, Grow- disciple group ministries, AWANA
Session Three — Our Personnel
See Articles VII & VIII in our governing principles
What is the role of the elder?
We see three facets of this office in the terminology used to describe the office and the men who occupied it. These terms are used in key passages of the same men and office. Thus
the bishop, elder and pastor are the same man or men. The passages are: Acts 20:17, 18, 28; Titus 1:5-7; I Peter 5:1-4. Of the three terms of elder, bishop and pastor, the term “elder” is used most frequently in Scriptures. The elder’s are responsible for leading and shepherding the congregation primarily through the teaching of God’s Word.
We believe it is healthy to have multiple “elders” for accountability, edification and partnership.
What is the role of the deacon?
The office of the deacon arose as a result of a pressing need to enable the elders to focus
upon their spiritual ministry to the church.
“Deacon” = servant . The deacons were greatly honored men who served the practical
needs of the church. Their position is one of service, not authority. Interestingly, the specific job description of the deacon is not given in the New Testament. The needs of churches will vary from culture to culture. Therefore, the job description of a deacon will vary. Currently deacons serve in the areas of shepherding and overseeing facilities and finances.
What is the role of the church member?
To Worship, Grow and Serve (see session 2)
We ask for three main commitments from our membership:
1. worship with us as congregation on Sunday’s. This means participating faithfully in the singing, giving and living out what we hear as a godly testimony for Christ.
2. grow with us in disciple groups. We ask each member to commit to at least one group each semester. Some choose the Sunday morning groups, some join a weeknight group and others find it beneficial to be in multiple groups. These groups are essential for Bible study, fellowship, prayer, and accountability.
3. serve with us on a team. There are a number of teams that we have created for serving at Flat Run. Use your gifts to serve the Lord and do so to the very best of your ability. We encourage each member to be involved in at least one ministry serving.
What is my next step?
Examine your need for salvation and baptism. Begin praying about which church family God wants you to join. God desires each of His children to commit themselves to His people, the church. There is no greater way to accomplish this than through active membership in a local church. Once God has directed do not delay. Join, worship, grow and serve.
How Do I Join? See Article V – membership in governing principles
There are three ways in which you can join in membership at Flat Run Church:
1. If you have not been baptized by immersion since coming to faith in Jesus Christ, you can join upon your baptism at Flat Run.
2. If you have already given a testimony of faith in Christ and baptism following your salvation you may join by your statement of faith if no recent church membership is available to be transferred.
3. If you have current membership in a church that holds to the same basic doctrines of Scripture as we do you may transfer your membership from your former church.
Remember, the important thing about membership is not your name on a roll somewhere, but your presence and continued commitment to a local assembly of God’s people. Membership lets everyone know that you are committing yourself to God and to a specific congregation. Without membership there is no defined or communicated relationship or accountability among you and the congregation. The blessing of membership is the edification and prayers of God’s people and the faithful shepherding of your soul by the elders as they teach the Word of God.
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