Our Distinctives

6. Priority of Local Church

Distinctive 6 – We challenge believers to give high priority to the local church body

Scripture describes the church in family terms. God is our Father and we are adopted as His children. We are brothers and sisters in Christ (Rom 8:15-17). We are the “household of God” (1 Tim 3:15). Therefore, no one can say that they are a Christian without need of a local family of believers. God has not constructed us as new creations in Christ to function apart from each other. Christ paid for us with his blood (Acts 20:28). Therefore, we must not treat the local body of believers as optional for spiritual maturity (Heb 10:24-25). The purpose of church is to
Exalt the Lord
Equip the saints
Evangelize the world
Entrench in the Word
In Ephesians 4:11-13, we read that Christ gave the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the building up of the faith. Apostles and prophets have provided us with divine revelation and are no longer in operation. Pastors and teachers are to lead congregations in understanding biblical directives. Nonetheless, everyone is involved in using their God given gifts to serve one another.
The New Testament uses the term “one another” 140 times to emphasize our interaction with each other. For example, we read that we are to encourage one another (Heb 10:25); serve one another (Gal 5:13); bear with one another (Eph 4:2); build up one another (1 Thess 5:11); and be members of one another (Eph 4:25). The idea of fellowship is sharing life in Christ together. So being member of the church is to share your lives with each other and encourage one another to be Christ-like for the glory of God.
The role of pastors or shepherds is to equip the believers so that they can serve each other effectively. Shepherds lead the flock of God by teaching or feeding and teaching them the Word of God (John 21:15; 1 Tim 5:17), counseling them in truth (Ezek 34:15; 1 Thess 2:7, 11), and overseeing their spiritual progress (1 Tim 3:1-5; 1 Thess 5:17; Heb 13:17).
GBF is organised according to the biblical pattern of elders and deacons, the pastor being the lead elder. We can describe our leadership style by the acrostic PLEADS. This indicates Pastor Leads/ Elders Assist/ Deacons Support. No believer can be spectator in the church and all believers must use their spiritual gifts to serve each other in order to build up the body of Christ (Eph 4:11-13). The faithful ones are appointed as deacons as examples for the rest to follow.
As the leadership of the church bears responsibility for guiding the church, the believers likewise carry the responsibility of respecting their leaders (1 Thess 5:12), esteeming their work (1 Tim 5:17), and obeying their guidance (Heb 13:17). Each believer at GBF makes a commitment to meet regularly for corporate worship; pray for the church; maintain unity in the church; maintain fellowship in the church; love and encourage each other; and support the church regularly.