Jesus Christ is always first.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is the head of the church and that He must have the preeminence in churches. This means that He must be the first and most important among us (Colossians 1:16-18). Because He is God He deserves nothing less, so we want Him to be known and loved here. But not only that, we want Him to be in charge…and He is. He is first.

The Scriptures are central and sufficient in life and church.

Because the Bible is God’s Word and message to us, we believe that what’s taught from our platform ought to be driven by what the Bible says. The technical term for this is exposition. It means that the man on the platform will be exposing the meaning of Bible passages for those seated in our auditorium. What could be more important than that?

Clear Bible teaching that connects with life is the only active catalyst for transforming individuals and the entire church. The Bible is sufficient to bring us to spiritual maturity (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Outreach is the calling of the entire church.

We believe that telling people about the loving plan of our Creator is the responsibility of every person who knows Christ, so we provide materials and opportunities to make this happen. Our church foyer contains a help we call Evangelism Central, and we also provide events throughout the year that give you the opportunity to bring others to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Salvation matters in the middle.

There’s usually a big gap of time between the day someone trusts in Christ and the day they die.

For many Christians, their salvation is reduced to those two days—the day they were born again and the day they get go to Heaven. But what about all the time in between? What happens in the gap?

Many Christians flounder day after day searching for purpose and direction. Are there answers for life’s difficulties in the gap? Does salvation make any difference after we’re saved? We believe it does.

When we understand the depth of what God did and when we connect in relationship to Jesus, every area of our life is affected. He gives us the strength to live like we’re intended to live (Hebrews 2:18).

If it still doesn’t make sense to you, you might read these: The Gospel for Real Life, by Jerry Bridges, The Cross and Salvation, by Bruce Demarest, and How People Change, by Tim Lane and Paul David Tripp.

You will never be the same when you understand everything God has done for you.

Worship is not about the music.

We tend to think worship is about “the music,” or “what we do at church,” but that’s not how God sees it. He wants us to worship 24/7 in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

To worship in SPIRIT is to give yourself completely to Him from your very core. He wants you, not the outward motions and rituals you reserve for Sunday only. He wants you to be engaged with Him all the time, at every moment.

It’s all about a real relationship between you and God. That’s worship in spirit. God wants you.

But we must also worship in TRUTH. What does that mean? It means that God wants us to do more than just accept the truth. We must weave that truth into daily life. We must do what we know is the truth. That’s worship in truth.

Worship in truth is living in obedience to the Lord. It has been well-said: “There is a sense in which true Christians should never not be worshiping.” Yes, that’s a double-negative, but we like that statement. Worship should encompass every minute of our lives as we give ourselves to Him. Then, when we arrive at church on Sunday, the worship that’s already been happening on the inside will spill out in praise alongside others who are doing the same.

Only authentic worship in spirit and in truth can satisfy spiritual thirst. Ask the woman at the well…she’ll tell you (John 4).

Prayer is absolutely essential.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18). The simplest definition of prayer is talking to God. Since we are totally dependent on God for everything we must be in constant communication with Him. At Bay City Baptist Church we are dedicated to bringing everything to God in prayer. Every worship service and every business meeting begins with prayer. No major decisions are ever made without seeking the Lord.

Loving God and loving people must be at the top of the list.

In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (NKJV).

The FIRST thing God wants us to do is to love Him. We must connect with God in a relationship. Of course this ultimately works out in obedience: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

We prove our love by doing what He asks. When we’re in a real relationship with God, doing what He asks is not a burden but a delight.

The SECOND most important thing God wants us to do is to love people. This should happen inside and outside our churches. We love people by ministering to them in many different ways. 1 Corinthians 13 makes love clear: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (NKJV). True love shows itself in many ways. Sometime true love uses pointed words of truth.

Loving God and loving people are the two greatest commands we are expected to carry out. Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). In other words, He’s saying that if we focus on doing these two things that we will essentially do all He wants us to do.

Romans 13:8, “he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

When we love God and people, all of life tends to fall into place. May the city of Green Bay see the love of God in us.

Church membership shouldn’t be “optional.”

“There is nothing outside the Trinity itself that God loves more than the church for which He died. Sadly, many Christians don’t share Christ’s degree of affection and devotion for His [Church], and often are ashamed to identify themselves with her” (Daniel Kirk quoted in To Be or Not to Be a Church Member, by Wayne Mack). God wants us to be highly connected in authentic relationships to other believers in a church community.

We recommend two books that biblically show the importance of church membership: (1) To Be Or Not To Be a Church Member, by Wayne Mack, (2) Stop Dating the Church, by Josh Harris. You will never see church membership the same after you see what Bible says about it.

Here are a few other things we’ve thought through.