“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever” (Shorter Catechism). We have been created and redeemed by God, for God Therefore, our chief desire is to know Him, and promote His glory in every circumstance of life and among all the peoples of the earth.
Expository Bible Preaching
The Scriptures must be carefully exegeted and powerfully proclaimed. The preacher must strive to be biblical, didactic (ie he must teach) and prophetic. The pulpit is indispensable to the church’s growth in knowledge, holiness, love, and devotion. It cannot and should not be replaced or diminished.
Our music should lead the church family to glorify God and to edify one another through singing and musical instruments, ministering with spiritual passion and doctrinal integrity, while maintaining high standards of musical excellence. The worship is to reinforce the faith through song, and to express congregational praise and worship to Christ, our Audience.
The elders and staff are passionate about and devoted to being on guard for “all” the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
A New Testament church is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers. Church government is congregational in context and, therefore, the final word in matters pertaining to the congregation must come from the congregation itself (Matthew 18:15-17; Acts 6:2-5; I Corinthians 5:4-5; II Corinthians 2:6).
The church has a body of elders / pastors who teach and shepherd the flock. In accordance with Hebrews 13:17, they keep watch over the congregation as men who must give an account to God. According to the same text, the congregation is to obey them and submit to their authority so that their work will be a joy and not a burden. The elders must meet the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7, and they exercise authority over the church only to the degree that they teach and lead according to the Scriptures.
According to the teachings of Jesus, the life of every Christian is to be marked by service (Mark 9:35). However, the New Testament also speaks of the specific office of deacon. The word ‘deacon’ means ‘helper’ or ‘servant’. Before a man can be appointed as deacon, he must be tested for the qualifications found in I Timothy 3:8-13. The tasks of a deacon are primarily that of meeting the physical and material needs of individual believers and the congregation as a whole. If the deacon serves faithfully, he “obtains for himself a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 3:13).
Compassionate Church Discipline
Although church discipline is a foundational doctrine in Baptist history, it is now almost non-existent among “contemporary” Baptists. We believe that if we truly seek to honor God and if we truly care for the well-being of His people, we will obey Christ’s commands to practice church discipline. When practiced biblically and compassionately, it is a powerful tool to restore the fallen and to preserve Christ’s honor in the church and the unbelieving world.
It is the duty of every believer to evangelize the lost. We adamantly stand against hyper-calvinism on the one hand and easy-believism on the other. We are committed to preach the Gospel to every creature, and to implore men to repent and believe. At the same time, we recognize that neither repentance nor faith can be produced by manipulating the emotion or coercing the will. They are the result of the supernatual work of the Holy Spirit.
Biblical Conversion and Assurance
A biblical understanding of regeneration and conversion is absolutely essential to the Christian faith. We believe that salvation is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5), that it is enduring (Philippians 1:6), and that it is evidenced by the bearing of fruit (Matthew 7:16-20). The man who walks in a continual state of carnality with no divine discipline can have no assurance of sonship (Hebrews 12:8) no matter how adamantly he professes his allegiance to Christ.
The purpose of Rockport Baptist Church is to glorify God by making disciples, which means fully devoted followers of Christ. The primary means employed to disciple believers are expository preaching, small group interaction and accountability, and personal one-on-one discipleship.
The Local Congregation
We believe that meaningful and enduring fellowship in a local congregation is absolutely essential to the Christian’s life and ministry. Media ministries can never take the place of the local church and its ministers. We are commanded not only to congregate, but to do so for the purpose of encouraging one another and stimulating one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Every Christian in the local congregation without exception has been given spiritual gifts which they are commanded to employ for the up-building of the entire congregation. The administration of such gifts by every member is necessary for the proper growth and ministry of the church.
One of the outlets for every-member ministry is small group ministry. Such fellowships are employed to evangelize the lost, equip the saved, and minister to the individual needs in the body. Christianity is not a spectator sport.
Parent-Led Children Ministry
Parents are primarily responsible for the discipleship and discipline of their children. The church should not usurp the authority of godly parents, nor assume the responsibilities of parents who are lax in their duties. The church should give itself to teaching the biblical principles of parenthood and to holding parents accountable to carry them out in the context of their families.
Biblical Youth Ministry
Our youth ministry is not designed around the presumed unique needs or desires of young people, but is centered around God’s will for young people as revealed in His Word. Our goal is to strengthen parents in their God-called responsibility to “bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The so-called “generation gap” and the “adolescent years” are a result of sin and should not be encouraged by the church or youth ministries. Our youth ministry is not centered on music, drama, comedy, or other entertainments, but on the faithful preaching of God’s Word. While other activities may be allowed, they must never take the place of or de-emphasize the preaching of the Word.
Personalized World Missions
The Great Commission is a great command. Personal involvement in world missions is not a suggestion or an option, but is demanded of every true believer. The entire local church family should be personally and strategically involved in world missions, mobilizing laborers, prayer, and finances to the end of glorifying God among all peoples. We are either called to go down into the well (be a missionary) or to hold the rope for those who are going down (support missionaries). Either way our dedication must be costly and enduring.