“Our mission is to worship God, share the good news of Christ, minister to people, and grow in Christlikeness.”
What is the most important thing we do as a church? We like the answer from theologian W.T. Conner who says that the first business of the church is not evangelism, nor missions, nor benevolence; it is WORSHIP! (The Gospel of Redemption, p 271). Actually, worship is not another activity but is the most important aspect of church life. It is our recognizing that God is worthy of our praise and adoration. Since the church is the new Israel, the body of Christ on earth, it is as T. Furman Hewitt reminds us, the place of encounter with God. So the church must be "more than a place that preserves the memory of God's acts. It must be a place alive and vibrant with the power of God in its midst." (A Baptist's Theology, page 116)
We understand that the church exists first and foremost to glorify God through worship and then through its ministries to others. We must worship God as Jesus told the Samaritan woman, "in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) We believe worship is the "engine" that drives the car of all we are and do! Nothing is more important than worshipping God. We want every member to attend worship if possible and to pray for the church at worship. When we are blessed and fed through the worship of God, our spirits and lives are renewed in daily life. We should have our daily devotional worship but we must emphasize corporate worship . We are instructed to "not give up meeting together but to encourage one another." (Hebrews 10:25) Through worship Christ is magnified, God is glorified, and the church is edified! Worship is primary for each member of the First Baptist family of faith at Cocoa.
SHARE THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRIST
On that glorious Sunday evening, when the risen Christ met the disheartened and confused disciples, Jesus said to them, "As the Father hath sent me, I am sending you." (John 20:2) That message was mandated to all disciples in the great commission of our Lord when He said, "as you go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20) And Jesus promised the power for sharing the good news, "when the Holy Spirit comes upon you" and then "you will be my witnesses…..(Acts 1:8) We believe that First Baptist Church of Cocoa has the privilege and responsibility to share the good news of Christ. In fact we emphasize that we are witnesses of what Jesus Christ has done in our lives through His saving grace. So our personal testimonies of faith are effective ways to communicate the good news of Salvation. Actually we have nothing to sell, but a great deal to share. Further, our witness must be validated by a Christian lifestyle which is a witness itself. Thus by testimony and lifestyle we seek to encourage others to experience God's love, forgiveness, and salvation.
We reject tactics or methods that would mislead people for the sake of names or numbers. We believe that the Holy Spirit uses our lives and testimonies to help birth new people into God's kingdom. We cannot save anyone. Salvation is of God, by God's grace, and we rejoice that God uses us as witnesses to share the good news. Therefore we emphasize friendships and relationships in witnessing. We work from the understanding that "witnessing is sharing Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God". We simply plant the seed by telling the gospel story, and trust God for the spiritual harvest. As Francis of Assisi was reported to say, "witness by your life, and if necessary, use words!" Our mission is simply as the Apostle Peter wrote which is to "proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light…." (1Peter 2:9)
In, explaining the Baptist Faith and Message statement on Evangelism and Missions, Herschel Hobbs wrote: The commission was given not to a select few, but to all who follow Jesus. The commission was given to the church (Ephesians 3:9-11) It is every Christians job! One may say that the soul of the church itself depends upon it. (The Baptist Faith and Message, Herschel H. Hobbs)
MINISTER TO PEOPLE
Our ultimate model of ministry is that of Jesus who said, "The Son of Man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45). In fact, Jesus declared ministry as the way to greatness in the Kingdom of God. Albert Meiburg (Called to Minister) reminds us that "ministry" describes any and all activity of the church or of individuals intended to have a helping or redeeming effect on other persons. So we understand ministry as Christian servant-hood in response to human need. Actually our desire to love and serve persons does not tell us what to do until we discover the needs of people. There are physical, material, and spiritual needs. Within the church body, we are to help each other in Christian love and to be alert to ways and means of caring for each member of the body of Christ. Jesus, stated (Luke 4:18-19) that he was about helping the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed. In three years Jesus modeled ministries of preaching, teaching, and healing and challenged his disciples to continue His ministry to others. In Acts we get a vivid picture of the church as a ministering fellowship. A missionary once stated, "if you have never been taken advantage of you have never tried to help people!" We realize that we are in the people business which means caring even with 'tough love' to enable people to grow toward spiritual maturity. In every way God leads us, we will engage in Christian ministry. We realize that there is a "broken heart on every pew"! There are hurting people who need help. Our goal is to be the good Samaritan to our neighbors nearby and wherever they are. We engage in pre-school and children's ministries, youth ministries, single Adult Ministries, special needs ministries, hospital ministry, and we support community ministries that extend our love throughout the Cocoa area. We must be wise in utilizing our resources in order to serve the most people possible. We teach spiritual gifts which enable God's people to know and exercise their unique gifts in Christian ministry.
GROW IN CHRISTLIKENESS
Our claim is not perfection, but forgiveness by God's grace. To become a follower of Christ means that we take seriously the words of the Apostle Peter; "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18) The unmerited favor of God saves us, sustains us, and enables us to be Christian in our world today. We also seek to grow in our knowledge of Jesus our Lord. This means having an on-going experience with God as we walk by faith daily. Our goal as Christians and members of First Baptist Church of Cocoa is to become more like Christ. Our desire is to grow in a loving relationship with our Lord. Jesus stated that He is the vine and we are the branches, and God the Father is the gardener who prunes the branches in order for greater fruit to occur. In time as we remain connected to Christ, we begin to produce Christlikeness which may be described as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) These nine qualities are love, joy, And peace which deal with our upward relationship to God resulting in a condition described as "the peace of God that goes beyond all understanding" which guards our hearts and minds. (Philippians 4:7)
The second trio of qualities are patience, kindness, and goodness which deal with the outward human relationships in our lives. We seek patience in working with people, being kind to every person and never rude nor crude, and exemplifying goodness which is being generous with our time and talents in caring about others. (Galatians 6:10)
The third group of qualities are faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control which deals with relationships to oneself. We grow to be dependable, disciplined, and develop the ability to control our desires and emotions. As God's people we are on a journey together seeking to be the presence of Christ each day in our relationships. Our sincere goal is to let the world see Jesus Christ in our lives. We want to be like Christ!