WHAT WE BELIEVE
In Essential Beliefs | We Have Unity.
“There is one Body and one Spirit … there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all…”
In Non-Essential Beliefs | We Have Liberty.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters… Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls … So then each of us will give an account of himself to God…So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”
In All Our Beliefs | We Show Charity.
“…If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains – but have no love, I amount to nothing at all.”
1 Corinthians 13:2 (Ph)
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. (Genesis 1:1,26,27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; I Peter 1:2; II Corinthians 13:14)
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. (Matthew 1:22,23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5, 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14,15; I Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; I Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13.)
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily. (II Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8; I Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18.)
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error. ( II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20,21; II Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105, 160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5.)
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life. (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1,2.)
Salvation is God’s free gift to us, but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith, we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith. (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1.)
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot “lose” it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security. (John 10:28, 29; II Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 10:10,14; I Peter 1:3-5.)
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.(John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelations 20:15; I Corinthians 2:7-9.)
We believe that God has established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. That all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is immoral and therefore sin. (Gen. 2:24-25; Ex. 20:14, 17, 22:19; Lev. 18:22-23, 20:13, 15-16; Matt. 19:4-6, 9; Rom. 1:18-31; I Cor. 6:9-10, 15-20; I Tim. 1:8-11; Jude 7). We believe that God created the human race male and female and that all conduct with the intent to adopt a gender other than one’s birth gender is immoral and therefore sin (Gen. 1:27; Deut. 22:5).”
This team is the final authority and is charged with overseeing the overall welfare of the church. The Leadership Team is responsible to support the vision and mission of Great Oaks; for the spiritual welfare of the church; to maintain a balanced approach to ministry; for membership care including discipline and restoration; and is the final authority in the church. The LT evaluates the effectiveness and direction of Great Oaks according to three criteria: Great Oaks Mission – Helping people take their next step towards God; the church’s resources; and the church’s purposes. Acts 6:1-7 gives background as to the purpose of the Leadership Team.
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:1-7
- The Leadership Team cares for the Senior Pastor – supports his vision; monitors his schedule (work-load, vacation, study break); sets his compensation; holds him accountable for the sermon series; assists in evaluating worship services; is a sounding board for new ideas; and holds him accountable for overseeing and developing the staff.
- The Leadership Team handles spiritual issues. When an issue regarding moral concerns, divorce, conflict, etc. arises, the Leadership Team determines what steps are needed to ensure restoration. One or two LT members can go with the staff member that is dealing with the issue.
- The Leadership Team appoints the members of the Administrative Council. The LT makes recommendations to the Administrative Council.
- The LT signs off on the budget.
- The LT approves pastoral candidates as selected by a pastoral search committee (designated by the LT).
- The LT is responsible for approving compensation and benefits for all staff. It is also responsible for evaluating and terminating staff pastors.
- The Leadership Team meetings are closed and minutes are not published. The LT meets approximately every six weeks.
- The Leadership Team does not determine programming; however, the LT members are responsible for evaluating programming based on its appropriateness and effectiveness in furthering the overall mission of Great Oaks.
The Chair of the Leadership Team is the legal representative of the church.
The Leadership Team would be comprised of at least four members plus the Senior Pastor. The Leadership Team would continue to nominate replacement members. The potential Leadership Team members would then be announced to the congregation so that the congregation can give input regarding the potential LT members. The minimum tenure is one year. A candidate for an LT member must have been a member of Great Oaks for at least two years and have been actively involved in ministry for two years prior to consideration. No family member of a staff member is eligible to serve on the LT.
The qualifications of an LT member are listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. These passages are to be seen as a portrait of an ideal leader and not a checklist.
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violet but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:1-7
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:5-9
The Administrative Council is authorized by the Leadership Team to address the financial, legal and property (facility) issues of Great Oaks. The main purpose of the Council is to free up the LT from the necessary financial duties to allow the LT to mainly focus on the spiritual aspects of the church and to guard the vision and mission of the church. The Council’s primary function is to ensure the financial health of the church.
- The Administrative Council sets the legal and financial policies.
- The Administrative Council sets the budget using information obtained from the staff; monitors the financial condition of the church; and signs off on the organizational policies and practices.
- The Administrative Council is ultimately accountable to the Leadership Team. The LT has the authority to override any decision made by the Administrative Council. If such an occasion should arise, it will be necessary for the Leadership Team to meet with the Administrative Council and discuss the matter fully.
- The Administrative Council meets monthly. The Administrative Council meeting minutes are distributed to the Leadership Team, the Administrative Council, the Management Team and are available to the church.
- The Administrative Council is selected by the Leadership Team. It is comprised of the Senior Pastor (or his designated representative), a Leadership Team representative, the Church Treasurer, the Assistant Treasurer and at least three members. The Treasurer sets the agenda and runs the meetings. No family member of a staff member is eligible to serve on the Administrative Council.
- Administrative Council members are required to be members of Great Oaks for at least two years and have the skills necessary to perform their assigned tasks. Members serve one three-year term. Former members are eligible to serve again after being inactive for one year.
The Management Team would be authorized and empowered by the Leadership Team to lead the various ministries of Great Oaks within conformance to its vision. The Management Team plans implements and assesses ministry initiatives; monitors organizational policies and practices; provides input and feedback on ministry alignment; determines and allocates resources within the context of the annual budget; and develops and maintains staff culture, community, and health. The focus of this team is the day-to-day operation of the church.
The staff carries out these functions along with key volunteer leaders designated by the staff. The Management Team meets at least monthly. The Management Team meeting minutes are distributed to the Leadership Team, the Administrative Council, and the Management Team.
As the staff size increases, it may be necessary to appoint a designated group of staff to oversee this function. The LT would designate this group.