In Acts 2:42-47 the Bible gives us a blueprint for church life. It describes the priorities, practices and principles that shaped the church in the first century. At Tayside Christian Fellowship (TCF) we are committed to this same vision of church.
What is our vision?
‘Together we worship Jesus and communicate His love in all we do and say.’
We have clear values at TCF because we believe that our attitudes and behaviours should be consistent with our beliefs. We seek earnestly to practise what we preach and we aspire to live as followers of Jesus Christ and follow His example.
Commitment – We trust in and are commited to following Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord of our lives. We seek to follow and live out the teaching of the Bible in all our relationships and responsibilities at home with our families, at work with our employers and colleagues, in the world as citizens and as a part of Tayside Christian Fellowship. Romans 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Timothy 3:16;
Love – We seek to love God first and to love others. With the love of Christ in our hearts through the Holy Spirit we are self-denying, self-giving and self-sacrificing in our love towards others. John 13:35; 1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 4:8.
Integrity – We seek to be honest and truthful in our speech, which means we do not lie or deceive others. We do not gossip or slander, which means we are not two-faced and therefore can be trusted. We are conscientious and hardworking in all areas of life and responsibility, which means we are dependable and reliable. 1 Corinthians 19; 2 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 6:18.
Inclusion – We look for and value God’s image in all people through their personalities, gifts and abilities. We seek to welcome, care for and serve all people because they matter to God and to us. Genesis 1:27; 5:1.
Service – We seek to serve God first and then people and their genuine needs. We seek to wisely use our time, gifts, resources and money to glorify God and meet the needs of others. Matthew 20:28; Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-37; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
1. The Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.
2. The Trinity of the Godhead consisting of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
3. The perfect Deity , the virgin birth and the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross as the only perfect and effective sacrifice for sin, His subsequent burial, resurrection and ascension.
5. The personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. The fall of man necessitating the sacrifice of Christ and the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
7. The justificaLon of the sinner by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
8. The baptism of believers by immersion at their request and on personal confession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
9. The observance of the Lord’s Supper, welcoming on that occasion, all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who profess to be sound in faith and living Godly lives.
We are evangelical which means that we believe that the Bible is God’s Word and, that as originally given, is without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. We believe the Bible has final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. Those wishing to join TCF would be expected to share the core beliefs outlined in this leaflet, and be prepared to submit to the Bible in all areas of life and faith.
We believe in plurality of leadership which means that although we may have a serving Pastor or other staff, it is the Elders who, together, are responsible for its affairs. This belief in plural leadership is also complemented by a strong commitment to ‘all member ministry’ where the participation of all members in some form of church ministry is encouraged.
TCF is ‘Complementarian’ in its view of gender roles. That is, we believe that men and women are equal in worth and value before God, and that Christ’s work of salvation is open to men and women without distinction. Within this context we also recognise a biblical pattern that, among the various roles and duties given to men and women in the church, certain are given as male responsibilities, e.g. eldership and the authoritative teaching of the bible in relation to our core beliefs and practices. Anyone wishing to join TCF would be expected to respect these practices.
In the early church it was common for new Christians to be baptised within a very short time of their conversion. Baptism is symbolic of what happens to someone at conversion, i.e. we start a new life in Christ; His death becomes our death (of old self), and His resurrection becomes our new life. Further, we are cleansed by Christ: baptism symbolises that the guilt of our old life is ‘washed away’. At conversion we become part of God’s people and baptism is a public sign of identification with and obedience to Jesus. In the New Testament, those baptised were often brand new Christians – so Baptism is not to be thought of as something you should put off until you’ve been a Christian for a while. This is why we practice believer’s baptism by immersion. The age from which we might baptise someone would be dependent on their maturity and circumstances. Total immersion baptism is the method of putting someone totally under water – we do this as we believe it best fits the biblical picture of baptism and is in keeping with the accounts of baptism in the New Testament.
The church is made up of all Christias throughout the world. In this sense every Christian becomes part of the church at their conversion. The local church is simply a gathering of Christians in a particular place. Thus TCF is a local expression of this greater worldwide Church in the same way as New Testament churches in Rome, Ephesus, etc. The Bible takes it for granted that Christians will be part of a local church. God’s plan in salvation is to create a people, in Christ, who are reconciled both to Himself but also to each other. Being identified with a local church is therefore a ‘must’ for Christians. It is only in gathering together with other Christians in such a committed and ongoing way that churches become real spiritual families. This requires:
Attendance – Membership in TCF comes with the responsibility of being part of the church family and showing that commitment by supportting and attending the main services of the church whenever possible. It is during these times that we encourage each other in worship and grow together under God’s Word. Members are also strongly encouraged to get involved in the church’s Group ministry.
Participation – Christ’s church functions healthily when its different parts are contributing as God has designed them. Each believer in Christ is given at least one spiritual gift and everyone has different skills, abilities and experiences. Members are encouraged to get involved in an area of ministry as well as serving others; it is a great, practical way of getting to know fellow Christians in the church.
Giving – The New Testament also teaches the need for Christians to financially support God’s work (e.g. church workers, overseas mission, ministry expenditure and the costs of running and maintaining premises). Members are encouraged to give financially as they are able. While the amount any individual may be able to give will vary greatly, it is expected that every member will give generously and sacrificially as God has blessed them.
The Christian life is an ongoing relationship with Jesus in which we (helped by the Holy Spirit) seek to live lives pleasing to Him. There are a number of ways in which we are helped to do this:
Prayer – Settng aside regular times to speak to God is key to a healthy relationship with Him. In these times we can thank God for His goodness to us, pray for others as well as bring our needs and failures to God.
Reading the Bible – This is the primary means by which God speaks to us and where we find out about God and His plans for our lives and the world.
Fellowship – Christian believers have been brought into the larger family of God’s people (the church). As part of this family we are given (and give) encouragement and support. We also identify ourselves with God’s wider work in the world and become part of it (this is also a way of confessing/owning our faith).
Service – As a Christian, God has given you unique gifts (your personality, talents, experience, etc). These gifts are given that you might use them to build up other Christians and reach out with God’s love to others. None of these ‘practices’ make a person a Christian, but they are all hallmarks of a healthy Christian life and evidence of new life in Christ.