Religious Life (Fellowship)

The will and purpose of God for His children is that they exhibit and enjoy a true religious life.  Religion describes a godly person’s public and private lifestyle.  It is marked by a life of holiness, devotion, spiritual fruit and stewardship.

Holiness denotes the fact that we have been separated from a sinful world and that we now belong to a holy God.  The Holy Spirit of God abides within us to accomplish His divine will.  The divine will and purpose of holiness is that we dispel wickedness from within ourselves as well as the world around us.

A religious life invites us to practice wholesome, loving and healing fellowship with the church family and making a Christ-like testimony to the world.  Properly lived, the religious life is no drudgery, neither is it only profitable because a person avoids the pitfalls of a sinful world, but rather it is to be filled with the joyful abiding presence of God.

In practice, our religious living should not make us isolationists.  We are ambassadors of Christ, and so, as Christ was in this world, living, loving, healing and caring, etc; so must we be.

At New Testament Temple we accomplish our mission of promoting religious life through two means; Pastoral Care & Family Ministries.  The family ministries department organizes the church family into networks, cell groups and ministry teams wherein care, nurture and fellowship can be delivered to each individual in the church.  Pastoral care is then provided and delivered to each member of the church through the agency of the family ministry groups.

The purpose of Fellowship at New Testament Temple is to glorify God by providing the opportunities for people:

  • Communion – sharing the Lord’s supper together (1 Cor. 10:16)
  • Contribution – sharing materially with one another (Rom. 15:26; 2 Cor. 8:3-4; 9:13; Phil. 4:15)
  • Communication – sharing our faith with one another (Phil.1:6)
  • Community – sharing the whole of our lives with one another on a regular basis (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35)

Priority Objectives – Priority objectives for the accomplishment of the purpose of Fellowship will include, but not limited to, the following:

  • To provide places and opportunities for contact at five levels of relationship:

Level 1     Casual contact and friendly greeting

Level 2     Further introduction and interest

Level 3     Time spent together over a meal or dessert

Level 4     Small group meetings which are regular, more personal, deeper and more accountable

Level 5     Deep accountability, sharing and transparency

  •  Stress the importance of character – Character is the expression of the person of Christ in our life.  We will strive to live consistent, Christian lifestyles, conducting our ministry and business with the highest standards of integrity and Christian ethics.
  • Develop and allow the creation of loving relationships in small groups – We believe spiritual growth happens best in the context of caring relationships, where people actively participate in a small group of believers who encourage, challenge, pray, serve, and learn together.  Every person in the church needs a shepherd, someone who knows their unique story and is involved deeply in their lives.  We are committed to developing and expanding network of these small groups, led by people with the Shepherds’ heart, which, when joined together, form a purposeful, loving community.  (Acts 2:42-47; Galatians 6:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25) “But if we are living in the light of God’s presence; just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.” (1 John 1:7)
  • Unity forged by authenticity – We believe God longs for His people to be united in spirit and purpose, and that He intends for us to live life honestly.  Unity is created and preserved when people are not afraid to admit their flaws, and fears and also when people are willing to speak the truth in love to each other (even when it is difficult and church discipline is necessary).  We are committed to living authentic lives with God and with each other. (John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 2:1-2; James 5:16)
  • Offering quality counseling – We will foster a unique but intentionally quiet ministry that offers professional and lay counseling to church members and those in the community referred by ministers and professionals.  Special classes and preventative guidance in critical and sensitive personal areas of growth will also be offered.
  • Assist the body through a financial counseling ministry – Financial problems are the primary cause for most Christian divorces.  New Testament Temple is committed to teaching biblical financial principles, giving training in budget preparation and counseling members who are having personal or business financial problems.
  • Be committed to one another.  Leadership recognizes and values the skills, gifts, and experience which God has given to members and thus participate mutually in planning decision making and in sharing the resources which God provides.  Esteeming one another highly, members will participate together in the mission the Lord has given and will seek out the spiritual and professional growth of the church staff.  Romans 12:5-6 “In Christ we who are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”
  • Promote spiritual development by providing opportunities for nourishment, support, and encouragement for members at their various stages of growth and maturity.
  • Initiate, organize and implement church-wide and aged-group social activities in coordination with the total ministry of the church.
  • Build loving relationships with each other for encouragement, exhortation, edification, admonition and unity.  “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  All men will know that you are my disciplines if you love one another.”  (John 13:34,35)
  • Establish a dynamic recreation program utilizing our Family Life Center facilities to minister to our own families but also reach out to families in the local community.
  • Actively shepherd and assimilate new Christians and new members into church life.
  • Equip and empower individuals to be healthy social beings (active in the life of the community, church, family, work environment, and other important social relationships).
  • Be accountable as “each one helping the other keep the commitments they have made to God on the basis of loving relationships.”  Members will agree to submit themselves to this process within church- or member-established Ministry Teams and the body-at-large.  All will rejoice together in the fruits of this process.