Chapter 3 The Purpose, Vision and Life of the Church
*Worship, *Ministry, *Evangelism and Missions, *Fellowship, *Discipleship.
OXFORD: Our aim is to reach Oxford with the Gospel.
BIBLE: Honouring the Bible as God’s Word and walking in love and forgiveness are our priorities. We are an evangelical church and we are members of the Evangelical Alliance.
CHURCH: We are a united membership submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ and pastoral authority.
SHEKINAH: is a Hebrew word meaning God’s manifest Presence and Glory, through His Holy-Spirit. We are a charismatic Church believing that we can experience God’s abundant life, supernatural power, miracles and healing now as in Bible-times. He is a God who answers prayer.
The Purpose of our Church is summarised by Christ’s Great Commandment and Great Commission:
1. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”
2. “Love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).
3 “Go (preach the Gospel) and make disciples of all nations
4. baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
5. teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19,20).
A GREAT COMMITMENT TO THE GREAT COMMANDMENT AND THE GREAT COMMISSION WILL PRODUCE A GREAT CHURCH.
We are committed to fulfill all these 5 Purposes of Christ.
PURPOSE 1: WORSHIP
"Love the Lord with all your heart."
This is the first command from God. Ministry to the Lord comes before ministry to people. Our first love is for Jesus. This is why our times of praise and worship together are so important - for we want to love and honour God above all.
Our Aim: That through the Worship Services every one enters into a deeper personal RELATIONSHIP and EXPERIENCE with God and is released in exalting and expressing their love to God.
PURPOSE 2: MINISTRY
"Love your neighbour as yourself"
Our Aim: Every Christian should have a ministry. We want to encourage and release every Church member into a ministry or service to others (either within or outside the Church), as well as attending Sunday Services. Ministry is demonstrating God's
love to others by meeting their needs and bringing healing in the Name of Jesus. This is the heart of the Christian life. The Church is to EQUIP the saints for the work of ministry.
Foundational to all effective ministry is PRAYER. It is up to the Church to pray God’s will into the earth. We have been given authority (the keys of the Kingdom to bind and loose - Matthew 16:18,19) to do this. We are to stop the works of the devil through prayer. Prayer and intercession is a vital ministry anyone can be involved in, either in prayer-groups or alone.
*There is a weekly Prayer Meeting on Fridays 6pm-8pm in the Cheney Community Hall, except for the first Friday of the month when instead there is an All-night Prayer-Meeting, from 10pm.
The Great Commission can only be fulfilled if undergirded with prayer, that’s why it is the first priority: "I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men...for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved
and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Timothy 2:1-4).
The goal: “All men saved and in the knowledge of the truth” (v4), exactly describes the purpose of the Great Commission. Thus, prayer is essential to fulfill our mission to the world.
PURPOSE 3: EVANGELISM and MISSIONS.
"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
The Church is called to proclaim the Good-News, heal the sick, deliver the oppressed and set the captives free (Luke 4:18). We have the answer to the world’s problems and we must share Him! God gave us Jesus because He loved the world (John 3:16). His love has not changed and we are to go to the unsaved with this message of God’s love.
Our Aim: To be effective WITNESSES leading people to salvation in Jesus on a regular basis. This involves living holy and attractive Christian lives before them. Our Sunday Services aim to be relevant to the unchurched. We must provide a warm and friendly welcome to newcomers, to get to know them and encourage them to
come again and get involved in other Church activities.
As well as special evangelistic meetings, one Saturday a month a team does an outreach in the Town-Centre or Headington/Barton. Also, every other Saturday a team reaches out to the youth of Barton using sports (in association with Oxford Youth Works). To know more, contact our Evangelism Coordinator: Ian Pattison
We have many glossy Church Tracts called: “Good-News!” which are freely available to be used in witnessing, as well as our attractive Church invitation card. There is also an Evangelism Training Manual for those who want to know more.
SHORTWAVE RADIO MINISTRY.
We broadcast a weekly half-hour teaching program to the whole Indian sub-continent and beyond, on Bible-Voice, Saturdays, from 1400-1430 UTC (around 7.30pm or 8pm local Asian time). India 1 frequency is 11.695 (25 meter band) until April 07. Many of our radio messages can be found on www.biblevoice.org
and www.oxfordbiblechurch.co.uk This Bible-Voice website also uses our ‘Good-News’ as their Gospel Presentation.
SATELLITE TV MINISTRY.
Since April 2006, Oxford Bible Church has been broadcasting our own TV program: ‘Into the Word’ every Tuesday at 6pm on the Revelation TV, Sky Channel 765, which covers the UK and much of Europe. You can also see our programme on broadband at www.revelationtv.com.We also broadcast our programmes nationally in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and the Philippines.
Deddington Bible Church (DBC), Sunday Services 3pm.
Deddington is a small town between Oxford and Banbury. The Congregational Church there has asked to come under the covering and ministry of OBC. We have relaunched the Church there as DBC, and a group from OBC are joining in their Sunday afternoon worship and working to rebuild the Church, in order to reach Deddington and the surrounding area with the Gospel.
NURSING HOME MINISTRY. We have a team that holds a Service every fortnight in the Close Nursing Home, Burcot, as well as occasional Services in other Homes.
HALLELUJAH PARTY! Outreaches to children include an annual Hallelujah party
on October 31st, which replaces the usual Halloween events.
CHURCHES TOGETHER LOVING OXFORD. We also join together with other Churches in Oxford in various outreaches to Oxford, such as: ‘Love Oxford’, ‘Feed the 5000’,‘Oxford City Mission’, ‘Fusion Headington Festival.’
MISSIONS We believe in Missions. Not including the media ministries mentioned above, 20-40% of our budget is dedicated to Missions around the world. Please uphold these Missionaries in your prayers, for they are involved in vital work for God’s Kingdom! If you want to know more about any of these ministries, because you want to support them more in prayer or in giving -please ask. You can give a financial gift to any of these ministries through OBC by designating your gift for them. Taxpayers should use the Gift-Aid envelope system. This will allow us to reclaim an extra 28% from the Government.
1. Simon and Adriana Potter. Simon went to Bible School with Derek and Hilary and helped them start the Church in Oxford. They travel together teaching the Word around the world.
2. Dr Tahira Saleem and her family, who lead the Shekinah Churches and Bible Institutes in Pakistan, which are associated with Oxford Bible Church (part of our network of Churches). We got to know Tahira after Derek was invited to hold an open-air Evangelistic Healing Crusade in Lahore, Pakistan (a Muslim country). She was later ordained and sent by Derek and Hilary and OBC, to fulfill her ministry in Pakistan. Since then Shekinah Bible Institute, Lahore has been started, raising up Evangelists, Pastors and Church-workers for Pakistan. Graduating students are starting Shekinah Bible Churches in Pakistan. Presently there is: Shekinah Bible Church and Institute, Lahore.Recently Asher Saleem has been ordained to Pastor the Lahore Church and the other members of the Saleem family (Ashgar, Areesha, Aneela, Anita) along with Aneel Chaudrey are also involved in leading this ministry. 12 We go to Pakistan regularly to teach, encourage and minister in the Churches, Bible Institutes, doing Seminars and Outreaches. They are also involved in the production and printing of Derek’s Prophecy Book and translating books into Urdu. They also produce the only christian newspaper in Pakistan.
3. Rick Renner Ministries, with its TV program “Good-News with Rick Renner” which broadcasts all over the former Soviet Union and beyond, even into China. Rick is an apostle who has pioneered large Good News Churches in Riga, Latvia, and now Moscow as well as aMinister’s Association providing a covering for hundreds of Pastors and Churches. Derek and Hilary are Trustees of Rick Renner Ministries, Europe.
4. Eurovision, the effective evangelistic ministry headed by David Hathaway to the former Soviet Union, where he holds large televised evangelistic campaigns with miracles. Susanne Pillans, a member of OBC, is an associate evangelist with Eurovision, and ministers the Gospel in many nations. We are working with her ministry to help establish Bible Schools and to broadcast our (and her) TV programmes in these countries.
5. Malawi. We have been helping in two villages to relieve poverty and bring God’s Word to Malawi. Money has been raised to buy food, a well, as well as to build a Church and a ‘Shekinah’ Orphanage in Samuti village. In addition, there is now an Oxford Bible Church in Malawi, led by Pastor Sosten, which is associated with us as part of our group of Churches. We have recently funded the construction of their church building
6. The Bethany Care Home for Aids Children run by Abel and Neela Govendar in Johannesberg, South Africa.
Abel has a well-known ministry in South-Africa and is on the Board of the Africa Pastor’s Forum. He spends part of the year in the UK and is a Member of OBC. He is getting our Radio Programme on various stations in Africa. Abel’s wife Neela runs two Care Homes for orphaned children. Oxford Bible Church purchased and owns the second Home called: ‘Bethany’ which cares especially for AIDS children.
Alan Clarke, a member of OBC, helps Christian Charities in South Africa. He uses the support money we send him to give Charles from Malawi a Bible School training for the Ministry.
7. Steven Everett and Family in Istanbul, who are missionaries in the Muslim nation of Turkey.
8. We also send gifts to India Inland Mission led by Paul Pillai, having the largest Bible College in India and sending out many Pastors and Evangelists to work in India and beyond. They also have a large orphanage. Penny Caldwell, a member of OBC, runs their UK Office.
9. We also send gifts to other groups such as: Tear Fund, World Compassion (Terry Law) and the Barnabus Fund.
PURPOSE 4: FELLOWSHIP
Water Baptism represents the fact that we are Baptised into Christ and His Body (it is expected that Members be baptised by full immersion in water, see Appendix 4).
Just as any member of our physical body will die if isolated from the rest of the body, so Christians, as members of Christ’s body must not be isolated, but be connected in fellowship to other believers, receiving and giving life to one another. We need to be committed MEMBERS of a local body. We need one another. We are God's family. As an burning coal stays hot if it stays in the fire with the other coals, but quickly cools when taken out, we all need to meet together with other Christians regularly. 14 As we share our lives with one another we make the Church a warmer place where we can grow and encourage one another in our Christian lives. The Church is a Community of believers, a family, loving together and caring for each other, a body with many members (1Cor 12:12). Every member of the body needs the other members. God uses each of us to supply something to someone else. The first believers shared with one another, ate together, prayed together, and worshipped together (Acts 2).
Our Aim: To bring Christians from mere Church attendance into MEMBERSHIP, participating in the life and witness of the Church family. We are not called to live the Christian life alone but as members of the Body of Christ. Our goal is for all members to be involved in a Ministry, Prayer or Home Group.
As well as Sunday Events, involvement in a midweek group for Prayer, Bible-study, Fellowship or Ministry is recommended.
*Home Groups. There are Home-Groups and Prayer Groups meeting at various times during the week. More details may be obtained from the Booktable or by contacting the Church Office.
PURPOSE 5: DISCIPLESHIP
"Teaching them to obey"
The Word of God is foundational to all that is done in the Church. The Pastor and other teaching/preaching ministries are given by God to train and equip the believers for maturity and to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). The first role for the Pastor is to feed the sheep with the Word. Anything that lasts must be built on the Word (Matthew 7:24-27).
Our Aim: To bring God's people into MATURITY and FRUITFULNESS, into experiencing a victorious, blessed life.
This can only be done through building faith in God's Word. The Word of God feeds, builds and equips believers to be and do what God desires. As a Church we want to constantly nurture believers so that they grow into full maturity. As our lives come into line with God's Word we experience God's life, health and blessing. The Church is therefore to TEACH and EDIFY God's people in the Bible and to PRAY regularly for its members.
We are a Church with an International Flavour. Part of our vision is that those who come from many different nations to study in Oxford will be equipped with God’s Word, so that when they return to their country they will be effective for the Lord there.
As a Bible-Teaching Church, we provide a variety of resources to establish believers in the Word of God, to train and strengthen them to be equipped for godly living and ministry:
The Pastors hold occasional Mid-week Bible Studies, Prayer Meetings, Training evening and Video nights at their home. The times are announced in the weekly newsletter.
Our Wednesday Meeting ‘Victorious’ led by Peter Hockley at 7.30pm in the Cheney Community Hall is recommended for students and young people for fellowship and teaching.
Our monthly Saturday Bible School, open to all, free of charge, is in the Cheney Community Hall from 10.30am-4.30pm. This provides a chance to study a Bible topic in great depth, helping you to grow faster in your knowledge of God’s Word.
*The Sunday Messages on CD are available after each Service for £1, at a table at the back of the Church (from John & Shaju). Those who missed the message because of working in Children’s Church may claim a free CD of that message. CDs of previous Sunday Messages can also be ordered from the CD table.
Video Tapes & DVDs are available of the Sunday 6pm Services & Wednesday Bible Studies. Order from Cameraman: Bill Finlay.
Our weekly NEWSLETTER contains a teaching from God’s Word as well as information about the coming week’s events. The newsletter can also be found at www.oxfordbiblechurch.co.uk. Back issues are also available upon request.