There are lots of churches in Shannon County, why begin another?
When I (Pastor Clingman) and my family moved to Shannon County, Missouri we did not intend to start a new church. After our move some members of a small country church nearby who knew I was a pastor asked me to preach for them, they hoped I might preach regularly for the church. However the majority of the members decided they did not want a pastor and that it was best for them to continue as they had for years with Sunday school only and no pastor, and no regular preaching. During the next several months we visited churches in the area, looking for a church that would be suitable. We found none. We looked in the phone book, asked people we met, kept our ears open seeking to discover whether there was any church within reasonable driving distance suitable for our family and found none.
You might be saying, “Aren’t you pretty picky about what kind of church you attend?” This is certainly a reasonable question to ask. Our quest for a church was more than taste or preference. It was based on how the Lord has lead us in years past.
There are a number of reasons for looking for a particular kind of church. First, what is taught and believed is essential to the formation of the individual believer and of the family unit. These beliefs are more than mere doctrines (though doctrine is essential). Beliefs also have to do with practice. The churches all claim to be following Jesus in belief and practice, yet every church we visited was permeated with what I call a “public school mentality.” It is assumed in most churches that it is good and right to send their children to the government schools where they are indoctrinated into humanism, socialism, and permeated with the mentality that either God does not exist or if he does He is not relevant to anything that is going on in the school for He is not looked to for guidance or help and it is officially unlawful to teach of Him or His standards. We believe this is perhaps the most significant problem facing the Body of Christ today – This assumption that it is ok, even good to assign pagans in the government school system to train Christian children. God clearly teaches Christian parents that we should train our children in His ways day and night (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
This area is only one of the reasons we could not join ourselves to any of the churches we visited, but it is indeed a significant one.
There are other areas of doctrine and practice that we believe are key to the proper growth of the individual, of the family, and subsequently of the Church that we could not find in any of the churches in the area:
We believe the Bible teaches optimism for God’s Church on planet Earth. We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus and that prior to it the Church will be successful in discipling the nations according to Jesus “Great Commission” command (Matthew 28:18-20), and as the prophet said, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!” (Habakkuk 2:13, 14). We believe the world will be mostly Christianized prior to the Second Coming of Jesus. We do not believe in an eminent rapture, but we do believe in living holy, for Jesus may indeed come for any of us this very day!
We believe God has promised to be God not only to us, but to our children also (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39), and that He has therefore commanded us to place upon our children the sign of the New Covenant which is baptism (Gen. 17:10; Colossians 2:11, 12; Acts 2:38-39); new converts are also to be baptized.
We believe our children are members of the Church (Exodus 12:3, 4; Deut. 29:10-15; I Cor. 7:14; Eph. 6:1-3) unless they apostatize by rejecting Christ and His salvation or by walking in unrepentant sin. Our children therefore share in the Communion Service.
We believe the Early Church shared Communion weekly and that the Bible teaches that God imparts a measure of grace through a proper reception of Communion. We therefore receive the Lord’s Table weekly that we might be strengthened through this means of God’s grace!
We believe God requires men to lead in their own homes and in the Church. We agree with the Apostle Paul who said, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man…” (1 Tim. 2:12). We believe the Bible requires male leadership in the Church!
We believe “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Preaching and teaching from God’s Word are a means of God’s grace. We believe the Bible teaches the primacy of God’s Word in the worship service! (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 4:2; Rom. 10:17)
We believe in the spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12-14). We therefore seek to obey the admonition of the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 – “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances.” We eagerly seek the “best gifts” and ask the Lord to help us exercise them in godly love so the congregation may be edified. (1 Cor. 12:31)
We believe training our children into the Christian worldview is required by God and therefore that Christian education (Christian school, Christian homeschool, or other Christian based education) is the only righteous option for Christians to choose for their children. We believe the Bible teaches the necessity of covenant faithfulness in the education of our children! (Deut. 6; Eph. 6:4)
We believe the family is central to God’s purpose to the advance His Kingdom and the evangelization of the lost; God’s blessing is upon His faithful people from generation to generation. We believe the Church should function and teach in such a way as to strengthen the integrity and unity of the family; we seek to strengthen men in their leadership role as husbands and fathers, and women in their eminent roles as wives and mothers.
These are some of the reasons we are starting a new church. We wholeheartedly receive the Body of Christ represented in the local churches that surround us as our brothers and sisters. But at the same time, we cannot deny what we believe is essential to the truth of God and the proper growth of the individual Christian, of the Christian family, and subsequently of Christ’s kingdom. If you also believe these things are true, we invite you to join us.