Catch the Vision!
At Open Bible Fellowship you will find a faith and friends that are REAL!
There is much to say about our vision, because it is the powerful reason OBF exists and is unique.
Open Bible Fellowship has been birthed as a Church which sees itself as a Team of Christians who seek
The principles of a New Testament Church which are:
Bold to Believe the Bible as God’s manual for our church and lives,
Holy Spirit Filled in knowing God still works today as He did in Bible days,
Committed to Love as a real way of life,
Committed to Team Unity to be a New Testament Church as Jesus wants,
Balanced in all doctrine and ways,
Using the Jesus Style of Church leadership and order.
We know that the Bible is God’s Word. We have many reasons to believe this based on academic, rational, historical and experiential reasons. We believe if we take it seriously and therefore read it openly and straightforwardly we come to understand what God wants and can therefore also go into deeper understanding and maturity.
The unfolding of Your words gives light;It gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130
Rather than accepting the approach that it "contains" the word of God, as many churches do, we accept it as the Word of God. Where it is obviously allegorical or figurative we accept it that way, where it is direct we accept it that way. We believe God made it reasonable and rational for us to understand.
We are a "Charismatic" Church, meaning we believe God still works today as He always has, even in Bible days, through the "Charismata" or "Gifts" of the Spirit which the Bible teaches are manifestations of the working of God’s sweet Holy Spirit to do miracles, healings, signs and wonders. Yes God still does miracles. Contrary to what some teach the truth is no where does the Bible say such things will cease, in fact it overwhelmingly teaches that the Holy Spirit and His "gifts" or "manifestations" are based always on those who "believe". The Bible clearly shows, and we can testify to the same through many such personal experiences, that God will give His spirit to believers to remain with them forever, that the same works Jesus did, we will do, that signs will follow believers of healings, prophecy, tongues (which is really prophecy in another language). That the Holy Spirit (rather than being contained) will especially be for the Last Days, as Peter said on Pentecost, quoting the Old Testament Prophecy…
‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says
‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My spirit
And they shall prophesy.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” Acts 14:12
We are committed to the most important aspect of being a Christian and being a church, that is: LOVE. Frankly, most Christians, talk the talk but don’t walk the walk in their church relationships. Too often Christians are self-willed, independent- saying "I don’t need you are anyone". If we are at all concerned about being truly obedient to the teachings of God in the Bible we must know that unless our love is translated into actual relationships together in our daily lives, we have missed the most important basis of our faith. Yes we are Charismatic and desire to see the power of God, that is why we must first base everything we do out of love, so it is balanced and in proper order.
If we actually catch what the New Testament is clearly teaching and sincerely want to do what Jesus wants us to do, we will see that to Him His people are His body, His church and unless we are committed to the church and one another we are apart from His will.
We have found that too many, especially American Christians, are Lone Rangers, independent and self-willed, not seeing themselves as part of a team, but as a part of themselves, owing nothing to anyone. Yet if we want to have the heart and spirit of Jesus we can not see ourselves apart from the church, apart from the precious people of God. The New Testament tells us: Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so…, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27.
Our strong belief in the Bible and its accuracy as the word of God does not make us extremists. Rather because of God’s teaching and spirit it creates in us balance, wisdom, love. God is a God of order and righteousness and proper, right acceptance and belief in His word establishes us in that same wholeness. Paul speaks of such characteristics in II Corinthians 6:4-8: in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, …in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory….
In every doctrine, therefore we look at the whole and seek its balance.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
As a New Testament Church, our church therefore operates with the Jesus Style of Church Government. The Bible actually says much about leadership, government and attitudes of church polity (governmental style): I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God. I Timothy 3:15 (See our full study on this in How to Live in the Church.)
One aspect of this style of church means we recognize that each person is "gifted" with certain callings and abilities which the Lord gives a person through the Holy Spirit. We therefore seek to identify and help place each individual into the position God where God wants them.
It also means, the church isn’t run as a business, but rather it is lead by gifted and tested Elders who function in plurality and unity of decisions rather than by votes and disagreements. We make all our decisions by coming to a consensus rather than finding disagreements then voting to see who wins. Doing it Jesus’ way gives strength for our government and consistency of direction. Our Vision grows from the core on out. Jesus ministered to the multitudes, yet he didn’t throw out his church’s future to the multitude by making it a democracy to everyone to vote and take positions as they wanted; rather he ministered to a core group of people that were called, experienced, proven and led by the Holy Spirit to be the leaders of the Church. Radical idea? Unfamiliar perhaps, but strongly Biblical with many benefits.
This avoids politicking, arguments, campaigning and strife. The Bible says "He is also head of the body, the church" Col 1:13 and "The same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills I Cor. 12:11. What we see in the New Testament Church is a Spirit Lead Church where Jesus is in charge. How does that happen? By recognizing, what His Spirit is doing in people’s lives and not by people campaigning to get their ideas in place.
In Open Bible Fellowship we are following this New Testament Style of church leadership and government. As a Pastor who has spent many years in traditional churches I can attest to the fact that this is a wonderful way of operating a church. -Jesus' Way
Rev. Wally Shea
The Goal of Open Bible Fellowship is Everyone Spiritually Whole from Colossians 1:28. It directs every aspect
of our ministry. So, We seek:
Full Spiritual Growth to Maturity for each person- not just a one time commitment for salvation as a “notch” on our belt.
Discipleship which gives each person quick, easy and full spiritual understanding and knowledge.
Focus on the Individual and not the crowd. If our focus is on each person then our ministry must allow for times and ways the individual can be touched, ministered to, connected to others, and be cared for.
Fellowship for each person since public meetings cannot fulfill all the criteria of the Christian Life.
Deliberate ministry which does not neglect or take each person’s spiritual growth for granted.
Everyone Spiritually Whole!
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Colossians 1:28
Full Spiritual Growth to Maturity
The Apostle Paul Here in Colossians tells us their goal, which we have adopted as a church. It is a focus to win every person to Christ, but not just to a shallow faith, one that brings them along to full maturity in Christ. The Greek word here is “Teleois” which is translated “complete”, “mature”, “perfect”, “complete”. Which word is right? They all are! You see it is a word which represents the finishing of a process, like an apple which has come to full maturity and is therefore a complete, perfect apple which has completed its growth process and is ready to be picked by the master at the very touch of His hand.
So Our Goal at OBF is not just to get people saved, but to bring them in their salvation to a complete maturity in their faith! Therefore this goal makes us realize we must develop our ministry in every aspect to accomplish this goal. We seek to help each person assess where they are at and give them the tools and relationships that help towards specific steps toward growth in their spiritual lives.
If a person is going to come to complete maturity, it will not happen by accident. You would not just push a child out into the world, but rather you send him to school with particular steps and instructions. So also we are mindfully developing our ministry through materials, resources, sermons, and experiences which are deliberate and meaningful to help each person become a full understanding, mature Christian. We have developed two courses in particular which help lay a beginning, solid foundation for one’s faith and relationship in the church called “Foundational Christian Teachings” and “How to Live in the Church”.
Focus on the Individual
The focus in Colossians 1:28 shows it is on the individual, not the crowd. It’s nice to know we are not just a number or faceless part of the world, but each one is precious to the Lord and to us. Therefore we see that our church’s ministry can not be just on public meetings. We need to connect to each individual and each individual needs to connect to others, and not just for instruction, but for living out the Christian lifestyle which is growing and experiencing the love and knowledge of God with others. Jesus made disciples, not just students. The difference is a disciple lives with and shares his life with the master. We are to be disciples, who grow together with others in the church through individual relationships.
As we become true disciples of the Lord and His Word we soon discover that there is so much more to the Christian life than just assimilating knowledge, for if we are to apply what we are learning we see that the Bible Teaches we are to experience the Love of the Lord through others. The Bible strongly shows our need for fellowship with others. We are not to neglect meeting together, the early Christians had fellowship from house to house. The Bible tells us we are lying when we say we love God but do not love others.
And how can we develop our fellowship, if all the church ever offers is services? Therefore within the structure of our church we have realized we need to have times and places that foster this fellowship, the developing of friendships. So, we have developed Fellowship Groups which are small groups whose main priority is the development of friendships. We also study the Word and Have Prayer together during these times. They last no longer than 75 minutes and are scheduled at different times and places so everyone can find a time and place to meet and share with other Christians during the week.
Since we have such a wonderful goal which shapes everything our ministry is about we are deliberate in all me do to the furtherance of everyone’s spiritual wholeness. Our worship and sermon times therefore have specific focus, themes and purpose. We develop studies and resources to give people a quick start and fast track to full understanding and maturing. We constantly look at our programs, events and structure to see if they are helping to fulfill our goal.
“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly” I Cor. 9:26