Beliefs and Practices

Jesus is always at the center of all that we are and all that we do — both as individuals and as a faith community.  Always (see Colossians 1:15-20).  God has open arms, and so should we (see Genesis 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 12:4-26, and Romans 12:4-8).  Jesus lived and loved with passion, and so should we (see all four gospels and the entire story of Jesus’ life).

We believe that God reaches out to us in different ways.  God is the creator of the universe and giver of all that is good.  God is the savior — known boldly and intimately in Jesus and his life, death, and resurrection — who shows us how to live and love.  God is the Spirit who enables us to make a difference in our world and in the lives of others.

We believe that we don’t have all the answers and that disagreement and discussion are healthy.  We believe that Christian community is Christian not because it’s like-minded on every issue but because it is rooted in Jesus, who is a lot more interesting than religion has made him seem (Ephesians 2:14).

We believe that every human being is created and gifted by God.  Therefore, people of every age and background, theological and political conviction, race and gender are invited to be a real part of the church.  We celebrate the gifts of diverse Christians in every part of our life together.

We believe that sin, both what we have done and what we have failed to do — the Bible calls it “missing the mark” — describes the reality that things are not as they should be.  We are self-obsessed, broken, fearful, and oppressive.  It’s what Jesus came to save us from.

We believe that the Bible is a beautiful, God-inspired, complex, and challenging book.  We believe that its message of grace matters most when we live it out in a way that people’s lives are changed (our own lives included).  In worship each week, we say together, “This is the Bible, it is inspired, eternal, and true, and I place myself under the authority of God’s Word.”

We believe that grace is the love, honesty, and compassion that God gives and shows us in Jesus.  It’s how Jesus saves us, heals us, sets us free, and increases our capacity for love.

We believe that we need each other.  Whether single, married, partnered, divorced or widowed, it’s a lot easier to follow God with friends than it is by ourselves.

Connect. We believe the goal of church is not to make people more religious but to help people fall more in love with God and therefore become more fully human. We come together as a community to support one another, learn together, and challenge each other.

Grow. We are all on a faith journey where we learn, ask questions, and deepen our faith. We believe that spiritual practices like prayer, reading the Bible, participating in small groups, fasting, and tithing are vital to our faith.

Serve. We give back and strive to make a difference in our community, city, and world. We believe that we are called to reach out to our neighbors both locally and globally and serve them in ways that make a difference.

Imagine Church believes that the community we call the Church is comprised of those who have received the sacrament of Christian baptism, therefore services of baptism are conducted during our public worship.  By baptism we are incorporated into the body of Christ, and made one in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27-28).

Imagine Church will baptize by any of the models used by Christians.  Candidates may have the choice of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.  Each is a form of washing which symbolizes the washing away of sin (Acts 2:38, 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:22).  Going under the water and being raised from it is a powerful symbol of our burial and resurrection with Christ (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12) and of being born anew of water and the Spirit (John 3:3-5).  Pouring or sprinkling also symbolizes God’s pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:21-22).

The sacrament of baptism is a public declaration of one’s personal decision to make Jesus Lord and Savior of his/her life.  It proclaims that the old is gone and the new life in Christ has been received (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Receiving baptism is the perfect next step for one who recently made the decision to follow Jesus.  

Jesus has given a special place to children among the people of God (Mark 10:14).  In dedicating children, Imagine Church recognizes and celebrates God’s gift of love which is extended to every person.  We encourage parents to declare their commitment to raise each child in a Christian home and under the ministry and guidance of the church until the day when the child can make his/her profession of faith, receive the sacrament of Baptism, and commit to live a Christian life.

Imagine Church is always thrilled to baptize candidates who take the vows of baptism for themselves.  This is principally what Imagine Church celebrates!  The church’s response is to affirm God’s grace by claiming and receiving this new member of Christ’s holy church.  To arrange a baptism or child dedication, please call the church office, 980-999-3500, to arrange a time to speak with the pastor.

Through the sharing of the bread and cup, we experience in Holy Communion the presence of God in Christ and fellowship with our neighbors.  We believe that the benefits of participating in the Lord’s Supper are two-fold:  our sins are forgiven, and we are strengthened to live the Christian life.  The early disciples were nurtured in this life through “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

Though baptism serves as the rite of entrance to the Lord’s Supper, our understanding of Holy Communion as both a confirming and a converting ordinance leads Imagine Church to practice an open communion.  All who desire to live and lead a Christian life, regardless of age, ability, or denomination are invited to the Lord’s table for this holy meal.  Our invitation to the table includes reminders that Jesus shared meals with sinners as well as with the righteous.  We are also reminded that the table to which we are invited does not belong to a particular congregation or denomination but to Jesus Christ.  It is Christ who invites us to share the meal with him.  We never turn anyone away who comes to the Lord’s Supper as this would be contrary to the grace of our Lord.

Typically, Imagine Church observes the sacrament of Holy Communion on the first Sunday of each month and on other occasions as well.  Communion is served from a common cup and the breaking of a single loaf of bread.  It draws our attention to the biblical stories of the upper room, in which Jesus shares a single cup and breaks a single loaf of bread with the disciples (Luke 21:14-21).  It also calls to mind Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 10:17, “We who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

Regardless of who we are, God invites each of us to the gospel feast.  Jesus stands waiting to receive us in.  The invitation is ours to accept.