Believers Eastern Church believes that the ancient faith handed to us by Christ through His Apostles is timeless and capable of meeting the spiritual needs of any culture and generation. Jesus Christ, not Christianity, is the answer to the problem of this world and the individuals within it. Ancient-future churches live out this timeless faith in the power of the Holy Spirit and are regularly bringing Christ to those around them, both inside and outside the Church.
When people come to our churches they should first and foremost experience two things. The first one is Jesus Christ. Through our times of worship, through the love of our members and in all the ministries of the church, people should experience Jesus’ love and presence.
Second, they should experience a church whose faith and practice are the same as the early Church. The Book of Acts is our God-given blueprint for what the Church should be and do, and each one of our parishes seeks to embody the same spiritual DNA as the Church found within its pages. Our desire is not to be innovative in anyway, but to teach, practice and believe the ancient faith and to do so in a way that reaches and engages our generation.
Each parish is part of a larger body: its diocese, Believers Eastern Church and the “one, holy and apostolic Church.” Because we share the same spiritual DNA, each of our parishes are on their own journey to Christlikeness. Some may embody one aspect more than the other, but the following ideals and principles are what we strive to attain.
The Word of God has always been central to the Christian faith, thus we both read and teach the Holy Scripture in our worship services according to the ancient tradition. The ministry of the Word is core to our worship, and we place great emphasis on instruction in the Word.
The Bible is foundational for the individual believer. We encourage each member of our Church to read, memorize and meditate on the Scripture daily. Families include it as part of their family devotions.
The Bible, however, is for us not a book of doctrines and theology, but it is the living story of God interacting with His people. Through God’s Word, we learn of His love for us and how to love Him in return. To love God is to obey His Word (St. John 14:21).
To be Christ’s disciples also means that we are a people of prayer, both individually and corporately. Prayer meetings and a personal life of prayer are paramount to knowing Jesus and seeing His will done in our lives and communities.
Jesus told His Apostles that the world would know they were His disciples by “their love for one another” (St. John 13:35). This is the primary goal for our church life. When we gather as the Church or as families, our greatest desire is that we would truly love each other as Christ loved us.
Christ’s love was not only for His disciples but for the world. Therefore, our parishes diligently serve our communities as Jesus did. We seek to embody the compassion that moved Christ so often as He looked upon the poor, needy and suffering multitudes (St. Matthew 9:35–38).
The Triune God—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—is the reason, focus and aspiration of each of our parishes. When we gather, it is to gather around Him and to worship God in a manner pleasing to Him.
More important than doctrines, buildings and traditions is the supremacy of Jesus Christ. The goal of each parish and believer is to know Him and to become like Him. Jesus is not only praised with our lips but exalted with our very lives.
We acknowledge that the Christian life is impossible without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. However, when the Holy Spirit is given His proper place, each believer and parish becomes a positive force to impact their community and world for Jesus Christ.
Jesus never intended for His Church to be self-centered or to spend its time within the four walls of the church building. He sent them out to minister to the world as He did. The Book of Acts shows us what God intended for the life of the Church, and it centers on fulfilling Jesus’ call to take His love to a needy world in both word and deed.
Believers Eastern Church has two main types of gatherings, worship and prayer.
We gather every week on the Lord’s Day for the sole purpose of offering worship to God. As we gather together, we remember we are entering the very presence of the Holy Trinity, along with all the heavenly hosts around His throne in heaven.
Our worship services are liturgical and divided into two main parts: Ministry of the Word and Holy Communion. Our Clergy are equipped to teach God's Word systematically, according to the lectionary. The teaching time is normally 30–40 minutes. Our worship is sacramental, so we anticipate God to meet with us in a real way, especially through the Eucharist.
Liturgy is important to us because it enables us to encounter God as individuals while coming to Him as one Body. Our worship is in the vernacular languages of the community with full participation of the lay people. Liturgy provides a narrative approach to entering deeper and deeper into the intimate presence of God. Like songs, written prayers allow us to communicate from our hearts with one voice to God. The typical order of service follows this outline:
The Gathering is the beginning of the "journey of worship." This time helps us prepare our hearts, quiet ourselves and enter into God's presence.
The Ministry of the Word is when we listen to the Word of God and respond to it. We read from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and the Gospels. After reciting the Nicene Creed, we take time for intercessory prayer, to give our tithes and offerings. Then we listen to 30–40 minutes of teaching from God's Word, using the inductive study method so every parish hears God's Word taught verse by verse, so they hear and understand the whole counsel of God.
Holy Communion is a sacred time of worship. After confessing our sins to God, we partake of the bread and wine with reverence.
The Sending is the final part of our worship, sending the people of God into the world to serve Him in word and deed.
Our parishes gather every Tuesday for prayer and the first Friday of each month for an extended night of prayer. We pray because we honestly depend on God, and He answers. We call out to God for the needs of each other, the Church, our communities and the world. Answered prayer is a regular experience, filling our hearts with joy at the goodness of God.
Jesus is a shepherd, and the Scriptures illustrate how He tends His sheep. Therefore, our parishes seek to minister to the spiritual needs of its members, especially through our Women’s Fellowships, Youth Fellowships, Men’s Fellowships and Sunday School.
Our Women’s Fellowship provides discipleship and teaching, and it equips and mobilizes our women for ministry. Addressing the needs of the women in our parishes changes with the region and can consist of vocational training, life-skill and health training as well as opportunities to bless their local community. Through Women's Fellowships, women can become better disciples of Jesus Christ, better wives and mothers and better members of society.
Our Youth Fellowships provide an opportunity for young people to gather to grow and live out their faith. From Bible study and prayer to community outreaches, our young people are encouraged in their common faith and by the love they experience from one another.
Our Men’s Fellowships meet regularly to provide a group context for men’s discipleship. Men are mobilized for community development and other outreaches that reach their communities with the love of Christ.
Our Sunday School program provides a thorough Christian education and discipleship for our children. As they learn the Bible, they also learn how to follow Jesus and be active members of the life of the Church. Our curriculum, Living God’s Way, provides age-appropriate discipleship that is God-centered, practical and world-changing.
Believers Eastern Church is devoted to ministering to the needs of the local community in practical and empowering ways. Our clergy are able to address the real needs of the people around them, and our churches often become community centers to share Christ’s love with the poor, helping people break the cycle of poverty. We are also actively involved in our communities, bringing awareness to today’s social issues and being part of the solution.
Each parish is part of a diocese and the Holy Synod yet has an independent governance structure. According to our Constitution, each parish is led by a priest, assisted by a Parish Council. Depending on the size of the congregation, the Parish Council has seven or more members, including the parish priest, the secretary and treasurer.
The parish priest is appointed by the diocese, and the Council is elected by the congregation and consists of elders and lay members. The names of the elected members are sent to their diocesan episcopa for approval. The normal term of the Council is one year.
Its aim is to assist the priest spiritually and administratively so he can effectively lead the church. The diocese provides oversight and accountability to each parish, and each parish priest is appointed by the diocese. The aim is to allow each church to function independently while remaining connected to the rest of the Church in an interdependent manner.
We believe and practice a servant-style of leadership, believing that Jesus came not to be served but to serve, setting an example for the leaders of His Church.