If someone asks you what kind of Church you go to, what do you tell them? What should your answer be?
The answer is that we at the First Congregational Church of Zephyrhills (FCCZ) are an Evangelical and Reformed Congregational Church.
We are Evangelical
As a Church body we believe in the necessity of evangelism, but please do not be confused. Evangelism is not a method or a program. Often, when the word is mentioned, people get mental pictures of putting up a tent, going door to door, waving a Bible on a street corner and so on. Some of these methods are valid ways to reach those who need to hear, but at the heart of the matter, evangelism is the idea of faithfully presenting the reality of God and the Truth of His Word. In the Bible, Jesus gives a command to His disciples to evangelize that carries down to us today: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone in all Creation"
We are Reformed
What is a Reformed Church?
Broadly speaking, Reformed theology traces its roots back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century. Of course, the Reformers themselves – Martin Luther and John Calvin - traced their doctrine directly to Scripture, as indicated by their credo of “sola scriptura,” or “Scripture Alone” Reformed theology is not a “new” belief system but one that seeks to continue genuine apostolic doctrine. Reformed believers also hold to the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace through faith in Christ, and the necessity of evangelism. It is sometimes called Covenant Theology because of its emphases on the covenant God made with Adam and the new covenant which came through Jesus Christ. (Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-13).
Authority of Scripture.
Reformed theology teaches that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God, sufficient in all matters of faith and practice.
Sovereignty of God
Reformed theology teaches that God rules with absolute control over all creation. He has foreordained all events and is therefore never frustrated by circumstances. This does not limit the will of the creature, nor does it make God the author of sin.
Salvation by Grace
Reformed theology teaches that God in His grace and mercy has chosen to redeem a people to Himself, delivering them from sin and death.
Other distinctives of Reformed theology generally include the observance of two sacraments - Baptism and Holy Communion.
We are Liturgical
The Work of the People
The word liturgy comes from the Greek and means "the work of the people." It is the stuff God's people do corporately when we gather to worship. It refers to the words, actions, songs and symbols that comprise the worship of the whole people of God. It also means that the service of worship is done in a decent, orderly, and logical way.
A congregation's worship is "liturgical" if those doing the worshiping really understand who they are, to whom they belong and what it is they're doing. That they aren't just attending a show; they are not merely passive spectators observing rituals, priests or performers; rather, they are full participants in the divine worship of the Triune God of the Universe. (1Corinthians14:40)
We are Congregational
What does it means to be a Member of a Congregational Church?
Congregationalism came to America on the Mayflower in 1620 to establish a Church on the New Testament pattern – a covenant fellowship of persons who freely associate as followers of Jesus Christ. Like the earliest Christians, our Pilgrim ancestors believed that wherever two or three were gathered together in the Name of Jesus Christ, that He would be there with them (Matthew 18:20). The Pilgrims gathered together freely committing themselves to divine worship, the study of Scripture and the opportunity to serve together as the Spirit of God moved them. In matters of practice, they focused on a personal, public profession of faith in Jesus Christ and allowed no outside governing authority to dictate how they should believe, worship or serve God. As Congregationalists we believe in self-governing and representative decision-making within the church. Member consent is required for all major decisions, although much of the work of the church is accomplished through an elected representative council.
What it Means to Be a Member
To be a Church member is to recognize our commitment to God as God is made known to us in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We choose to be counted with those whose purpose is to build a more Christian community.
To be a Church member is to enter a dedicated fellowship; growing in our understanding of Christ, sharing each other’s burdens and joys, and serving others in Christ’s Spirit. These are all part of a living fellowship of those who follow Christ.
Being part of our Congregational Church family means being surrounded by a group of caring people who help us up when we fall and who give us opportunities to serve God. As we serve others and are served in return, we rediscover and grow in our faith in Christ.
Our Church is not a Building, though it does meet in one. Our church is not a club, though it is a community - one gathered in submission to Jesus Christ.
Our Church is a Fellowship of like-minded souls. Its members are united by a shared conviction that God is eager to share the road of life with us as we share the Gospel of His Son. Because we share this conviction, purpose and community, our Church is responsive to God’s will as we come to know it in His Word.
Our Church is a Living Church. Our focus is Jesus’ focus – on ministering to others and living out our faith. We honor the past, dream of the future, and live joyfully in the present.
Our Church is a Thinking Church. You don’t have to check your brain at the door to be a member of our Church. The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 3:15 . . . “be ready at all times to give a reasonable answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope which you cherish.” As such, we value Biblical literacy, genuine science, scolarly study and a robust investigation into every area of Creation.
Our Church is a Church of the Spirit.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, believers are saved, filled, sealed, and sanctified. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s thoughts, teaches His perfect will, and guides believers into all truth by the illumination of Sacred Scripture. The Holy Spirit also helps Christians in their weakness and intercedes for us in prayer.