Patch contributor Cindy Butson asked Pastor Mike Stephens about .
Patch: When was the church established?
Pastor Mike Stephens: The church was established on Oct. 7, 1979.
Patch: What are the fundamental beliefs of your church?
Stephens: I. We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are divinely inspired by God and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life. (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21)
II. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19)
III. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man. (Luke 1:30-35, John 1:1-18)
IV. We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. Hence, totally depraved, man has inherited and possesses a sinful nature. (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:16-17; Romans 3:10-23)
V. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a perfect representative and complete substitutionary sacrifice; and that all who believe in Him are justified on the basis of His shed blood. (Romans 5:8-10; I Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 4:15)
VI. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord; His ascension into heaven; that He is seated at the Father's right hand; and His present life is there for us as High Priest, Advocate, and Head of the Church. (John 20:1-29; Acts 1:9-11; Ephesians 1:20-23)
VII. We believe that God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Zechariah 14:1-21)
VIII. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting joy of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. (I Corinthians 15:1-50; Revelation 20:1-6)
IX. We believe that a person is born again by a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; that at regeneration, all believers in this age are also indwelt by the Holy Spirit, baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, which signifies eternal security unto the day of redemption. (Romans 10:9-10; Romans 8:11; I Corinthians- 12:3; Ephesians 4:30)
X. We believe that sanctification is separation unto God and is threefold:
1. Positionally, the believer was sanctified at his conversion by virtue of his union with Christ.
2. Progressively, he is continually being sanctified through the Word by obedience to the Word as he walks in the Spirit, thereby controlling the lusts of the flesh and producing the fruit of the Spirit.
3. Ultimately, he will be completely conformed to the image of Christ when he sees his Savior face to face. (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26; Colossians 3:1-4; I John 3:1-3)
XI. We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ, composed of all who are born again; that the local church is to assemble for the purpose of observing the ordinances of Christ; that it be governed by His laws; and that it exercise the gifts, rights and privileges granted by His Word for the purpose of edifying the Body of Christ. (Acts 2:1-47; Romans 13:1-8; I Corinthians 12:1-31)
XII. We believe in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper and that it is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded by self-examination. (I Corinthians 11:23-31)
XIII. We believe in the ordinance of baptism by immersion in water as an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.(Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:5)
XIV. We believe that the Great Commission was given to the Church collectively, and to each Christian individually, and that our mission is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all persons as we have opportunity. (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 10:9-17)
Patch: Are you part of a larger association?
Stephens: Yes. The Noonday Baptist Association.
Patch: How many members, pastors and staff do you have?
Stephens: We have 4,700 members and 11 ministers on our staff.
Patch: When and where do you meet?
Stephens: At present, we have four worship services: two at 9:30 a.m. and two at 11 a.m. We will begin another worship service at 8:30 a.m. on August 7. Our campus is located at 5145 Due West Road in Powder Springs (www.burnthickory.com).
Patch: Do you offer contemporary or traditional style worship?
Stephens: We have a blend of contemporary and traditional music; however, we lean more toward contemporary music. We sing traditional hymns in more of a contemporary fashion.
Patch: What kind of fellowships or Bible study groups do you have and when do they meet?
Stephens: Fellowship and friendships are established in our LifeGroups/Sunday School. We offer a variety of Sunday morning Bible studies at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 7:30pm. We also offer Bible studies and discipleship classes on Wednesday evenings at 6:30. These studies include men, women, individuals, couples studies, divorce care and grief share. There is also a Tuesday morning Women’s Bible at 9.
Patch: What programs do you have for people attending Sunday school at the church?
Stephens: We have separate worship and Sunday School for babies to senior adults. Our Noah Ministry is for special needs children. Children attend age-related worship and Bible study while parents attend adult worship and Bible study.
Patch: What’s unique about being a pastor in the area?
Stephens: Our diversified culture allows us the privilege of ministering to the people in our community, state, country and the world. The focus of our ministry is to grow strong Godly families for His kingdom, helping husbands and wives to be Godly men and women, helping parents lead their children to know Christ, grow in Christ and to help broken and hurting families to be whole in Christ.
Patch: Anything else you’d like to share about your church community?
Stephens: Yes, our vision statement: Passionately Pursuing Christ to Passionately Pursue People.