GETTING TO KNOW CORRYTON CHURCH
Thank you for your interest in Corryton Church! We are glad that you are here. Our Senior Pastor, Rocky, is looking forward to getting to know you. You have already experienced and enjoyed our worship service and possibly one of our Community Groups. Your children may already be connected through our preschool, children’s, or student ministries.
At Corryton Church, we believe that membership matters! When you become a Christian you become a part of God’s Family and Christ’s Body. It is clear in Scripture that you are to be connected to His people in a local church. There are no examples in the New Testament of believers who are not connected to a local church…not one! 1 John 2:19 explains that those who are not connected to a local church are not genuine believers. To love Jesus includes loving His family (John 13:34-35).
This page is your opportunity to get to know Corryton Church. Here you will learn about the church’s history, affiliations, beliefs, and uniqueness. This page will give you information about the meaning of baptism and the Lord's Supper (sometimes referred to as communion).
The Membership Class meets on designated Sundays immediately following the second service (around 11:30AM) and will be over by 1:00PM. Childcare is provided for children. Those who are in middle school and older must attend the class. A meal will be provided. Rocky will lead the class where you will learn what the Bible says about how to become a Christian, and how to know for certain that you are one. After attending the class you’ll decide if Corryton Church is where God wants you to be.
New Members will be presented to the church at the next Single Service Sunday. This service is usually two weeks after the class. Upon turning in your Membership Application, the church’s Administrative Assistant will send you a postcard giving you instructions about that morning. If you are being baptized, the postcard will give you all of the information you need. This is a great service to invite your friends and family…especially those who might not be in church.
CORRYTON BAPTIST CHURCH HISTORY
Corryton Baptist Church began with eleven charter members in 1905. Unlike some other churches, Corryton’s membership is made up only of people who are currently involved in church life. Since being founded in 1905, the church has been led by only eleven pastors. Dr. Rocky Ramsey has served the church since fall of 1984. Damon Patterson served the 22 years before 1984.
The church’s first building was constructed in 1906, added to in 1926, and then razed in 1963 when the present “Warehouse” (student meeting area) and three levels of education space were built. In 1988, the two-story office/education wing was completed debt-free.
In May 1992, Corryton purchased forty-five acres of land adjacent to the six-plus acres it previously owned. The property was paid in full in eighteen months. That year, the church built a public park that includes a walking track, pavilion, sandbox, sand-volleyball court, preschool playground, children’s playground, four horseshoe pits, a full basketball court, and two tennis courts (with lights). With the exception of the tennis courts, the park is open to the public.
In 1998, the church moved into its Worship/Family Life Center. This 50,000 square foot building was constructed at a cost of $4,400,000. The worship area can seat up to 1000 people. The Family Life Center includes a gym, an indoor track, a weight and workout room, and a preschool romper room. The workout room is available to members above the age of 16 at their convenience. Corryton now offers an array of sports opportunities for children. Hundreds of kids have participated in Upward basketball, cheerleading, soccer, and flag football. Flag football and soccer are played on irrigated, Bermuda grass fields that were built in 2002.
In 2007, Corryton remodeled the old worship area for a youth and children meeting space. The Warehouse includes theatrical lighting as well as state-of-the-art sound and video. In 2012, we remodeled the present Worship/Family Life Center. The Educational Building has also been remodeled.
In 2013, Corryton acquired Wafloy Mountain Village located outside of Gatlinburg. This Christian retreat center had been in operation since 1947. Corryton has been managing and upgrading the property since that time. Churches from all over the southeast use Wafloy for retreats and camps. Wafloy is made up of 75 acres that are adjacent to the Smoky Mountains National Park. It includes a 32-room hotel with a cafeteria and conference space, a 7-unit strip hotel, an octagonal log cabin chapel, and several bunkhouses and houses. Wafloy is Corryton's ministry to the greater Body of Christ.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
1. In essential beliefs - we have UNITY.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
2. In non-essential beliefs - we have LIBERTY.
Romans 14:1, 4, 12, 22 Accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions…who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls…Each one of us will give an account of himself to God…The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.
3. In all our beliefs - we show LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
THE ESSENTIALS WE BELIEVE:
1. ABOUT GOD
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
Genesis 1:1, 26, 27, 3:22, Psalm 90:2, Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Corinthians 13:14, John 1:1-3
2. ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Matthew 1:22-2, Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1-5, 14:10-30, Hebrews 4:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Romans 1:3-4, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Timothy 6:14-15, Titus 2:13
3. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer at least one spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily.
2 Corinthians 3:17, John 16:7-13, 14:16-17, Acts 1:8, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16, Ephesians 1:13, Galatians 5:25, Ephesians 5:18
4. ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because God inspired it, it is the truth without any mixture of error.
2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 1:13, Psalm 119:105, 160, 12:6, Proverbs 30:5
5. ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called sin. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life.
Genesis 1:27, Psalm 8:3-6, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:23, Isaiah 59:1-2
6. ABOUT SALVATION
Salvation is God’s free gift to us…but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus as Lord, we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment a person receives Jesus Christ into his or her life by faith.
Romans 6:23, 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:12, 14:6, Titus 3:5, Galatians 3:26
7. ABOUT ETERNAL SECURITY
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot lose your salvation. It is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian.
John 10:28-29, 2 Timothy 1:12, Hebrews 7:25, 10:10-14, 1 Peter 1:3-5
8. ABOUT ETERNITY
People were created to live eternally. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and hell are real places of eternal existence.
John 3:16, 2:25, 5:11-13, Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:15, Matthew 1:8, 2:44-46
WHAT WE PRACTICE
Beliefs are not worth much unless they are translated into actions. Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following seven practices:
THE BIBLE AS OUR SOLE AUTHORITY
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
God’s Word is the only truthful authority; we accept it as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is, “What does the Bible say?” We should practice daily Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.
THE AUTONOMY OF EACH LOCAL CHURCH
Colossians 1:18 Christ is also head of the body, the church.
Christ is the recognized head of our church…not any person, group, or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing and independent from any denominational control. Corryton Church does financially support and cooperate with the religious organizations listed later in this article.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF EVERY BELIEVER
Revelation 1:6 He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to God.
1 Peter 2:9 You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.
As a priest, you can talk to God and He can talk to you. The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to full-time Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. Every believer is a minister and is to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading.
Leviticus 26:30 All the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's; it is holy to the Lord.
We practice tithing for the support of Christ’s Body, the church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of our income to the church is the Biblical standard (Proverbs 3:9, Malachi 3:7-12, Luke 6:38, 12:48b).
BAPTISM BY IMMERSION
Colossians 2:12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
We practice baptism by immersion, the way Jesus was baptized, and the way the Bible commands.
John 15:5 [Jesus said] I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
We believe that the only possible way to live the Christian life is by God’s power within us. So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God’s Spirit to enable us to do what is right (Philippians 2:13, Ephesians 5:18).
TELLING OTHERS ABOUT CHRIST
1 Peter 3:15 …always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.
Acts 1:8 You shall be My witnesses.
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with others. Our evangelistic strategy is for members to build caring relationships with unchurched people with the goal of helping them to say YES to God. The morning worship services are designed to reach the people that our members bring.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BAPTIZED
WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
1. TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE SET BY JESUS
Mark 1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
2. BECAUSE CHRIST COMMANDS IT
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
3. IT’S A PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION THAT I BELIEVE
Acts 18:8 Many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.
1 John 2:3 We can be sure we know Him if we keep His commands.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BAPTISM?
1. IT ILLUSTRATES CHRIST’S BURIAL & RESURRECTION
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised.
Colossians 2:12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
2. IT ILLUSTRATES MY NEW LIFE AS A CHRISTIAN
2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Romans 6:4 We have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Baptism doesn’t make you a believer – it’s a public profession and confession of your faith. Baptism does not save you…only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring. It’s the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith…it is the gift of God, not as a result of works.
WHY BE BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION?
1. JESUS WAS BAPTIZED THAT WAY
Matthew 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water.
2. EVERY BAPTISM IN THE BIBLE WAS BY IMMERSION
Acts 8:38-39 They both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water…
3. THE WORD BAPTIZE MEANS TO DIP UNDER WATER
The Greek word baptizo means, “to immerse or dip under water.”
4. IMMERSION BEST SYMBOLIZES A BURIAL AND RESURRECTION
The founders of denominations agree:
Lutherans (Martin Luther) “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imports and the mystery signifies.”
Presbyterians (John Calvin) “The word ‘baptize’ signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
Methodists (John Wesley) “Buried with Him alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED? EVERY PERSON WHO BELIEVES IN CHRIST.
Acts 2:41 Those who had received his word were baptized.
Acts 8:13 Simon himself believed…being baptized.
Acts 8:12 When they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.
Some churches practice a baptism of confirmation for children. This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on behalf of the child. The parents’ promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his own personal confession to Christ. This custom began about 300 years after the Bible was completed.
This is different from the baptism talked about in the Bible, which was only for those old enough to believe. The purpose is to publicly confess your personal commitment to Christ.
At Corryton Church, it is a membership requirement that every member must have been baptized the way Jesus demonstrated (immersed), even though many of us were confirmed as children.
WHEN SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED? SOON AFTER I HAVE BELIEVED!
Acts 2:41 Then, those who had received his word were baptized.
Acts 8:35-38 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?" And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.
There is no reason to delay. As soon as you have decided to receive Christ into your life, you should join a local church and be baptized.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO BE BAPTIZED?
At Corryton, we baptize in one of our Single Service Sundays. This will be the first Sunday of the month after the Membership Class. You will meet a church representative at the café area in the foyer at 9:30 a.m. You will have your picture taken for our New Member Board, change for the baptism, and be baptized at the very beginning of the service. New members will be introduced to the church with a video. You will be provided with a robe for the baptism. Men need to wear shorts. Women need to wear shorts and a shirt (preferably white). Bring a change of clothes, a towel, hair dryer (if needed), and a plastic bag for your wet clothes. You will receive a postcard the week before the baptism, and member presentation Sunday, reminding you of these details.
WHAT IS THE LORD’S SUPPER?
1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26
Jesus never asked His disciples to remember His birth. But He did instruct them to remember His death and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols (called ordinances) as reminders of His death. These two ordinances are: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is an object lesson that represents a great spiritual truth for believers.
1. IT IS A SIMPLE ACT, NOT AN ELABORATE CEREMONY
“The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread…” (vs. 23)
2. IT IS A REMINDER
“…and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is broken for you; eat it in remembrance of Me.’” (vs. 24)
3. IT IS A SYMBOL
In the same way, He took the cup, saying “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; drink it to remember Me.” (vs. 25)
4. IT IS A STATEMENT OF FAITH
“For whenever you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes back.” (vs. 26)
CORRYTON CHURCH IS AFFILIATED WITH:
Southern Baptist Convention headquartered in Nashville, TN
International Mission Board IMB (formerly known as the Foreign Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is located in Richmond, Virginia, and has over 4,000 missionaries serving nearly 1,500 countries. These missionaries do work in evangelism, church planting, education, medicine, agriculture, etc. Corryton is in the top 100 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention (44,000 churches) in giving to the International Mission Board. Check out www.imb.org.
North American Mission Board NAMB (formerly known as the Home Mission Board) of the SBC is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and has over 5,000 missionaries who serve in the U.S. and Canada. They do many of the same ministries of the IMB as well as work in inner cities and resort areas. As with the IMB, our church is in the top 100 in giving to North American missions. Check out www.namb.net.
The SBC has six seminaries: Southern in Louisville, Kentucky; Southeastern in Wake Forest, North Carolina; New Orleans in Louisiana; Midwestern in Kansas City, Missouri; Southwestern in Fort Worth, Texas; and Golden Gate which is relocating from San Francisco to Southern California. Another Southern Baptist seminary that does not receive convention funding is Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova (Memphis), Tennessee.
Lifeway Christian Resources (formerly known as The Baptist Sunday School Board) provides convention churches with materials and actually contributes financially to the SBC in addition to selling Christian materials through its stores. Check out www.lifeway.com.
Women on Mission (formerly known as the Women’s Missionary Union or the WMU) is associated with the SBC and promotes missions through prayer and by promoting mission offerings. Check out www.womenonmission.com.
The SBC owns and operates Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Tennessee Baptist Convention headquartered in Brentwood, TN
The TBC has two colleges: Carson-Newman in Jefferson City and Union in Jackson. King’s Academy (formerly known as Harrison-Chilhowee) is a TBC elementary through high school in Seymour. The TBC owns and operates two camps: Camp Carson in Newport and Camp Linden in Linden.
The TBC provides training, materials, and support for churches. They also staff Baptist Student Unions on 35 college campuses across the state.
The Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes provides adoption services as well as ministry to orphans, troubled kids, abandoned children, unwed mothers, and victims of abuse in multiple locations throughout the state.
Tennessee Baptist Adult Homes operates four retirement homes and two homes for mentally retarded adults.
The TBC provides disaster relief throughout the southeast. Volunteers use convention-provided vans and supplies to aid those devastated by natural catastrophes. Check out www.tnbaptist.org.
Knox County Baptist Association headquarters located on Westland Drive.
The local association provides training, materials, and support to local churches. The association operates Camp BaYoCa in Townsend. Children’s camps are offered throughout the summer and the facilities are available for retreats during the school year.
The association also has Baptist Centers in two local housing projects: Western Heights and Montgomery Village. These centers provide counseling, food, clothing, shelter, literacy classes, and job placement. Check out www.kcab.org.
Wafloy Mountain Village and Retreat
Our church owns and operates Wafloy Mountain Village outside of Gatlinburg, TN. This 75-acre retreat center includes an octagonal log cabin meeting space, a 32-unit hotel, another 7-unit hotel, a youth lodge, multiple houses, a swimming pool and other amenities (paintball, lake blob, disk golf, sky alter). You can check it out at www.wafloy.com.
Corryton Church financially supports the two conventions and the association listed above. Each month we send a predetermined budgeted amount to the Knox County Baptist Association and to the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The TBC forwards a portion of that check to the Southern Baptist Convention. This stewardship plan is called the Cooperative Program. Each time you make an undesignated offering to Corryton Church, you are supporting all of these ministries.
Corryton collects two special offerings during the year to support missions. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is for foreign missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is for home missions. These special offerings account for 50% of the budgets for those ministries. 100% of the money given to these two offerings goes to support work on the field; overhead costs are covered by previously budgeted amounts.
Corryton gives money each month to Whitestone County Inns in Kingston so that missionaries who are stateside can go and stay there for free. Our church also hosts a free-to-them retreat for missionaries somewhere around the world each year. At Wafloy, we have converted a log cabin into a mission house that provides free housing to missionaries who are stateside for extended stays.
Corryton Church gives money each month to the Baptist Center at Western Heights to buy food for inner-city people in need. The church also helps support the Corryton Food Pantry that provides groceries on a regular basis for people in our area.
We give money to several other local ministries throughout the year including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, TN Right for Life, HOPE Resource Center, Emerald Youth Foundation, Mission of Hope, and Appalachian Outreach.
The structure of the church should not be determined by culture, business practices, or even denominational traditions. What do the following things have in common: committee, board, ballot, vote, business meeting, election, officers, parliamentary procedure, and majority rule? NONE of these are mentioned or were used in the Bible. They are manmade inventions that are not necessarily wrong, but are not Biblical.
THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH DETERMINES ITS STRUCTURE
1. THE CHURCH IS A FELLOWSHIP
Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship.
A top priority in a fellowship is harmony and unity.
Ephesians 4:3…being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Romans 14:19 Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
A good structure helps to promote unity and downplay differences.
1 Corinthians 11:17-18 In giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For when you come together as a church, divisions exist among you.
Voting tends to divide people. Every time people vote, someone wins and someone loses. We are a pastor/staff-led church that operates through leaders and teams by building consensus. Church votes are taken on the annual budget, borrowing money, purchasing property, major capital improvements, and calling a Senior Pastor, but little else.
2. THE CHURCH IS A FAMILY
1 Peter 3:8 Be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit. (also Galatians 6:10, Hebrews 2:10-12, 1 Peter 4:17)
We operate on the basis of relationships more than rules.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters.
1 Timothy 3:4-5 [a pastor] must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?
3. THE CHURCH IS A BODY
1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:23, Colossians 1:18, 2:19
We are a body – not a business!
We are an organism – not an organization!
We operate on the basis of spiritual gifts more than elected offices.
Romans 12:4-6 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.
In an organization maintenance becomes the focus. But in an organism ministry is the focus.
We want a simple structure to maximize ministry and minimize maintenance.
Ephesians 4:11-12 He gave some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.
The People are the MINISTERS
The Pastors are the ADMINISTERS
The role of the paid staff of the church is to lead the entire membership as the church does the ministry. Every member is gifted and called to minister to others; this is not just the job of the pastors.
4. THE CHURCH IS A FLOCK
John 10:1-30, Matthew 26:31, 25:33 (Jesus’ favorite description of the Church)
The church is cared for and led by shepherds.
John 21:16-17 Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you really love me?” “Yes, Lord,” said Peter. “Then take care of my sheep.”
Three different terms are used in the New Testament to refer to the same church leaders:
POIMEN Pastor/Shepherd • CARING, WELFARE OF THE CHURCH
PRESBUTEROS ELDER • MATURITY, WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH
EPISCOPOS OVERSEER/BISHOP • MANAGEMENT, WORK OF THE CHURCH
1 Peter 5:1-2 I exhort the elders among you, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight.
Acts 20:17, 28 He sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church…Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God.
See also Titus 1:5-7, 1 Timothy 5:17
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MEMBER
The difference between attenders and members can be summed up in one word: COMMITMENT. Attenders are consumers; members are contributors. There will always be people who will attend a church without contributing or really becoming involved. Based upon what you have learned in this study, we do not believe this to be God’s will. There are scores of commands in Scripture about what we are to do for one another. People who are isolated and detached cannot obey these commands.
When a person becomes a member of Corryton Church, he crosses a commitment line. This church becomes his/her church. Its ministry becomes his/her ministry. The responsibility becomes his/her responsibility.
We recognize the need for a formal membership. We ask you to commit to membership for four reasons:
1. A Biblical Reason: Christ is committed to the church
Ephesians 5:25 Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
2. A Cultural Reason: It is an antidote to our society
We live in an age where very few want to be committed to anything...a job...a marriage...our country. This attitude has even produced a generation of church shoppers and hoppers. Membership swims against the current of America’s consumer religion. It is an unselfish decision. Commitment always builds character.
3. A Practical Reason: It defines who can be counted on
Every team must have a roster. Every school must have an enrollment. Every business has a staff. Every army has an enlistment. Even our country takes a census and requires voter registration. Membership identifies our family.
4. A Personal Reason: It produces spiritual growth
The New Testament places a major emphasis on the need for Christians to be accountable to each other for spiritual growth. You cannot be accountable when you’re not committed to any specific church family.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF A MEMBER?
We never ask our members to do more than the Bible clearly teaches. We only expect our members to do what the Bible expects every Christian to do. These responsibilities are spelled out in the Membership Covenant.
Having received Jesus Christ as my Lord, having been baptized, and being in agreement with Corryton’s statements, strategy, and structure, I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the Corryton family. In doing so, I commit myself to God and to the other members to do the following:
1. I WILL PROTECT THE UNITY OF MY CHURCH
By acting in love toward other members
By refusing to gossip
By following the leaders
Romans 15:5 May the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 1:22 Fervently love one another from the heart.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief.
2. I WILL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY CHURCH
By praying for its growth
By inviting the unchurched to attend
By warmly welcoming those who visit
1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers.
Luke 14:23 Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.
Romans 15:7 Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
3. I WILL SERVE IN THE MINISTRY OF MY CHURCH
By discovering my gifts and talents
By being equipped to serve by my pastors
By developing a servant’s heart
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another.
Ephesians 4:11-12 He gave some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.
Philippians 2:3-7 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant.
4. I WILL SUPPORT THE WORK OF MY CHURCH
By attending weekly unless legitimately hindered
By living a godly life
By giving regularly
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.
Philippians 1:27 Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
Leviticus 26:30 All the tithe is the Lord's; it is holy to the Lord.
Our purpose at Corryton Church is to reach unchurched people, win them to Christ, and disciple them so that they become mature Christians. We call this...
helping people say YES to God.
Our vision is to help people discover and experience the life that they were created for.
1. There is Someone we were made to know.
John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
2. There is someone we were made to be.
Romans 8:29 Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.
3. There is something we were made to do.
Ephesians 2:10 We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
We aim out, not in. Many churches are like clubs who exist to cater to the wants and needs of their membership. We are a church, not a club. We exist for more than just the needs of our own congregation. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. That should, therefore, be our purpose.
WE DON'T ASK:
HOW DO WE LIKE CHURCH?
(Building, stage, dress, music, etc.)
HOW DO WE BEST POSITION OUR CHURCH TO REACH THOSE OUTSIDE OF OUR CHURCH?
Luke 19:10 The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
We aim down, not up. Surveys show that 87% of people who do not come to Christ by the age of eighteen…never will. We want to reach people for Christ of every age – from tiny to ninety. But the truth is that the older you get the less likely you are to say YES to God. Therefore, we will always do ministry that is relevant to young people. In your family, if you take a vacation with your kids you pick a destination for your kids (don’t take your young children to the Smithsonian). Without the kids, you would select a totally different destination. Churches have traditionally done the opposite of this. We do church (music, style, etc.) for older people and wonder why young people who grow up in our church leave it after (if not before) high school.
We seek to be effective, not traditional or contemporary. God’s message is eternal and unchanging…the methods are not. Purposes never change, but programs will change. Our church was the first denominational church in Knoxville to have a band. We never sought to be contemporary, cool, or different; we sought to reach unchurched people with new methods. Our message has never been changed or compromised to reach people.
We will not compromise Scripture to obtain a crowd. The truth is never watered down at Corryton Church. We are Biblical; we are not politically correct. One of the purposes of Scripture is to convict us of our sin so that we would repent and come to Christ.
Our message and music will be relevant to our culture. What you hear on Sundays and Wednesdays will apply to your life every day of the week. The Bible is God’s owner’s manual for our lives. Genuine success is found in following God’s ways as revealed in His eternal, unchanging Word.
Because we are doing this for God and for people who matter to Him, we will pursue excellence in all that we do. We want to give God our best – speakers who can speak, leaders who can lead, teachers who can teach, singers who can sing, players who can play.
We seek to remove barriers between people and God. This is why we do not have a walk-down-the-aisle invitation on a regular basis. This practice is common and fitting for people who have grown up in church but not for those who did not. We want Corryton to be a safe place for an unchurched person to hear a dangerous, life-changing message.
In the New Testament Peter preached to Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2). Those Jews knew the Old Testament, knew its prophecies, knew who Jesus was, and that he’d been crucified, buried, and that people claimed that he’d been raised from the dead. Peter, therefore, was able to go straight to the cross, confront them with their sin, and ask for a decision.
When Paul spoke in Athens (Acts 17), the Greeks had no idea about any of these things. Paul had to begin with creation and take the Greeks on a journey of spiritual understanding and discovery. Quick conversions were not to be expected.
Thirty years ago we were preaching to Jews. Nearly everyone in the U.S. knew about the Bible and that it was considered to be God’s Word. They knew about Jesus and that He was supposed to be God’s son. Christmas and Easter are national holidays. But since that time Americans have been taught evolution in school and belief in any god has been challenged.
We are now preaching to Greeks. If you say, “the Bible says…” they don’t believe the Bible and might ask what the Koran says. If you tell them about Jesus, they may doubt that He ever lived, much less is the Son of God. Universities have taught them that religion is invented by man and is for the weak. It’s not likely that an unchurched person is coming to Christ quickly.
Most of the people who grew up in our area have been to church. That’s why they no longer attend. They might have been burned (hurt by a church or church leader), bored (with the speakers, teachers, message, or music), or both. Churches today have to regain the trust of those people – and that takes time. We pray for Holy Spirit pressure on them, but any church pressure (manipulation, heavy-handed or long invitations, etc.) is counterproductive.
THE FIVE TASKS OF THE CHURCH
These tasks are based upon the Great Commandments (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). The Bible is more of a what-to book than a how-to book. It tells us WHAT to do far more often than it tells us HOW to do it. Our way of doing things at Corryton is not the only way or necessarily the right way. It is the right way for us, because it helps us to accomplish our mission.
1. Worship • We are to love God with all our heart
Worship is loving God and surrendering to Him. The word literally means to bow down. Many today think that worship is about the style of music in a church. Worship is about great thoughts on God that result in us loving and obeying Him – surrender. Different churches use different kinds of music. There is no right or wrong – just different. The hymns in our hymnals are 200 years old (or less); none of them were sung during the first 1,800 years of the church. Music styles are based upon the preferences of the congregation and of those that church is trying to reach. At Corryton we try to stay somewhat in the middle of the road musically so that we can be relevant to a broader audience of people.
2. Ministry • We are to love our neighbor as ourselves
Different churches will be involved in different kinds of ministries based upon their location, their resources, and the passions of their people. One church will have a food pantry, another will have a clothing closet, another will minister to immigrants, another to homeless people. Every church should be involved in ministering to its community, but different churches will do this in different ways. One is not right and the other is not wrong; they are just different.
We have a huge Christmas party for disadvantaged families each year. We do a retreat for missionaries each year. These are two things that God wants us to do. It doesn’t mean that any other church in the world should do either of those ministries. And the fact that some other church does some other ministry does not mean that we should.
3. Evangelism • We are to go and make disciples
Every church is to seek to win the lost to Christ. But different churches may do this in different ways. Fifty years ago people didn’t lock their homes, left their keys in the ignitions of their cars, and enjoyed home visits from people they didn’t know. Nowadays we lock everything, have security systems, and don’t want anybody calling or coming by unless we have invited them. Fifty years ago any church could put out a revival sign and fill the church every night for as much as two weeks. Not anymore. Our evangelism strategy is for our members to actually care about unchurched people, build relationships with them, tell them how God has changed their lives, and bring them to something our church is doing so we can help win them to Christ. The fishing for men in the Gospels was done by a group of people with a net, not by individuals with fishing poles. This is another reason why everyone needs to belong to a church.
4. Community • We are to baptize them
As you read earlier, to baptize means to immerse. Jesus was talking about more than just water baptism. We are to help people to get immersed in the church and its ministries. Here we want you to connect with God (salvation) and then to connect with His people (church membership and being a part of a Community Group). Some churches do this with Sunday School and some with Small Groups. We have developed a hybrid of both. Our Community Groups meet on Sunday mornings and are discussion-based Bible studies with an emphasis on life-application of Scripture.
5. Discipleship • We are also to teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded
Discipleship is central to all we do here at Corryton Church. From the nursery to the grave we are trying to help people become the people that God created and saved them to be. Community Groups, seminars, retreats, camps, etc. are all designed to help us to become more like Christ. The messages here are not Biblical history lessons but are about how God’s eternal, unchanging Word applies to our everyday lives. What you learn will apply to and work in our Sunday through Saturday lives.
It takes different kinds of churches to reach different kinds of people.
A CHRIST-LIKE DISCIPLE DESCRIBED in 5 WORDS:
He has a vital love-relationship with God.
He follows Christian values in all areas of his life.
He lives in the Word (regular Bible Study).
He gives the Lord His day (Sunday is a holy day, not a holiday).
He gives the Lord His tenth (tithing is about ownership, not money).
If what is yours is not His, then you’re not His.
He serves God through the church with his spiritual gifts.
He recognizes that his life exists for God’s purposes. We are not primarily husbands, wives, parents, workers, etc. We are primarily God’s person put on planet earth to do something for Him. We came from God. We’re going back to God (to give an account of our lives). We are to live for God.
People fall into one of five categories:
1. The Community - Uncommitted
2. The Crowd - Committed to Attendance
3. The Congregation - Committed to Membership
4. The Committed - Committed to Community
5. The Core - Committed to Ministry