Together, we respond to the call of the Spirit and the teachings of Jesus to learn, love, serve, and seek justice and joy for all.
A world where God’s inclusive love embraces and empowers all.
‘Striving to be a Matthew 25 Church’
In Matthew 25:31-40, Jesus tells those gathered to listen that anything they do – offering food, water, clothing, welcome, care, or friendship – for anyone else, they do for him. With these words in mind, the First Baptist Church of McMinnville seeks to serve all of our neighbors, recognizing each person as a beloved child of God.
Our congregation also celebrates the vision of the Kingdom of God as a great banquet table, where God invites an incredible mix of people to be in relationship. We strive to be such a place of invitation and hospitality. We want you to know, wherever you are on your spiritual journey, whatever your background, you are welcome here.
First Baptist is a Christ-centered, progressive community of faith, actively seeking to respond to the movement of God in our lives. In keeping with our Baptist heritage of Soul Freedom, we encourage each other to think, ask questions, and share insights. We strive to be inclusive of a wide range of faith perspectives, believing that we find strength in our diversity and unity though the power of Christ’s love for us.
At FBC we believe that worship is the heart of our community, that the Bible’s truth is timeless, and that our understanding of that truth is continually evolving. We believe ministries of justice and compassionate service, both locally and globally, to be our highest calling.
First Baptist Church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA and the American Baptist Churches of the Central Pacific Coast.
What is an American Baptist?
Freedom has been the watchword in our Christian journey. We believe that no one should be coerced or forced to follow the path of Jesus, but that such a path is a choice of the heart and entered into freely.
We emphasize freedom, not for its own sake, but because freedom allows us the opportunity to be guided by the Holy Spirit as we study the scriptures and prayerfully seek God’s will for our lives. There are four primary freedoms which guide us, as Baptists, in our spiritual quest: Bible Freedom – the freedom to study, interpret and apply the Bible under the Lordship of Christ and as guided by the Holy Spirit; Soul Freedom – affirms the ability of the individual to seek the will of God in Christ without interference by outside forces, such as an imposed religious creed or intervention by clergy or government (religious or secular); Church Freedom – affirmation that the local church is free under the Lordship of Christ to set its own course; and Religious Freedom – the foundational Baptist belief in the separation of church and state where government cannot impose its will on religion and cannot impose its will on the public.
What We Believe
Since we as American Baptists are not a ‘creedal’ people, there is no agreed-upon summary of doctrines and practices which govern our life together. Nonetheless, we recognize that certain central affirmations exist among us that do guide us as the community of faith we call First Baptist McMinnville.*
We believe in one eternal God who creates.
We believe in the person and teachings of Jesus Christ who brings healing and reconciliation to the world.
We trust in the Holy Spirit for insight and power to live in the present age.
We believe our church is an open and inclusive community of faith in which worship, education, and outreach are signs of our commitment to love God, others, and ourselves. We are a community
- who, gifted by a variety of backgrounds, finds unity in diversity and diversity in unity;
- who embraces a pluralism of race, ethnicity, and gender;
- who acknowledges that there are individual differences of conviction and theology.
We believe in the Bible as our primary source of authority in matters of faith and practice and depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance. In making decisions about the Bible’s teachings and our moral choices, we value independent thinking and sensitivity to the collective wisdom of the congregation as the body of Christ.
We believe in the infinite worth of each individual who, although finite, can be made whole and complete through the love of God in Jesus Christ.
We believe in the important of discipleship that calls us to a life of renewal, education, spiritual growth, and social responsibility so that inner transformation occurs, human needs are met, and peace and justice are pursued.
We believe in both the local and world missions of American Baptists as part of Christ’s Church, and we support its various ministries beyond the scope of our local church. As a local church we strive to follow Matthew 25, treating each person as we would treat Christ and caring for those in need, the vulnerable, and the oppressed. In addition we endeavor to care for the earth and all its creatures.
We believe in the preservation of our Baptist heritage with its distinctive of believer’s baptism; the separation of church and state; the priesthood of all believers; the importance of association with other churches and the previously mentioned emphases upon the authority of scripture and freedom of conscience.
As a free church, we do not expect that each of our members will hold to each of the affirmations stated above. We are confident, however, that the beliefs listed are consistent with the general ethos and the convictions of the majority of our members. We continue to encourage a variety of views in the knowledge that what we learn from one another broadens and deepens our understanding of our Christian life and faith.
*This statement was developed by the FBC Pastoral Search Team in November 2014, using documents from our church history and from the American Baptist Churches USA.