Distinctions

At First Baptist Church of Valparaiso there are a set of distinctions that set us apart from other churches. These distinctions in no way completely define us as a corporate body or as individuals, we hold these particular beliefs and practices that set us apart from other churches.

These "distinctions" are the natural outworking of our Biblically informed beliefs; the things that naturally flow from our values. We do not hold these to be the boundary markers for the Christian faith, but rather, they describe the marks that we believe people most likely use in order to distinguish us from other Christian churches and (more importantly) help them understand who we are and what we are all about.

1. Expository Preaching - We are passionate about preaching the Word of God in such a way as to glorify God by demonstrating our belief in the authority, infallibility, and sufficiency of the Scripture which is foundational and authoritative and the primary means that the Holy Spirit uses to convict, comfort, challenge, and change us for salvation.

2. Pastoral Leadership - We are an pastor-led church under the governance of the church body, submitting to the authority of Christ according to His Word, for the joyful benefit of the church and the growth of His Kingdom. The office of pastor is filled by men who are qualified, gifted, and called to serve the local church. While the New Testament does not require a multiplicity of pastors, we believe it is prudent for a plurality of pastors to exercise leadership over the local congregation. At First Baptist our pastors are equal in authority while specializing in function and oversight.

3. Baptist Theology - We believe, preach, and live our lives in light of the fact that the Bible clearly and abundantly reveals God as sovereign over all things, by His grace and for His glory. First Baptist Church is a congregation of committed Christ followers who have embraced God’s grace in salvation through Jesus Christ and strive to glorify God in all we do. We are a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Florida Baptist Convention, and the Emerald Coast Fellowship of Baptist Churches. We support and affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

4. Missional Living - We believe God has called all Christians to be missionaries wherever they live, work, and participate in society. This is why we strive to be involved in missions, evangelism and ministry in northwest Florida and around the world. It is our goal to reproduce believers through evangelism and missions as well as churches through revitalization and church planting.

5. Deacon Servanthood - We believe, the office of Deacon is filled by men who are qualified, gifted, and called to serve the local church. The ministry focus of deacons is servanthood. At First Baptist the deacons have two primary ministry objectives: first, to serve the particular needs of our congregation, and second, to provide and maintain unity within fellowship.

6. Committed Ministry - As a local church, we are committed to minister to those in our community. The biblical call for the local church is be involved personally, purposefully, and progressively in ministries that capitalize on the gifts of its members and meet the needs of its community. The goal of ministry is to display the love of Christ through sharing and living out the Gospel.

7. Corporate Worship - The purpose of our weekly gatherings is to assemble the Body of Christ to openly worship God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. At First Baptist we are less committed to a particular style of worship and more committed to the content and manner of our worship. Our commitment is to worship in a manner that honors Jesus Christ; conveying theologically accurate substance while utilizing the best of old and new.

8. Salvation and Discipleship - Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ. In salvation the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, it is at this point that discipleship begins. We believe Discipleship is the intentional process of learning to become more like Christ in all that we do! Since we seek to Glorify God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit we are committed to a bible based discipleship process.