Non-Negotiables of our Ministry

In the 1950s and 60s, people used to flock to the property adjoining our church. They were looking for something they thought would satisfy them. Instead, they found something that destroyed them—the moonshine of Bootleg Corner.

In 1962 our church began ministering on the same corner. Many decades later, we were still finding people in the community who testified to the destructive impact that Bootleg Corner had on them. Lives were disfigured and ruined. We desire for God to use the ministry He has raised up here to transform lives for His glory. Bootleg Corner may be gone, but the work of God in this area is not finished. As we seek the advancement of God's kingdom, we believe there are biblical guidelines for ministry that we are to follow:


Non-Negotiables of the Ministry of Mount Calvary Baptist Church


1. We believe that the Head of the church is Christ (Mt. 16:18; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:15) and that the purpose of our meeting together is to know Him (Phil. 3:8-10; Acts 2:42-47). Seven New Testament passages refer to Jesus Christ as Head. The passages can be summarized to teach that Jesus Christ is the Head: 

  • of every man: 1 Corinthians 11:3
  • of all things: Ephesians 1:21

For the advantage of the church, the world's highest things are put under Jesus' lowest parts (His feet).

  • of the church: Ephesians 5:23

As the head is elevated on the body and all issues and determination issue from it for the rest of the body's members, so is Christ to His own body, the church. 

2. We believe in the plurality of godly leadership (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17; Phil. 1:1).
Who is an elder? An elder is a God-appointed, scripturally-qualified man that occupies one of the two offices in a New Testament church. Based on the above Scripture references, Scripture indicates that some churches had a multiplicity or plurality of elders and deacons.
What is an elder’s function? An elder’s function is communicated through synonymous Bible words describing an elder’s ministry. The New Testament uses three Greek words translated five different ways in the KJV:

The Ministry of the 21st Century Elder (document that presents a Bible study on the biblical responsibilities of elders)


bishop, overseer


refers to his function


shepherd, pastor


refers to his function




refers to his stature, spiritual maturity

Are there distinctions among elders? Yes. 1 Timothy 5:17 conveys that all elders rule, but some also labor in the Word and doctrine.

Are all our elders of equal authority? We recognize that there are leaders among the leaders. This was true of the apostolic company, in Old Testament Israel, in the angelic company, and even in the Godhead. Those elders laboring in the Word and doctrine typically exercise the most authority. For example, among the elders at the church at Ephesus, there was one elder clearly given leadership (Timothy), and among the elders at Crete, Titus was the primary leader.

Who is eligible for the office of elder? We use scripturally-qualified full-time pastors and laymen in this office. We do not restrict laymen from this office, because in the New Testament, we see Paul appointing laymen to the office.

Is our church an "elder run" church? No, our polity is congregational. Again, we base our practice on an observation of the New Testament church. We believe the ultimate decision-making rests with the people. In Acts 6:3, we see the congregation choosing deacon leadership. In Acts 15:22-23, we see the church leadership and the congregation agreeing and speaking with one voice. In Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, we see the congregation acting as one in the practice of church discipline.             

3. We believe that the main focus of the church service should be the Word of God through pastoral preaching (1 Tim. 4:13-16; 1Tim 5:17; 2 Tim. 4:2).
The foremost purpose of our gathering is to hear from God through His Word. While our church is overtly evangelistic (see #5), the regular preaching is pastoral in nature. Pastoral preaching focuses on declaring the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42) so that the body functions according to its Divinely designed end (Eph. 4:16).

 4. We believe in reverent worship (Jn. 4:23-34; Heb. 12:28).
Our three weekly services have specific and varied purposes. Our Sunday morning services are elevated, not formal. Our desire is to worship God in an atmosphere that lost people in attendance will fall on their faces and worship God and declare that God is certainly among us (1 Cor. 14:24-25). Our Sunday evening services are more spontaneous, without slipping into an inappropriate casualness. Our Wednesday evening services typically involve greater congregational participation and concentrate on prayer.

5. We believe in systematic community evangelism (Acts 20:20-21; Acts 20:25-27). 
While encouraging our people in spontaneous evangelism, we also accept a corporate responsibility for the community in which the Lord has placed our church. As Paul established the example of evangelizing from house to house in order to be free from the blood of men, so we endeavor to evangelize our neighborhood systematically and often. Our evangelism ministries repeatedly appeal to those in our community with personal visits, attractive literature, work projects, Bible clubs, Bible classes, Bible studies, and youth evangelism.

 6. We believe in every-member ministry and accountability (Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor. 16:2). Our aim is for the whole body to be fitted and held together so that by the proper working of each individual part, the body grows and builds up itself in love. 

7. We believe in the simplicity of a Christian lifestyle (1 Cor. 7:30-31; 2 Cor. 1:12; 2 Tim. 2:4).
We encourage our people to live in the world without being of the world, to use the world without abusing it, to possess material things without being possessed by them. We do not encourage a sophisticated knowledge and familiarity with the godless world system in which God has ordained that we live.

8. We believe that people’s needs should determine the ministry programs rather than using programs to build the ministry.

9. We believe in financial faith and faithfulness (2 Cor. 9:8).

10. We believe in the need to practice Scriptural separation.

  • To avoid conformity to the world (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18) 

  • To mark and avoid teachers of theological error (Rom. 16:17; 2 John 1:9-11) 

  • To admonish and keep no company with disobedient brethren (2 Thes. 2:15; 2 Thes. 3:6) 

11. We believe that we should have respect for the authority of civil government.

  • By paying our taxes (Mt. 22:17-21) 

  • By honoring our authorities (1 Pet. 2:17) 

  • By submitting to our laws (Rom. 13:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-16) 

  • By praying for our civil leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-2) 


For a two-part series on our church's Philosophy of Ministry, please click here. The sermons are entitled, Mount Calvary Philosophy of Ministry, Parts 1 & 2.