Why Andover

Unity


Let’s face it, churches are not exempt from drama. Whether it’s among church staff, ministry leaders, deacons, elders, volunteers, etc., sinner’s sin and wounds can run deep. Toxicity can rear its ugly head anywhere. Though Andover is not immune from such things, it is refreshing to have a glad and sweet spirit of unity across the church. People truly get along and are “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).” Instead of constantly putting out fires and resolving hostilities we get to focus on “knowing Jesus, grow in grace, enjoy God, and one another” (our motto). Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

 

Family Integration

 

The Lord loves the family. He delights when they gather on the Lord’s Day to honor His name. Because parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual development of their children (Proverbs 22:6), we think the Lord’s Day worship service plays a huge role in that. At Andover children have the joy of worshipping the Lord alongside their parents and are integrated into the life of the church. When they watch mom and dad opening their bibles, praying, listening, partaking of the supper, and singing, they will realize just how important these things are, and God willing, will continue the tradition with their future children. Kids are a tremendous blessing to the fellowship and NOT having them in the church service would be a disservice. In a world that seeks to separate the family, it is refreshing we can be a place where togetherness is valued. Deuteronomy 6:6-8 These words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 

 

Bible Preaching

 

If you grew up in church you may have heard hundreds, if not thousands of sermons in your lifetime. Preaching is essential, and people typically have their preaching-style preferences. There are loud preachers, conversational preachers, expository preachers, life application preachers, fire and brimstone preachers, even hacking preachers (that is, preachers who passionately say “HA!” after every sentence). Regardless of style, what matters most is WHAT, better yet, WHO, is being preached. At Andover we aim to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). Our desire is to make Jesus known and demonstrate how the entire Bible points to Him. Consequently, the Bible is utilized all throughout any given sermon. Considering we are a church this may seem an obvious trait, but sadly this is becoming rare in churches. We encourage people to bring their actual Bibles and follow along with the sermon. God still uses the preaching ministry in mighty ways to accomplish His purposes. 2 Corinthians 4:5 “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord…”

 

Biblical Worship

 

God cares about how He is worshipped. The Bible informs us He is to be worshipped in spirit and truth, and through means such as partaking of the Lord’s Supper and baptism, prayers and confession, Bible-reading, Bible-preaching, and singing. We believe worship ought to be both reverent and joyful. We stick to the Bible’s prescribed method of worship which is sufficient. If you have this kind of church, you are part of something special. Cherish it. Psalm 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

 

Elder-Led and Deacon-Served

 

Regardless of a church’s leadership structure, leading a church is not easy. Consequently, to have several men assist in leadership responsibilities takes a tremendous burden off one man. At Andover there are many men who walk with God who have been called to serve in leadership roles such as elders and deacons and are under the authority of the “Chief Shepherd” who is Jesus. These men love and care for the people in the church. The elders provide leadership in relation to direction, teaching, and prayer, etc. Deacons are tasked with serving in the church and checking on families. By God’s grace, every member at BCA is cared for at some capacity and every family is prayed for directly. While church’s have different convictions on how a church is led (senior pastor led, deacon led, etc.) we believe the best structure for us is elder-led and deacon-served.

 

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:  shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Peter 5:1-4

 

“Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.  Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.  Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.  For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:8-13

 

Age Variation

 

The Baptist Church at Andover is comprised of people from all ages. We have children and senior adults who worship together. The elderly treat the children as their own grandchildren and it’s not uncommon to see kids interacting with them before and after service. It is a blessing when churches can have a good age mix. Senior adults provide much wisdom and bring tremendous insight to the body of Christ, and young adults can take note of their life-experiences. Infants bring their sweetness (and chubby cheeks), children bring their laughter, young adults bring their service to the church, and others bring their encouragement. This is what community should look like.

 

Luke 18:16 “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” -Jesus

Titus 2:1-5 As for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

 

Singing

 

God sings (Zephaniah 3:17) and He delights when His people come together to sing His praises (Psalm 100). Because humans are created in God’s image, singing is something we partake in, especially in the Lord’s Day service. A sin cursed world has marred the beauty of music and singing, however Christians must reclaim it for God’s glory. The Bible mentions a variety of instruments designated for worship such as trumpet, lyre, flute, cymbal, etc., but perhaps the greatest instrument is the human voice. Singing glorifies God and encourages the Christian, and at Andover we believe congregational singing is important. We sing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs when we gather (Colossians 3:16). We desire that men and women, boys and girls, sing with confidence. There is a beauty when families sing in unison to the glory of God. We seek to do that at Andover. Come, let us sing to the LORD. Psalm 100:1-2 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!”

 

Psalm 100:1-2 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!”

 

Theology

 

The word theology simply means the study of God. Consequently, everyone is a theologian because each person has their opinions about God. At Andover we aim for our theology to be rooted in the Bible. We hold to principles otherwise referred to as the “Five Solas,” (solas is a Latin word meaning “alone”),

 

Salvation is by grace alone (not earned/deserved), Through faith alone (not of works), In Christ alone (only Jesus saves), as revealed in, Scripture alone (Bible is our final authority and sufficient), to the glory of God alone (He reigns)

 

We desire all people to repent and believe the gospel. We call sinners to trust in Christ, yet fully realize only God can change the heart and save whoever He wills. And Jesus will save all those given to Him by the Father.

 

John 17:1-2 “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given Him.”

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

 

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

 

Community

 

God did not create people to be an island to themselves. We were made to be in community. At Andover, there is a strong sense of comradery, compassion, community, and enjoyment. We try to spend time with one another for the sake of prayer and mutual encouragement which happens in many ways, in a variety of places, and usually includes food. We have found it a great joy to break bread, laugh much, and edify each other. This is another beautiful quality built into the DNA of BCA. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

 

Love of God and Love of Others

 

God has called us into a covenant relationship with Himself. It is a covenant based on free and sovereign grace. He loves His people at all times. When the Spirit of God makes us born again He enables us to love the Lord with all our hearts, and love others sacrificially. The people at Andover love the Lord and seek to truly love one another. What a joy to be loved by the sovereign Lord. No matter where you're at in life, the people at The Baptist Church at Andover stand ready to walk in truth and love.

 

John 13:35 "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -Jesus

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