There is much diversity in the body of Christ. Different churches who might strongly affirm the same Statement of Faith can often look very different in the ways they sincerely seek to live out those beliefs. To help you determine if BRCC is a good “fit” for you, we offer the following distinctives to help describe who we are.
The Gospel (good news) of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ has the power to transform every area of our lives and is the essential core of all the ministries of the church. In the Gospel we meet God Himself, in all His fullness, who took on human flesh in Jesus Christ. And through the substitutionary death of Jesus in our place we come to see the amazing love and plan of God for us. At BRCC we purpose to continually and explicitly connect everything we do to the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Social and cultural concerns, justice issues, political opinions, worship and music styles, etc. etc. will always be informed by and expressive of our Gospel-centered priorities.
A Safe and Welcoming Place
Blue Ridge is often described as a friendly and welcoming church. Over the years many folks have also remarked that BRCC is a “safe place” for people to grow in Christ. We purpose to show love and grace even in the face of issues that are often polarizing in the larger culture around us. Most folks find us a grace-filled oasis where they can learn to simply live out the gospel and respond to the heavenly Father without top-heavy leadership, agendas and programs. At the same time we also steadfastly watch over the flock to protect our people from anyone and anything that could endanger their spiritual, physical, or emotional health. Part of our commitment to being a safe place includes extensive background checks for all our children’s ministry teachers and volunteers.
Home groups are very much central and crucial to most of what happens at Blue Ridge. Those who regularly connect with others in a home group at Blue Ridge will avail themselves of our primary means of pastoral care and a healthy platform for serving others. The home group is the basic “hub” of our fellowship and our main church “program.” Check out Home Group for more information.
Almost every essential ministry and outreach at Blue Ridge is led and envisioned by everyday people… just like you. New ministries happen organically here, as folks are led by the Holy Spirit and take risks to make Jesus known and to meet needs in our community and world. We encourage people to do what God has put in their hearts. If you have a ministry burden or vision, chances are there is freedom for you to pursue it here.
Word and Spirit
We would describe our fellowship as solidly Biblical and refreshingly Spirit-filled. Good theology matters a lot to us, as does expecting to meet with God and experience the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. A focus on theology without the Holy Spirit can create Pharisees and fault-finders. While a focus on spiritual experiences without being tethered to solid Biblical teaching can produce fanaticism and hyper-spirituality. We seek to avoid both extremes. What this looks like is a spontaneity of worship that is subject to and reflects many Biblical patterns of corporate worship – and thus may not be easily identified with one particular denominational heritage.
Christian liberty is the freedom given to Christ followers to discern and decide in questions not explicitly defined by the Scriptures. It is a freedom that requires commitment to the Scriptures, dependence upon the Spirit, and wisdom from the church community. Examples include whether or not to eat certain foods, consuming alcohol, and celebrating special days like Christmas and Easter. Christian conduct in these matters is ruled by two considerations: Christians who feel they have liberty (permission from God) to do so should endeavor in doing so to not cause their doubting fellow believers or family members to stumble. And Christians who feel that they should refrain are not to condemn their fellow believers who feel free to engage in these activities. (See Romans 14).
Marriage, Gender, Sexuality
We seek to express God’s love toward those who are hurting as a result of failed marriages, struggling with sexual identity or sexual immorality, by remembering that each of us have also been redeemed from the sins and mistakes of our past (see 1 Cor 6:11). When we submit ourselves to God’s moral order and sexual ethic, in the atmosphere of Gospel love and grace, it leads individuals and communities to true human flourishing. We believe that God creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex or of God’s design for marriage is a rejection of God’s revealed plan for expressing the fullness of His image in the earth.
Polity (church governance)
As clearly stated in the BRCC official Bylaws, the primary leadership and governing of the church is done by a team of mutually submitted elders. We believe this to be the clearly established New Testament pattern for governance. We believe that God gives pastors/elders to the church to shepherd the flock, preach and teach the word, pray, and exercise primary leadership of the body.
Gender and Church Offices
The New Testament recognizes two offices for leaders in the church: pastors/elders and deacons/deaconesses. Men and women are gifted for service in the church as deacons. The office of pastor/elder is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.