The way we do church at First Baptist Portales is designed with the Great Commission of our Lord in mind, who told us to go and "make disciples" (Matthew 28:19-20). A disciple is one who lives a life of worship, lives life in community with other Christians, and lives their life on mission for Christ. Read the articles below to learn more.
God’s people are called to live lives of worship – whole-heartedly dedicated to bring God glory through the way we live.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” - Matthew 22:37
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” - Romans 12:1
“. . . speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - Ephesians 5:19-20
Our worship services are designed to make disciples who live lives of worship. How? We believe that a worship experience that involves all ages will help accomplish this goal best. Why?
1. The Bible commands it.
"One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness."
– Psalm 145:4-7
2. It cultivates an "on earth as it is in heaven" environment.
"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throneand before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." – Revelation 7:9
"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven."
- Hebrews 12:22-23a
3. It promotes unity in the body of Christ.
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." – Ephesians 4:3-6
4. It develops a heart of selflessness and “one another” ministry.
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." - Romans 12:10
5. It builds up the body of Christ.
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." – Colossians 3:15-16
6. Its goal is to train up worship leaders vs. music performers.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." – 1 Corinthians 10:31
7. It affects eternity.
"All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does." – Psalm 145:10-13
8. It displays what God is doing through different generations.
"I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
– Psalm 89:1
9. It brings families together to worship.
"We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands." – Psalm 78:4-7
10. It gives each generation faith-building experiences.
"But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations." – Psalm 102:12
Our Connection Groups are designed to make disciples who live life in community (John 13:34-35; Acts 2:42). As part of a small group, we can grow deeper in our love for God and one another. One of the things we are in the process of doing is moving away from a strict age-grading approach for our adult groups to more inter-generational groups so that the older among us can cousel the younger among us (1 Timothy 5:1-2; Titus 2:1-8; 1 Peter 5:5).
As wonderful as it is to gather with the whole church family for corporate worship, there is something powerfully unique about an intimate gathering that forces us to think differently than when we are in a big room for worship. Small groups are where much of what is taught from the pulpit begins to be fleshed out in conversation and action. Being part of a Connection Group offers you the opportunity for . . .
1. Spiritual Growth - You can learn, ask questions, involve yourself in the lives of others, and generally make yourself vulnerable among other people who are doing the same in a small group. You just can’t do that in a worship service. Spiritual growth happens better with others, in community, with open lines of communication and freedom to speak into one another’s lives.
2. Deeper Relationships - The smaller the group, the deeper the relationships. You simply cannot know everyone beyond a certain point, and you certainly will not open up about your struggles or ask questions in a large group of people you don’t know. We are in the process of developing a Discipleship Journey Process for even smaller groups of 3 or 4 (men with men and women with women) to go through together outside of Connection Group.
3. Meaningful Friendships - Small groups deliver meaningful friendships that provide accountability. When people know you, really know you, your life becomes far more transparent, including your sin. Others learn to read you and will call you out for those sins, creating opportunities to deal with real life difficulties as they surface. This is part of what we should expect from good friends. There are also opportunities to discuss the issues with others in the church. Issues that you would only want to discuss openly among trusted friends.
We believe we need to be “fishers of men” rather than “keepers of the aquarium.” Our Connection Groups are the vehicle we work through to promote and provide folks with opportunity to serve others and share Jesus. the video below explains our vision for saturating Portales with the Gospel.
We encourage each Connection Group to do a monthly mission/outreach project outside of the church walls, with the goal being that at least 80% of our member’s service be outside the walls of the church building. Each group is to plan their monthly project and report their participation the following Sunday. They might even take a Sunday to do their project in lieu of having their Bible study that day. The video below explains the basic idea of how our Connection Groups can do outreach or mission projects in our community.
We encourage groups to participate in Saturate Portales. Saturate Portales is a monthly activity one Saturday morning a month from 10 am to 11:30 am, where we go door to door in our community to distribute Gospel literature and interact with people as we have opportunity. We ask if they have any prayer requests, offer prayer when allowed, and engage in conversation about the gospel when possible. Jesus mentioned four types of soil Jesus in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23). Some people are hard soil, some rocky soil, some thoorny soil, some good soil. Through conversation, we discern who is good soil and go as far in sharing Jesus as we can, with the possibility of returning again for a follow-up visit.
We encourage each Connection Group to serve as a group every 4 to 6 weeks as greeters on Sunday mornings.
We encourage adults in our Connection Groups to serve as a kid or youth Connection Group volunteer every four to six weeks during Connection Group time.
We encourage our Connection Groups to also participate in the various on-going and/or special mission outreaches our church sponsors each year:
Celebrate Recovery - Connection Groups can help provide the weekly meal served to all Celebrate Recovery participants at 5:30 on Tuesday evenings.
Adopt-A-School Initiative - We partner witht James Elementary School. this involves leading a 6 session course on parenting in the fall. We provide a meal for the families each evening of the class or help with homework club for the kids or childcare. Through-out the year, we provide meals for the teachers on parent/teacher conference days and buy bicycles for kids who have perfect attendance at the end of the year.
Bridge to Hope - This ministry offers free life skills and job readiness classes for women 18 and older in relationship skills; anger/stress management; personal communication; parenting skills; money management; office skills; career development; job searching; Bible study; GED preparation; and more. FBC provides office and classroom space and involves volunteers in teaching and mentoring.
Mega Sports Camp - A ministry initiated by First Baptist, we join with other churches in our community to offer this camp which features training for boys and girls in sports such as Basketball, Soccer, Rodeo, Baseball, Volleyball, along with the Gospel. It is held at the Baptist Children's Home.
Food Pantry Ministry - We have a food pantry that provides food to needy families in Portales. This ministry is carried out through the church office and supported by offerings and food donations from our members.