Questions and Answers
Common questions about our beliefs, methods, and practices.
In this section, we address some common questions about our beliefs, methods, and practices.
Q: "Why does Pastor Andy maintain a career outside of ministry, and does this interfere with his ministry responsibilities?"
A: Most Christian pastors around the world provide for themselves in the business world early in their ministries while building their churches to the point that the church can support them. Even the great Apostle Paul maintained a side business so he could support himself in order to prevent being a burden on anyone he ministered to. Similarly, pastor Andy’s career allows him to minister without burdening the church with the kind of salary it would take to support a family. Pastor Andy’s calling is to equip, challenge, encourage, and educate God’s people in living a victorious Christian life through his weekly teachings, and he is able to do this adequately within the constraints of his time challenges. However, he delegates other elements of the ministry, such as certain counseling situations, matters of administration, etc. Actually, this is no different than what most full time pastors do, since no pastor is gifted to excel in everything, and all pastors must delegate various administrative or ministry tasks. So yes, Pastor Andy does have a lot on his plate, but no, his career responsibilities do not interfere with his ministry duties as they are defined here.
Q. "How is your church government set up?"
Blessed Life Fellowship differs from many denominational churches in its structure of church government. Most mainline churches maintain either a congregational form of church government, a Presbyterian form, or an Episcopal form of governing their churches.
The congregational form of church government is an American invention and appeals to our American sense of democracy. Basically, the congregation as a whole makes all decisions in these churches by voting on matters of importance and appointing committees from its ranks to run the daily operation of the church. The congregation votes on hiring a pastor, votes on how to spend money, and on anything else of importance. Although democratic people like this idea, congregational forms of church government often wind up, at best, causing the pastor to be directed by the sheep he is supposed to lead, and, at worst, reducing the pastor to a hireling.
In the Episcopal form of church government there is a bishop, or someone of similar stature (sometimes called by different titles), who oversees the churches, appoints pastors to pulpits, sets policy and guides the vision of the local congregations. This leaves little freedom for the local pastor or congregation to follow the leading of the Spirit.
The Presbyterian form of church government puts the decisions of church policy in the hands of a select group of elders (the “presbytery”) who are appointed in various different ways, depending on the church. These elders are over the pastor, who in turn is over the congregation. The problem here, too, is that this system puts the God-appointed leader — the pastor — under some of those he is supposed to lead.
Blessed Life Fellowship is organized differently. As an independent, non-denominational body, church government at BLF is very simple, not a complex bureaucracy. Committees and subcommittees are essentially nonexistent. Basically, at BLF, we believe that the pastor is responsible for the church, responsible to hear from God in His Word, and responsible to feed and love His people faithfully. Elders will be appointed as we grow larger to help the pastor care for the spiritual needs of the congregation.
At Blessed Life Fellowship, church organization is de-emphasized, and only the organization that is needed to run the church is instituted. The pastor guides the church as he is led by the Holy Spirit, and we trust God to put pastors where He wants them to be. We do currently maintain a Board and a counsel of leaders. (See chapter 6 in Pastor Andy’s book, The Shepherd and the Flock, for a thorough and detailed discussion on the various forms of church government.)
All that said, feedback, input, suggestions, and even constructive criticism is nevertheless welcome by Pastor Andy, and Pastor Andy also maintains accountability regarding his character to Godly men both within the church and outside of it.
Q: "Since Blessed Life Fellowship operates within the framework of the pastoral form of church government, how is Pastor Andy held accountable for his character and the way the money in the church is handled?"
A: As stated on the page on this website dealing with church government, the structure of Blessed Life Fellowship is simple, and not a complex bureaucracy with lots of committees and endless meetings. As the size of the church grows, more committees and meetings may be required. But for now, issues are dealt with as they come up, and, so far, this method has been effective in running the various elements of the church very simply and without spending a lot of time in meetings. Pastor Andy and Donna do maintain unto themselves the right and privilege as the founders and owners of the church to direct the affairs of the ministry and to make the final decisions on any matters of controversy that arise. However, Pastor Andy and Donna also maintain a Council Board consisting of people who they rely on as trusted friends and ministry partners who help advise them. Pastor Andy and Donna are free to decide how the money in the church is spent and where various contributions go, but they are responsible to provide receipts for all transactions and must obviously maintain integrity and transparency with how they handle the church’s funds.
In addition to being responsible to the congregation for their integrity in all matters, Pastor Andy and Donna have also submitted themselves by their own volition to the oversight of an apostolic overseers outside of the church — Dr. Jerry King of Kingdom Covenant Churches and Ministries in Ft. Worth Texas, who provides additional guidance and mentoring, and who has the right to bring correction and rebuke to Pastor Andy and Donna, and who has the right to bring to the attention of the congregation any matters related to the character of Pastor Andy and Donna that could negatively effect the church.
Q: Are ideas, suggestions, and objections welcomed from the congregation by Pastor Andy and Donna?"
A: Absolutely. God has placed everyone in the Body as He sees fit, and everyone has something to contribute and everyone has knowledge, wisdom, and expertise in certain areas. There have been a few occasions where Pastor Andy has gladly accepted the constructive input of someone in the congregation and changed courses as a result. However, Pastor Andy, as stated above, does reserve the right to not implement any suggestion that is not in keeping with the vision and mission that God has given him for the church. Pastor Andy is also very welcoming of different theological and doctrinal perspectives that anyone wishes to discuss. However, Pastor Andy encourages anyone who wishes to engage him in discussion on matters of debate to come with a well-studied and thoroughly referenced thesis from the scriptures prior to any such conversation.
Q: "How do I get more involved in the ministry of Blessed Life Fellowship, and are their opportunities to use my gifts and callings?"
A: There are many opportunities to use your unique gifts and callings at Blessed Life Fellowship. However, gifts and callings involving higher levels of visibility, responsibility, and influence require that a person first serve in smaller, less visible roles to prove one’s character and commitment. Unfortunately, Pastor Andy has learned the hard way that people will often present themselves early in a relationship with their pastor much different than what their true character represents, and when someone has been placed in a position of influence too early and then their true character is discovered when difficulties arise, the result can be very damaging to the church. Thus, every worker at Blessed LIfe Fellowship must prove their humility, diligence and willingness to serve in smaller roles before being promoted to more influential roles. (See Luke 16:10-12)
Click on the links below to access Pastor Andy’s blog articles on these other topics.
What We Believe
Following is a brief overview of the doctrinal beliefs that form the foundation of our fellowship.
- We believe the Bible, plain and simple. We believe it is relevant for the world today, that it is divinely inspired, without error, and is therefore profitable for teaching, reproof, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
- We believe in one way of salvation through Jesus Christ. We believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, and that He is true God and man. He died on the cross as a substitutional sacrifice for our sins. He rose bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father and is now our High Priest and Advocate.
- We believe in one God, and that He has manifested Himself to mankind in three distinctly separate, yet mysteriously united personalities: God the Father, God the Son – Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:15). In the Son, Jesus, God clothed Himself in flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1-3, 14), and took upon Himself the punishment for sin, so that all who place their faith in Jesus as their only hope of reconciliation with God may be pronounced “not guilty” (Rom. 8:1-4). Jesus is the Author of our salvation (Heb. 12:2), and faith is the substance of it (Heb. 11:1).
- We believe that all mankind was created in the image of God, but has sinned and rebelled against God’s standard of righteousness (Rom. 3:23). Because of sin, no one is able to appease God’s judgment against sin based upon one’s own merits (James 2:10). We believe, therefore, in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ as redemption for mankind’s sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Salvation from God’s ultimate wrath against sin is offered through Jesus alone, and received by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9), and is orchestrated in the life of the individual through the work of the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that eternal salvation is the free gift of God, entirely apart from man’s works, and is possessed by any and all who have faith in and receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- We believe that baptism is by immersion (dunking under the water), and the Lord’s Supper (“Communion” or the “Eucharist”) is a memorial to His suffering and death on the cross. These are practices to be observed by the church in its present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means for man’s salvation. Baptism is symbolic for the death of our old life and the beginning of a new life, and communion is a means of grace with the body and blood of Jesus expressing our oneness with Him.
- We believe in the personal, bodily, imminent, and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ and that His Second Coming inspires believers for dynamic and zealous life and service for Him while waiting for His return.
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, the everlasting blessedness of the saved in heaven, and the everlasting punishment and separation from God of the wicked in hell.
- We believe that God orchestrated the Church as a means of teaching and instruction, fellowship for believers, and worship (Acts 2:42-47). It is through the Church that we spur one another on to love and good deeds, provide and receive Biblical dissemination, and draw near to God in the intimacy and celebration of corporate worship and praise.
- We believe in the autonomy of the local church. The church will manage its own affairs and is not be subject to any other religious body or organization.
- We believe that our purpose as Christians is to become more and more Christ-like (Rom. 12:1-2), and that our purpose as a church is to equip the believer and provide the love and support that will potentiate that growth. As was well said by John MacArthur, “True Christian living is to manifest genuinely Christ-like behavior by dependence on the working of the Spirit of God motivated by a love for the glory and honor of God.”
- We believe that God is a GOOD God, and that His desire and purpose for His children is for them to live productive, healthy, and meaningful lives doing His will and advancing His Kingdom. This conviction is by no means intended to convey that Christians are immune from trouble, persecution, or problems, but that we have the power through Christ to overcome any and all obstacles set before us in order to live the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give His followers (John 10:10).
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
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