NorthHaven Defined: Being Inclusive

Being Inclusive

NorthHaven Church exists for those individuals and families seeking a progressive Christian witness taking Jesus for his word that all people are invited to follow him. Regardless of ethnic background, economic position, political affiliation, or past indiscretions, NorthHaven welcomes you to be a part of our family and experience the grace and love of God. For too long, churches have focused upon an exclusionist approach to faith. Instead of seeking ways to welcome people into the family of God, we have built doctrines and dogmas that have divided God’s children. At NorthHaven, we want to be known for welcoming all people and empowering them to be disciples of Jesus.

In addition, NorthHaven exists for those individuals and families that have felt the cold sting of hurtful religion. Unfortunately, there are too many stories where the church has failed to love as Jesus loved…too many stories where grace is only a word and not a practice…too many stories where the doors to the kingdom have been slammed shut and not thrown open. At NorthHaven, we offer an invitation to any persons who have suffered at the hand of hurtful religion. We welcome you, scars and all.

Finally, being an inclusive congregation means promoting and practicing an egalitarian view of family and church life. We believe men and women were created equal to serve as co-labors in the home and church. We believe in a shared responsibility between husbands and wives; where mutual submission encourages humility and respect. As well, we hold that God calls and equips men and women for the purpose of service within his church. Gender should never be a factor in whether a person serves God in any manner of ministry. God loves every one of his children equally, so his church should seek to do the same.

NorthHaven Defined: Being a Member

Being a Member

As a new and growing congregation, NorthHaven wants to make certain we clearly communicate what it means to be a member of our church. Therefore, we recently passed new membership policies within the last few years. During this process questions arose, “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? Has church membership overtaken the importance of being a disciple? And, should our Baptist identity hinder our fellowship with Christians from other traditions that want to be a part of our church?”

The church carefully studied these issues, while listening and considering the input of each church member. This process was both challenging and rewarding. The church discovered there is not a standard process churches set forth in developing criteria for membership. Each church develops their own standards, while taking into account their understanding of Scripture and its application to their church culture.

This process has also been incredibly rewarding. NorthHaven addressed a serious topic confronting churches: “How can we best promote our faith distinctives while existing in a post-denominational culture?” We never questioned our commitment to the four fragile freedoms of Baptist tradition, but the more difficult question for our congregation was in creating an environment that will best foster those distinctives while reaching out to a community that has grown tiresome of denominational rhetoric.

Therefore, after careful study and deliberations, NorthHaven adopted the following policies for those interested in joining our fellowship. First, individuals can partner with NorthHaven by making a profession of faith, followed by baptism. Second, individuals can reaffirm their faith and baptism, even when their baptism comes from another Christian tradition. We will continue our practice of believer’s baptism by immersion, but will honor the conscience of those coming from other traditions. We would love to have you be a part of the exciting opportunities at NorthHaven Church. Come and visit, we will be looking for you.

NorthHaven Defined: Being Baptist

Being Baptist

NorthHaven Church has a mission to enable people to discover a loving and inclusive fellowship, connect them with the principles of free and faithful Baptists, and inspire them to be the presence of Christ to the world. To assist us in our mission, we have decided to partner with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. We believe these networks and partnerships will empower us to remain free and faithful to our stated purpose.

As a congregation of faith, we are unashamedly Baptist. We hold true to the four fragile freedoms of our Baptist tradition: soul freedom, religious freedom, biblical freedom and church freedom. However, we realize the world around us is changing. We no longer live in a world where individuals and families seek out the denominational church of their childhood. In fact, many experts are claiming that we have finally arrived to a post-denominational age.

With that in mind, as a Baptist congregation, NorthHaven is seeking opportunities to maintain the traditions of our past and embrace a new openness in our participation with Christians from other traditions. We cherish the freedoms that our Baptist forebears blazed, while at the same time seeing the importance of working together as a Christian community. We have always maintained that being like Christ is more important to us than making Baptists. Therefore, the time for those words to be put into practice has come.