Welcome – Think First

by Dr. Mark McKim

Think first! It’s one of the things which make First Baptist Church different, and one of the reasons I love being here. We are and want to be “a community of faith and learning,” or put another way “a community of thinking faith.”

With all your Mind

We affirm the historic Christian creeds as valid summaries of Christian belief. We hold a high view of the authority of Scripture. We stand in the historical evangelical tradition. But at the same time we not only welcome and encourage, but expect thinking and a thoughtful faith. We take it very seriously when Jesus said “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength, and with all your mind.” (Luke 10.27 NRSV)

Questions are OK

This is a place where questions are encouraged, not ignored or hushed. The answer to every question isn’t black and white or easy to reach. We don’t think “pat” answers are helpful. We welcome those who are seeking answers, who are sceptical about Christianity, who have doubts, and who aren’t sure.

Think First

That “think first” approach to things shows itself in many different ways. Here are a few of them:

Preaching

Sermons at First aren’t about providing entertainment, nor are they pep talks. They invite the listener to think, reflect – and act. We want people to learn how to think theologically  for themselves.

Adult Study

We aren’t much into pre-programmed studies. Instead, recent adult studies have included in depth reading of books by N.T. Wright, “The Life and Thought of C. S. Lewis,”  and another on the relationship of art and faith. We regularly offer courses on the Bible too – from deep looks at individual books of the Bible to considerations of the parables of Jesus. Voice – a women’s literature group – meets regularly for great discussions of great books, and what they say to us. On Tuesday nights a small group meets to view and discuss a film.

Sunday Worship

We value a reflective style of worship, which draws from the wisdom of centuries of Christian worship. There is a very clear structure to the way we worship. It’s deliberate. And it’s different from many evangelical churches. We don’t worship the structure, but we have discovered having a structure gives us freedom to enter deeply into God’s presence.

Music

First is widely known as “the music church” in Regina. We have a strong choral music programme, and we are enriched by having many highly qualified instrumentalists – a number of whom also play in the Regina Symphony Orchestra – as part of our congregation. We are one of the few churches in western Canada to have an ordained minister of music on our staff.

Children

We don’t have the traditional Sunday school with everything aimed at having a “moral.”  We see children’s ministry as spiritual formation, shaping children to become followers of Christ. Children’s church aims to guide children into living a life of worship and obedience to God. We consciously try to include children in our worship service. And we believe very strongly that “children’s programmes” are not just for kids. It’s about equipping parents to share and live their faith at home.

Following Jesus

Jesus told people often that they should think first before following him. He did not offer an easy way. He did not say that following him guaranteed health, wealth, or a perfect family. What he did say was that following him, accepting him as being in charge of life – as your Lord – was the way to purpose, wholeness, joy, life, freedom, and eternity. This is why ,we say about following Jesus at First Baptist Church – Think first!