Leslie Baptist Church is a community of Christians – those who recognise and have faith in Jesus Christ as their leader and ruler. We say things like: ‘Jesus is Lord’, ‘Christ is our King’, and ‘God is our Father’. For two-thousand years, since the earliest days of the church’s existence, followers of Jesus have been called ‘Christians’. We have faith and hope in Jesus, who has embodied everything that God is. We learn about him, and what it looks like to follow him from the Bible.
Jesus gathered a bunch of his friends around him and called them his ‘disciples’. All true Christians are disciples – people who journey with and become more and more like Jesus. This is something that is demonstrated in our lives every day – how we live, love and work. We are called to be faithful to God in everything: generosity, mercy, forgiveness, power and compassion. We make mistakes like everyone else – we’re far from perfect. But Jesus taught and demonstrated what God is like, even loving and forgiving his enemies when they betrayed and crucified him.
After Jesus was crucified, God raised him up to life, out of the grave never to die again! We call this ‘resurrection’. And then Jesus told his disciples to share the good news with everyone and to make more and more disciples. That’s our priority – teaching and helping everyone to love God and follow Jesus.
Since Jesus returned to his Father in heaven, we talk about the presence, power and person of the ‘Holy Spirit’. This simply means that God is near, up close and personal with us now, even though we cannot see him. We have been given power to follow Jesus, because God dwells within us.
One of the distinctive features of Baptist church life is our practice of Christian Baptism. We follow the New Testament pattern of baptising those who have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ – this is commonly known as Believer’s Baptism and is normally by total immersion in water.
Baptists also lay stress on the responsibility of each local church to govern its own life and affairs. The Church Meeting is the place where the members of the local Church gather together to discuss the business and make decisions seeking always to discern the mind of Christ. Leadership in our fellowship is provided by Elders and Deacons, Elders are responsible for the spiritual welfare and oversight of the Church and one of the Elders is normally a full time Pastor accredited by the Baptist Union of Scotland. The Elders are assisted by Deacons who concentrate on the more practical aspects of Church Life such as Property and Finance.
This emphasis on local authority does not mean we are independent from our fellow Baptist Churches instead we are inter-dependent. Whilst recognising the autonomy of each Church we gather together under the banner of the Baptist Union of Scotland to provide training, resourcing, support and encouragement for each other. Leadership within the Union is provided by a team of Core Leaders responsible for areas such as Mission, Youth Work and Minstry.
Baptists believe that everyone should be free to worship according to their beliefs. They have stood for the separation of Church and State yet it is largely true to say that they have been at the forefront of those demonstrating that a lack of formal links between Church and State does not hamper a Christian contribution to society, but rather enhances it. Baptists have been at the forefront of many political movements such as the crusade to abolish slavery.
As charismatics we believe that all the gifts of the Spirit are available to the church today. This includes prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing etc.
Whilst recognising all the gifts of the Spirit we acknowledge that these function under the authority of the Bible. The subjective revelation, tongue or prophecy can never overturn the Bible, however they can help to illuminate it and to apply it to believers’ lives. For example the Bible teaches the requirement to take the good news of Jesus Christ into all the world (for example the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20) but no specific word of scripture will tell a prospective missionary whether they are to serve in Chad or Chile, for this the prompting of the Spirit by a vision or prophecy can be useful.
The centrepiece of our services is still the preaching of the Bible but we do look to give opportunities for people to exercise the charismatic gifts and to respond to the sermon. Worship is a very important part of our services – this is a time when we can cast aside distractions and meet with God, preparing our hearts for whatever he wants to teach us.