Most people associate a Baptist church with the raucous, soul-spiritual singing churches they see on TV. However, not all Baptist churches are like this. There also seems to be some confusion as to what Baptist churches believe and how they are organized. If you are considering a conversion to the Baptist faith but want to know more about it as a religious organization, here is the clarification you need.
Baptist Beliefs and Foundation
The Baptist faith is founded on the scripture that talks about John the Baptist. He was Jesus's first cousin on his mother's side, and was destined to preach and pave the way for Jesus's coming. As John was only slightly older than Jesus (by a few months) and because they were kin, it was inevitable that John would eventually cross paths with him. John paved the way for Jesus by preaching the coming of Christ and baptizing believers in open water, which eventually led to baptizing Jesus by John, and then John by Jesus for being a faithful servant of God.
Baptists believe in the rebirth of the baptism, as symbolized in this passage in the Bible. They do not baptize infants, but children and adults who accept and believe in Christ. The baptism ceremony is also one's dedication ceremony to the Baptist church and the Baptist faith, and is transferable to other Baptist churches around the country.
Organization Within the Baptist Church
There are several pastors, each of which has an important job. The lead pastor preaches Sunday service, sometimes twice in the mornings and once again Sunday evenings. He (no she!) may lead Wednesday Bible study services as well. There is also a youth pastor for teens and an evangelist pastor. Typically, a construct of church elders make major decisions for the church, such as expansion of certain wings of the church or where to send missionaries. Many foreign missions and missionaries are supported by the church as well.
Tithing and Financial Support
Although the Baptist church encourages tithing as a sign of loyalty and fealty to God, visitors and members alike are not required to give. This differs from many other religions, where a weekly tithing is expected. Also, Baptists may choose how their tithes help their church. They may give to certain charities, help missionary families, or support the church's weekly operations and pay their pastors' salaries.
Visitors Are Welcome
If you are still unsure about attending a Baptist church regularly, you may visit as often as you like.Crossroads Baptist Church welcome visitors and frequent visitors, and are never forceful about membership. If you want to contribute your time and spiritual gifts to the nursery or another part of the church, then membership may be required, but visiting as often as you like is a no-pressure event.