- Who are we?
- Where does the name come from ?
- Are we charismatic?
- What do we believe about Baptism?
- What are the responsibilities of membership?
- How is the Dove Church organised?
- What are the requirements for membership?
These are some of the questions people ask when considering whether or not to become a member. We believe membership is an important part of Christ's Body here at the Dove, and we strongly encourage all born again Christians in regular attendance with us to seriously think about joining us as members. We feel that membership is a duty and a responsibility, but also a privilege and a pleasure.
We hope that this information will answer some of your questions and help you to make an informed decision.
In 1991, a small group of Christians meeting at the Chapel-on-the-Hill, in the village of Somersal Herbert, felt moved towards bringing a Christian witness and outreach to the nearby town of Uttoxeter. After several months of praying, and a word of encouragement from the Lord through Haggai 1:8, in May 1992 this small group of twelve people, started holding a Sunday Morning Service at the Heath Community Centre in Holly Road, Uttoxeter.
Numbers increased at the services and we soon realised that being known as 'the people from the Chapel-on-the Hill' was not altogether satisfactory. In 1993 we therefore elected to be called the Dove Evangelical Free Church. By 1999 numbers had grown and after much prayer and discussion, the building in Stone Road was purchased. Throughout all the time that the Church has met in Uttoxeter, Sunday evening services have continued to be held at the Chapel-on-the-Hill at Somersal Herbert, which is part of the Dove Evangelical Free Church.[ top ]
Dove. We chose the name 'Dove' for two reasons: firstly, we are located in the Dove Valley; secondly the mention of doves in scripture. In the Old Testament, in Genesis 8:11, it was the dove which returned to the ark with a fresh olive leaf, showing the first sign of new life. Also in the New Testament in Matthew 3:16, at the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit of God descended on Jesus 'like a dove'.
Evangelical. The term 'Evangelical' derives from the Greek words eu + angelion the New Testament word for Good News or Gospel. We firmly believe the heart of Christianity is in the Good News of salvation and new life given through Jesus and received by personal faith. Evangelicals are spiritually minded people engaged in Christian activity, especially the saving of those who are lost.
Free. We are a 'Free' Church in that the only Higher Government we accept is Jesus Christ himself as our Shepherd. We are not members on any church denomination; we do not recognise any popes, archbishops or cardinals; we do not have to conform to the rulings of synods, councils or unions outside of our Church. The members appoint Elders from among our own number to serve as Christ's Under-Shepherds.
Church. The word 'church' is translated from the Greek word ekklesia, which means 'an assembly' or 'congregation'. It is a group of people who are called together for a purpose. We come together to worship God and to serve Him.[ top ]
It is regrettable that labels are often needed to describe groups of Christians. Charismatic derives from the 'charismata' the New Testament word for the 'gifts of the Holy Spirit'. In addition to any natural talent that we may have, God gives us 'Spiritual Gifts' to help us serve and worship Him more effectively. God entrusts different gifts to different Christians, with all believers having at least one, and generally more than one gift. Some Christians will receive bold, spectacular, readily identifiable gifts, while others are given quieter less obvious gifts both are charismatic![ top ]
Baptizo is the New Testament Greek word for baptism. It means 'I immerse', as for example in washing or dyeing something. Here at The Dove Church, we believe that Baptism is:
An act of faith, obedience and witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby a believer undertakes the humbling experience of publicly identifying with Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, as symbolised by entry, immersion and re-emergence from the water, and symbolically enacting the cleansing from sin.
In this Church we practice Believers' Baptism by total immersion and encourage new Christians to be baptised (we do not 'christen' or 'baptise' infants). One of the strengths of the Dove Church is the many different backgrounds of its members; it is therefore not a pre-requisite of membership, that candidates must have undertaken, or are required to undertake, Believers Baptism. [ top ]
Being a Free Church affords us great opportunities and privileges but also exposes us to certain risks and responsibilities. We choose our own Elders and Deacons from ordinary men and women; we are open to criticism when we witness for the Lord; we print leaflets and put notices in the local press; we invite anyone to enter our building and meet with us; we teach and influence young children; we are a legal body with responsibilities and liabilities; we are stewards of the gifts (including money) that God gives us and we are custodians of the Church building, making sure it is safe, secure and well maintained.
To formalise some of these things, we make a declaration of what we believe, in a document called our Statement of Faith. This sets out the doctrine we follow; additionally, we have another document called our Constitution which governs how we are organised and structured, and is the formal link with the secular society in which we live, and whose laws and regulations we must conform to.[ top ]
The Dove Church does not have a full-time Pastor or Minister, instead the members choose a panel of Elders to lead the church and Deacons to serve in other, usually more practical ways. We acknowledge that there are many different practices in existence, but after prayerful and diligent consideration we believe that this gives us the most Scriptural and also the most practical and 'safe' pattern of governance.
It is worth pointing out that this puts a considerable responsibility on each individual member of the church to live a Spiritual life in prayer and study and to be 'in tune' with what God, the Holy Spirit is saying at any time and on any matter.[ top ]
The requirements for membership are really quite straightforward.
- Do you repent before God?
- Do you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour?
- Do you meet regularly to worship with us?
If you answer yes to these questions, then you should seriously consider offering yourself for membership of the Dove Evangelical Free Church.[ top ]