In 1981, seven Baptists who lived in Ballymoney began to meet together, once a week, with Bill Johnston, a Baptist Missions worker. Initially they met in each othersÂ homes, but following the arrival of Steven and Gail Curry, also from Baptist Missions, they began to look for a suitable site.
During this time, there were many instances of encouragement and support from the local, mainly Presbyterian community, including the offer of a field near the town as a temporary initial site. Unexpectedly, a local estate agent offered them a small site in Ballybrakes, right beside the water, so perhaps congenial to Baptists! A portable hall was erected, and a short time later, the present church was constituted, on the 20th September, 1986. The little hall on the riverside was packed to overflowing on a bright harvest day, when friends from neighbouring churches met to mark this exciting event.
Thirteen people covenanted together to become the founder members of Ballymoney Baptist Church. Amazingly, no-one, including the many children, was scalded when tea was served from a little hut outside to this very cramped congregation!
We believe that Christians shouldn't just attend church, they should join one. Anyone with a credible profession of faith in Jesus, who has been baptised as a believer, may officially join our church fellowship. We think the Bible teaches that spiritual growth is something that happens together in the context of the church. The following summarises the six basic activities of membership.
First things first
The Bible begins by telling us that there is a God (Genesis 1:1). Today many people doubt God's existence, but the world around us offers evidence of a Creator (Romans 1 v 20) and the fact that we all possess a conscience points us towards the existence of God. The Bible teaches that God is the maker of heaven and earth, animals and humans (Genesis 1-2).
Now the bad news
Shortly after human beings were made, they chose to disobey a command of God (Genesis 3). They sinned. Sin is where we reject God's laws and choose to do our own thing. Being holy, God can't simply allow this rebellion to go unchecked. He punished sin by allowing death to enter the world. God has also promised a final judgment at the end of human history.
Finally, the good news!
Thankfully God is also merciful! In His amazing love for sinners, God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to die in their place (Romans 5:8). On the cross, Jesus bore God's wrath in the place of undeserving people like us. By doing this, Jesus exhausted the demands of God's righteous judgement. He then rose in victory over sin and death.
We must respond!
Most news stories don't require any response on our part. They are just information. But the gospel ('good news') is news that requires a response. It is similar to the news that says, "your house is on fire" - that demands a response, especially if you're in the house! We respond to the good news by repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus Christ. Have you turned away from your old life of sin, and trusted in Jesus Christ to cleanse you and provide forgiveness for your sins?