As those who have placed our faith on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the resultant peace and joy, we meet in His Name. We actively aim to apply Biblical principles for corporate assembly and practice, just as believers did in the New Testament days, before there were denominational barriers or distinctions.
The "Body of Christ" includes all true believers on the Lord Jesus Christ whom God has collectively constituted to be His Church, and in whom Christ Himself is the Builder (Matt. 16:18), chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:19-22), and the head (Eph. 5:23). In His Church, all believers are one in Christ, joined by the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon accepting Christ as Lord and Savior (1 Cor. 12:12-13). On this basis, we welcome to our local fellowship all Christians who are walking in a godly manner and are abiding in the doctrine of Christ (Rom.15:7; 1 Cor. 5:7-13; 2 John 9-11).
How We Function
The New Testament makes clear that local churches were left in the care of spiritually mature men or elders, who are also called bishops, overseers, pastors or shepherds (Acts 20:17, 28-29; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5). These men have the responsibility to tend the "flock of God" giving concern to spiritual care, counsel, example, leadership, discipline and restoration. The elders meet regularly and are readily available for counsel. New elders are added as their spiritual calling and the need becomes apparent.
The New Testament also speaks of deacons (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13) and the title suggests very simply "one who serves". Their specific area of service is to the temporal needs of the assembly. Deacons are recognized by the assembly and appointed by the elders (Acts 6:3).
The New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5-10; Rev. 1:6; Heb. 10:14-25; 13:10-16). We therefore encourage the exercise of every Christian in our fellowship to worship God and to witness to man. We do not recognize as scriptural the division of God's people into clergy and laity designations. Our weekly worship meeting (the Lord's Supper) gives special opportunity for the church to function in its priestly character. The men worship audibly while the women do so silently during this meeting (1 Tim. 2:11-14; 1 Cor. 14:34, 35, 40).
The New Testament teaches that all believers have at least one spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:1-31). The Church, then, is a Body with many different members, but all functioning for the benefit of the whole. We therefore seek to help each recognize their gift(s) and to give themselves wholly to its(their) use so that the entire body is edified. Some are evangelists, some pastor-teachers, but many also are those who serve, exhort, give, lead, show mercy, etc. (Eph. 4:11; Rom. 12:7-8).
God's Principals of Headship in the Assembly
The New Testament teaches that women are fully equal to men as persons (Gal. 3:8). It also teaches that God has specifically ordained principles of authority within His Church, "The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Cor. 11:3). Consistent with these principles of headship, the Bible teaches that the men are to be engaged in a protective, guiding and loving servant leadership role both within the family and within the local church. Nevertheless, this in no way means that the woman's role is of less value or importance. Both men and women are vially important and essential to the building up of the church (1 Peter 4:10) and are encouraged to minister (1) in obedience to the order God has prescribed and (2) as God has gifted them. We recognize that these things may be difficult to understand in the light of today's thinking! But please note that when the New Testament was written in the first century, these issues were difficult ones in those times also! Please note Paul's answer to this question in 1 Cor. 14:35-38.
The New Testament teaches: "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver....For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints (Christians), but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God" (2 Cor. 9:7, 12). There are no pledges, envelopes, or collections conducted during the meetings. The financial needs of Cheshire Bible Chapel are met as those in fellowship are led of God to offer their free-will gifts. As there are no designated collection times, gifts are simply placed in a box available at will for that purpose. The Lord has never failed to provide us what has been needed for His work.