Table of Contents
Our Leadership Essentials are built on the foundation of our Statement of Faith. These essentials give an overview of beliefs and doctrines which members of the Blackhawk family may have differing views; however, we commit to a unified stance in order to remain undivided (1 Corinthians 1:10). For the sake of that unity at Blackhawk Ministries, elders, deacons, pastors, staff members, and believers desiring leadership roles must commit to teach and lead in a way that honors these unified stances. Further teaching and resources on these topics, plus many more, can be found in our Resource Library.
The following Leadership Essentials are in alphabetic order for ease of use.
We believe Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water (Acts 8:39) in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a symbol of salvation, not the means of salvation. Salvation occurs by grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Baptism is an act of obedience that follows salvation. It symbolizes the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. Baptism is the outward expression of the inward miracle. It is a visible, tangible, physical expression of what happens inside us spiritually. Our baptism is a testimony to be seen by others as it pictures and proclaims the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
We believe Christians should be baptized because Jesus Himself was baptized. He commanded it as an ordinance that has been followed since the institution of the church immediately following one’s trusting in Christ. Baptism symbolizes our being “put into” God’s family, and it bears witness to others of the essence of our faith. John the Baptist proclaimed the Gospel and baptized those who repented of their sin, desired to make right their relationship with God, and awaited the coming Messiah The baptism of Jesus is recorded in each Gospel (Matthew 3:1-17, Mark 1:1-11, Luke 3:1-22, John 1:19-34). Jesus was baptized as a symbol of denying His will, submitting to His Father, and marking the beginning of His earthly ministry. When Jesus came up out of the water, John saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove upon Jesus and everyone in attendance heard God’s voice from heaven say, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased“.
Following in the footsteps of Jesus, a believer is ready and called to be baptized when he/she:
- Believes Jesus is the Son of God and has received Him as Savior.
- Is ready to live fully surrendered to Jesus and proclaim that trust to the world.
We believe civil government is established by God and that Christians are to be active and loyal citizens. Every ruling authority that exists has been established by God (Romans 13:1-2). Those in authority are described as “the servant[s] of God” and “ministers of God.” Those who reject governmental authority reject God’s authority. Those in power hold their power because of God (John 19:10-11) and can be removed by God (Daniel 2:21).
We believe that ruling authority and government is to be exercised for the good of people and that Christians are to obey all laws. We believe that Christians are responsible to pray for our rulers, to honor them, and to obey them. We believe that when we are confronted with a clear conflict between government and God, our obedience must first and always be to God.Scripture References: Mark 12:17; Acts 5:27-29; Romans 12:18; 13:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14, 17
We believe that communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is one of the two ordinances Jesus called His church to participate in as we follow His example. Jesus Himself instituted communion and, just like He did with His own baptism, modeled it for us to follow onward until His return. Our church will regularly participate in communion in our remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.
Communion is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. It is a memorial, a new covenant, and a proclamation. We believe communion is for God’s family who understand the concepts of sin and salvation and have accepted Christ. For those not fitting this description, we believe communion is a teaching opportunity to explain the concepts of sin and salvation, and our need for Jesus.
As we participate in communion, we proclaim Jesus’ death and sacrifice and His coming return. We demonstrate our remembrance of Him as the means of salvation and our identity in Christ as we follow His command to “Do this in remembrance of me.”Scripture References: Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:7-20; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:17-34
We believe that understanding God’s ability and desire to purposefully create the universe and all it contains sets the stage for the story of humanity that follows creation. If creation was an accident, it devalues the Bible and the message of God’s redemption. We believe that creation occurred in an intentional, purpose-filled manner by an intelligent, all-powerful Creator as seen clearly in the first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1.
We believe that God exists in three persons before the formation of the world. His character and Word pre-exist the world and will outlive the world. Whenever science and scripture appear to conflict, we believe science ultimately supports and surrenders to the Word of God. We believe the words of Genesis are to be taken literally as a historical documentation of literal events. As the Bible references morning and evening, we believe God lovingly and thoughtfully created the world in six literal days, resting on the seventh (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; 2:1-2). Animals were created according to their kind, not through evolution, and humans were intentionally and lovingly created in the image of God through Adam and Eve. People, animals, and plant life were created in mature states and were not the product of evolution over many millennia. Humankind as created shares no common ancestry with any other species (Genesis 1:24-27).
At the time of creation, sin did not exist on the earth. Adam and Eve voluntarily committed the first earthly sin and caused the fall of all mankind. That fall created separation from God. Because of that separation, humanity is inclined to evil and condemned to death and eternity without God (Genesis 3:1-19). All of creation and nature testify to God’s eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:20). This creation account sets up the need for the Good News of Jesus Christ who is the only way to resolve the separation resulting from sin.Scripture References: Genesis 1:1-2:25; Romans 1:18-25; Hebrews 11:1-3
END TIMES AND ETERNITY:
We believe there will be a literal return of Christ and a Judgment Day. We believe that Jesus is coming again to claim His Church and will one day return with His Church to establish His earthly kingdom in what will be called the millennial reign. God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth, the dead will be raised, and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to hell, the place of eternal separation from God. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever with the Lord in a new heaven and a new earth where sin, death, and tribulation will be no more.
Within our body we have individuals with differing views on the timing and order of specific events detailed above. Blackhawk has historically taught a pre-tribulation rapture and a pre-millenial return of Christ. Other well respected believers that we will see in heaven would note the same events as occurring in a different order and could be identified as being amillennial, post-millennial, or various other names with differing views. How and when these events will happen has long been a source of great debate. We believe the details are in God’s hands and this is not a salvation issue.Scripture References: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; James 5:8; Matthew 16:27; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Revelation 20:15
We believe that salvation is held secure by God himself. All true believers whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from their standing with God. Believers can and will fall into sin but will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. God alone is sovereign over the biblical concepts of election and the free agency of man according to His purpose. He alone can regenerate, justify, sanctify, and glorify sinners as saints that become a part of His family.
We believe that salvation is eternally secure because of Jesus Christ and the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). Once true salvation through Jesus is received, nothing can take it away (John 10:27-29). We encourage everyone to grow in Christ as we are not the judge of anyone’s salvation. The many varying perspectives about eternal security and the combination of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will can co-exist when the focus becomes the mission that Christ gave to His Church: make disciples that make disciples.Scripture References: Ephesians 1:13-14; John 10:27-29; Romans 8:28-39
GRACE AND THE GOSPEL
We believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and the Gospel (Good News) is our greatest hope. This should inform not only how we come to faith in Christ, but also how we live for and follow Christ every day thereafter.
Grace is defined as the “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” We believe that our salvation is based only on the completed work of Jesus Christ through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead as a ransom to pay for the sins of the world. In our humanity, we can get confused that working out our salvation requires grace + something else. When we slip into this trap, we are prone to fall into legalism, pride, judgment of others, and/or self-condemnation.
The Gospel (lit. “good news”) is the story of how grace was made available to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that this good news is what makes our salvation possible. We remind ourselves of the truth of the Gospel to avoid the trap of trying to find acceptance by God through obedience to God. Scripture teaches that left to our sinful selves that we would never seek God on our own. The Holy Spirit draws us to and enlightens us to the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel reminds us that while we are engaged in a lifelong process of sanctification (becoming more like Christ), there is nothing we can do to become more loved by Christ.Scripture References: Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9; Romans 1:16; 3:23-24; 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Colossians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 1:17; Matthew 11:28; 1 John 2:2; 2 Peter 2:1; Romans 3:11; John 6:44; 1 Peter 2:9 ; Ephesians 1:4-9
MARRIAGE, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY
We believe that God is the author of human life, gender, sexuality, and marriage. Our current culture has made these topics divisive and our unified stance on them comes from God’s own definitions found in His Word. This gives us a unified position from which to teach and lead, and we also underscore the need to communicate our position in love as Jesus would have us to do.
Marriage is an institution ordained by God and prescribed by Scripture to be a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman, physically created in these respective genders by God. We believe God designed marriage to be a relationship established before Himself and man to propagate the human race. He also intends for marriage to express healthy relational and sexual intimacy and to picture the covenant relationship He has with all genuine believers.
Divorce is something God hates because He designed marriage to be a permanent covenant characterized by purity. He never initiates divorce or encourages it, but because sin has marred God’s original design and hardened the hearts of people, God has permitted divorce in certain circumstances. Adultery breaks the purity and the one-flesh relationship and is grounds on which divorce may be initiated biblically. Even in the case of adultery, God’s plan is forgiveness and restoration.
Gender is assigned by God and determined at conception. God creates men and women in His image as two distinct but equal genders. Therefore, we believe that to intentionally alter or change one’s physical gender or to live as a gender other than the one assigned at conception is to reject God’s prerogative as Creator to assign gender to His creatures.
Sexuality is part of God’s divine design for human beings. The Bible clearly prohibits not only non-consensual sexual misconduct, but also any consensual sexual activity outside the boundaries of heterosexual marriage. Furthermore, the Bible specifically names as sinful and prohibits any form of sexual activity between persons of the same gender.
We acknowledge that we live in a world broken by sin and are called to speak the truth in love with those who may disagree with us. We desire to do so in ways that honor God and point those who disagree with us to Him. We believe every person must be treated with love, respect and compassion, and we are committed to living out our commitments to these biblical standards with grace and humility.Scripture References: Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18-25; Psalm 139:13-16; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, 10-13; Hebrews 13:4; Deuteronomy 22:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Romans 1:26-27; Matthew 19:4-9
PRIESTHOOD OF EVERY BELIEVER
We believe church is a team sport where everyone plays. We believe it is essential that every believer who calls Blackhawk home understands that he/she is responsible for the work of ministry. We are called and equipped to be “priests” or ministers of the Gospel wherever and whenever (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). Our church leadership views our calling to be “equipping the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:1-32).
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full-time” Christian service, including our vocation. Being a disciple of Christ is a 24/7 commitment that includes the integration of our work and our faith.
We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member of our body to find a place of service and ministry (1 Corinthians 12:1-31). Every believer has direct access to God through Bible reading/study, prayer, and the indwelling/leading/gifting of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian is to be a disciple who makes disciples, developing relational environments in which we share our faith with those around us by word and by action.Scripture References: 1 Peter 2:5-10; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Revelation 1:5-6
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
We believe that God values all human life at its beginning, middle and end. God demonstrated this high value in that He sent Jesus to become the provider of a way to have eternal life through His own humanity, death, and resurrection. God alone is the authority on life and death. The Bible is a book about life and death. Jesus, through His death and conquering of it through the resurrection, is the sole source of life, both temporal and eternal. As such, at Blackhawk Ministries we believe:
- Followers of Jesus are ethically obligated to protect, preserve, and promote the sanctity of human life.
- God’s commands stand against the abortion or termination of an unborn child at any stage of development.
- When dealing with areas of uncertainty and ethical dilemmas, we should take the safest possible course to promote and preserve life.
- The Bible consistently depicts fetal life as both personal and human, therefore our responses to issues related to contraception, harvesting of embryonic stem cells, and aborticides should be governed accordingly (Psalm 139:1-24).
- We must oppose suicide and all forms of euthanasia on the grounds that God is the source of human life and authority on life’s end (Psalm 139:1-24).
- Scientific advances have raised significant ethical questions concerning the indefinite prolongation of life through medical support systems. These questions and each unique circumstance must be handled individually by the family of those suffering. In general, we believe that although Christians should sustain life where possible, we are not obligated to prolong the process of dying as God so determines.
We believe God has chosen the local church as His avenue for influencing and lighting the world with the Gospel. In order to accomplish this, believers have been given spiritual gifts that are to be used to advance the cause of Christ and expand His Kingdom. The church’s effectiveness is directly impacted by its members using or not using these God-given gifts.
We believe that God gives these special gifts to each and every believer at the time they accept Christ as Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 12:1-31). These gifts are given for the advancement, effectiveness, and efficiency of the body of Christ and not for an individual’s personal benefit. They are distributed by God according to His design and purpose and are to be embraced and used to serve others. God gives the exact ones to whom he desires, as he desires. Since they are powered by the Spirit of God and not by our human efforts, spiritual results are the outcome.
Few topics within the global church have become more divisive than the differing beliefs about what are often referred to as the supernatural sign gifts of tongues (languages), healing/miracles, and prophecy. In New Testament times, these gifts served to validate the ministry of the apostles. While Blackhawk has historically ascribed to the view that these sign gifts ceased with the end of the Apostolic Age, we also acknowledge that God can and does do the miraculous as He so chooses.
In light of this subject not being an issue related to salvation and for the sake of unity within Blackhawk Ministries:
- We fully recognize that God’s ways are not our ways. We will not allow the mysterious elements of God’s plan to cause us to attempt to limit what God does at Blackhawk.
- We will not allow any teaching or expression of the sign gifts to become disruptive within our body.
- We acknowledge gifts are for the common good of the body and therefore these gifts and the affirmation or denial of them will not be allowed to be a source of dissension within Blackhawk.
We believe that salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ results in transformed lives that shine the light of the Gospel through obedience to Him. This means that all believers are growing and maturing as they continually transform in Christlikeness. All believers are at different levels of maturity as we all grow and experience God’s transformation. Paul’s writings point to the fruit that a believer’s life will bear with the overflowing of God’s salvation and transformation (Ephesians 2:8-10).
We believe that biblical sanctification has three aspects:
- The believer is set apart positionally before God the moment he/she believes (1 Corinthians 1:23-25). This is known as “Justification” and it is binary; it is “yes/no” or “justified/not justified”, similar to the way a light switch is either on or off.
- The believer is set apart progressively in his/her daily walk as he/she grows in grace (John 17:17-19; 1 Thessalonians 4:38). This is known as “Sanctification” and it is a continuum of growth, more like a dimmer switch.
- The believer is set apart from the very presence of sin when sanctification is fully completed at the coming of Christ for His Church (John 3:5-7).
Faith in Jesus will result in the overflow of good works (James 2:14-20). We believe authentic Christianity results in not just talking about what Jesus said but walking as Jesus demonstrated for us (1 John 2:6). Spiritually, as is the case physically, believers begin as infants and grow in their maturity to become adults/parents (disciples who make disciples). As growing believers become leaders at Blackhawk, we believe our church leadership should embody the following:
- Commitment to Jesus and His Church
- Character and conduct that honors Christ
- Engagement in reading, studying, and reflecting on God’s Word
- Personal purity, self-discipline, and accountability in regards to digital media and technology
- Compassion for people
- Calling by God into leadership to support our church’s vision
STEWARDSHIP AND GENEROSITY
We believe God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual. Everything that we have and are, we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual responsibility to manage the blessings of God as a part of our trusteeship in the Gospel. The Bible outlines clearly the compelling call for followers of Jesus to serve Him with their time, talents, and treasures (material possessions), recognizing that all of these are entrusted to us for the glory of God and for helping others. According to God’s plan, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of God’s Kingdom on earth. While not giving for the purpose of receiving, believers recognize that it is impossible to out-give God.
We believe in the practice of tithing for the support of Christ’s Body, the church (the storehouse), and one’s spiritual teachers and leaders, as God’s Word outlines. This standard of stewardship and generosity is the beginning point when Jesus Christ is the driving purpose of one’s life. Generosity and offerings above and beyond will follow as one becomes more like Jesus, the ultimate Giver. We believe His purpose compels the church to be generous and known for its generosity as was the early church.Scripture References: Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-35; 20:35; Malachi 3:7-12; Mark 12:43-44; Luke 11:42; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Philippians 4:14-20; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14
THE SPIRITUAL REALM
We believe spiritual warfare is real. The Bible is filled from Genesis to Revelation with the reality that there is a real, non-physical realm in existence and that there is a war between Satan and the kingdom of God. Few will debate the reality of the battle of good vs evil in this world, therefore addressing spiritual warfare, angels, Satan, and demons from a biblical perspective is crucial for church leaders.
At Blackhawk Ministries, we believe:
- Angels, Satan and demons were originally created by God to worship him.
- Angels were created as holy, non-human beings for service according to God’s purpose and at His calling. They are not God, nor do they have the universal powerful presence and characteristics reserved for God.
- In pursuit of power outside of God’s authority, the Devil/Satan and other fallen angels/demons rebelled against God and are in direct battle against the Kingdom of God and us as His followers.
- A believer in Jesus Christ, living with the Spirit of God within them, can be influenced, tempted, and be the subject of the enemy’s offensive actions but cannot be demon-possessed.
- Those who aren’t followers of Christ do not have the presence of the Holy Spirit within them and are therefore open to demons taking up residence in their life. This is often described in scripture and life as being demon-possessed.
- Satan and his realm are subject to God’s power and the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.