1. What denomination is ORBC affiliated with?
Oak Ridge Baptist Church (ORBC) cooperates with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and therefore associates with the Eastern Baptist Association (EBA) and the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D). Our "associations" are primarily for the purpose of supporting missions in North America and around the world.
Note: For more information on ORBC's mission and purposes, we conduct a regular class known as CLASS 101.
2. What does ORBC believe?
ORBC is an evangelical congregation that holds to the authority of the Bible. In a nutshell this means, if the Bible says it, we believe it. Click HERE to see a synopsis of our BASIC BELIEFS.
As a Southern Baptist church, ORBC also accepts the doctrinal statements of "The Baptist Faith and Message".
3. How do I become a member of ORBC?
At ORBC we take membership seriously. We believe that making a commitment to join a church is an important decision. We want each person considering membership to have all the facts before making that vital commitment. Therefore we teach a class entitled CLASS 101 - Introduction to Membership, designed to give you the information you need to know about ORBC before becoming a member.
CLASS 101 is the first step for anyone interested in joining ORBC. There you will learn about...
- What it means to become a Christian
- What we believe about Baptism
- What are the purposes of the church
- How is ORBC structured
- What is expected of members
4. How do I become a Christian?
Becoming a Christian is about establishing a relationship with the God who created you.
THE PROBLEM - SIN
The Bible tells us that what keeps us from this relationship is our sinful nature - the desire to be the god of my own life. Our sinful nature causes us to carry out sinful behavior that further separates us from God's love. The Bible says that only good, perfect, and holy people can go to a good, perfect, and holy heaven and live with a good, perfect, and holy God for eternity. That's a problem, because none of us are good, perfect, and holy.
THE SOLUTION - JESUS
God knew we could never live a perfect life and be able to get to heaven on our own. But God loves us so much He couldn't bear to live without us, in fact He'd rather die for us - and so He did! When Jesus Christ came to this earth and died on the cross, it was a death exchange. He died so we wouldn't have to. He gave His life through His death so that we could have His eternal life. Pretty cool, huh?
THE RESPONSE - FAITH
The Bible says that Christ died for all. So then is everyone going to heaven??? No, there is another step required. Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross but it doesn't become yours until you RECEIVE it.
How do I receive God's gift of eternal life?
ADMIT and ACCEPT.
I must admit to God that I have sinned and I am part of the reason Christ had to go to the cross. It was MY sin that nailed Him there. It was HIS love that kept Him there.
Tell God that you are ready to surrender fully to Him and turn your life over to His care. Accept His forgiveness and begin the wonderful journey of the Christian life.
Check out these WEB Sites for more info:
5. Why do you use so many different Bible translations?
The Bible was written in GREEK and HEBREW and therefore we need it to be translated into English in order to understand its message (unless of course you can read GREEK and HEBREW).
Experts have worked hard to provide the very best translation into other languages so everyone could enjoy the life-changing message of the Bible. Over the last 2,000 years there have been LOTS of advances that have aided them in accurately and clearly translating the Bible. Advances like:
- Archeological discoveries of Bible texts
- Advances in the understanding of the peoples and places of the Bible
- Advances in the understanding of biblical GREEK and HEBREW
In addition, the English language is also constantly evolving and changing. Words and phrases often change meanings or even sometimes fade out of use.
Since the ultimate goal is to CLEARLY and ACCURATELY communicate God's word, we use a variety of excellent translations that help to get the message across to everyone especially those who may not be experts in the Bible.
We believe that people respond better to what they understand better.
For a very technical discussion on this topic - CLICK HERE
6. What do all the abbreviations mean in your sermon notes?
Although there are some 500 different English translations, these are some of the most common used at ORBC:
|CEV||Contemporary English Version|
|GNT||Good News Translation (same as TEV)|
|NIV||New International Version|
|KJV||King James Version|
|NASB||New American Standard Bible|
|TLB||The Living Bible|
|NCV||New Century Version|
|NJB||New Jerusalem Bible|
|NLT||New Living Translation|
|HCSB||Holman Christian Standard Bible|
|TEV||Today's English Version|
|NET||New English Translation|
7. Why doesn't ORBC have an "altar call?"
When I first came to ORBC in 1999 I had regular altar calls after each service. Perhaps more out of tradition than anything else. Some did "come forward" and a few even made decisions for Christ right there. More often than not however, I found that many were making decisions in their seats but had no idea what to do next. These were people who had not come from a church environment that used "altar calls." Many of them had absolutely no idea what the end of service "invitation" was all about.
Since we are more interested in being effective than conventional, we started experimenting with using the Connect Cards for people to respond. We found that on average, TEN TIMES more people were responding on the cards and through follow up we were able to multiply life change and ministry exponentially!
Since this method of personal response is so effective it's become a permanent part of the ORBC culture.
8. Why doesn't ORBC sing traditional hymns?
This question is most often asked by those who grew up in church and hold fond memories of the great hymns of the faith. Since ORBC is a missional church that seeks first and foremost to connect with those who do not yet know Christ, we have chosen to use a musical style that best relates to the contemporary culture. People who are not yet believers and who are not currently attending church do not normally hold a special place in their hearts for the older hymns.
We chose contemporary music for worship on Sunday mornings for three reasons:
- COMMUNICATION - Music is one of the most powerful mediums of communication in our world. A song can often pierce even the hardest heart when the listener actually enjoys the style.
- CONSISTENCY - there is no ONE style of music that everyone likes. We decided to use the style of music that best appeals to the majority of seekers who are considering Christianity.
- CONTENT - There's no such thing as sacred music. What makes music "Christian?" It's not the style or even the instruments used. It's the lyrics. Since it's the message that's so important, we decided to use a style that best sends that message to the people who need it the most.
We consider it an act of spiritual maturity on the part of believers to compromise in the area of music to allow for a style that you may not prefer when you see it's impact on those for whom Christ died.
9. Does ORBC have Sunday School?
Actually ORBC used to have Sunday School for all ages until 2005. We found that our adult Sunday School was unable to keep up with the pattern of growth we were experiencing. As we searched for creative changes to the adult Sunday School program, it became evident that home-based small groups were a much better solution for our assimilation and discipleship strategy. In fact, the more we compared adult Sunday School and our existing small groups, the easier it became to make the transition to being a small groups church. Several factors led to this switch:
- Small groups tend to be a more intimate environment for spiritual discussion and building relationships. Sunday School tends to be a more sterile environment (classroom).
- Small groups are infinitely expandable. No need to keep building more costly classrooms that sit unused much of the time. As people are added to the church family, we simply open up a new host home.
- Small groups are less time-constrained than Sunday School. No need to rush between services and Sunday School in a small group. Small groups meet for two hours as opposed to the "Sunday School hour" which always tended to be more like 45 minutes.
- Sunday School is based on a lecture-learner environment that depends on a Master Teacher model. Because of this, nearly every Sunday School church spends an enormous amount of time and energy attempting to acquire these extremely scarce and hard to find teachers. Small groups are based on interactive discussion which only needs a host and facilitator. The facilitator is not expected nor intended to be an expert, but simply a moderator. The "Master Teacher" is pre-packaged either on video or in the group curriculum. Bottom line: It's FAR easier to start a new small group than it is to start a new Sunday School class.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Sunday School has morphed from its original inception. Sunday School originated in the late 18th century as an evangelistic tool to reach street kids with the gospel by teaching them the Bible and practical tips for life in a fun environment. (Guess what? That's exactly what our Family Ministry programs do!)