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First Baptist Denison will become like a life-giving forest of believers, planted by the living water and deeply rooted in God's love.

We will stand strong, constantly growing upward and outward, branching out in four directions: repentance, freedom, communion, and mission.

We will grow to be a mighty forest, providing life and shelter to our community and seeding new groves of gospel life all over our region and the world.

"Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness' and to brotherly kindness, love." 2 Peter 1:5-7

In a harsh world that breaks families, crushes hopes, and robs joy, our fellowship will be an oasis of life where families are restored, hope is renewed, and people find joy and encouragement through Jesus.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3)

Are you thirsty for truth? For joy? For life? Jesus says, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)

We won’t settle for easily consumable religion that sits on the surface of our lives. We want to know God intimately and personally through Jesus, so we plunge our roots deep into the soil of God’s Word, and we do it together.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

There are a lot of voices claiming truth in the world. We will stand strong together for the truth revealed in the gospel. Life’s storms are strong enough to topple most trees, but we will remain rooted in each other and in Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14-15)

Trees grow both taller and wider; the strength of their roots and trunk support their branches and leaves. In the same way, we will grow in both our reach and in our maturity.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

A healthy tree branches out in all directions. If a tree becomes imbalanced, it’s more likely to fall. We set intentional spiritual goals, so that we are sure to be balanced in how we grow.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8) 

Repentance is a change of mind that leads to change in your life. As we learn, we constantly renew our thoughts to the mind of Christ, turning from our old pattern of life to new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;” (2 Peter 1:5)

Often we fail to do what we know is right. Freedom is the God-given power to do what we know is right and to become who God is creating us to be. Through self-control and perseverance, Jesus sets us free to live this new life.

and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;” (2 Peter 1:6)

Through communion with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our hearts become more like God’s heart. We increase in intimacy with God and in love for our church family.

and to godliness, brotherly kindness;” (2 Peter 1:7)

As our hearts are aligned with God’s heart, his missional love pushes us into the world to share the good news of Jesus, to work for justice and mercy, and to bring God’s kingdom into the world for his glory.

… and to brotherly kindness, love.” (2 Peter 1:7)

We will be a safe place where people can discover the love of God, finding acceptance just as they are, as well as a path to a better life in Christ Jesus.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8)

Life gives birth to new life. Forests seed new forests. We will bear fruit, resulting in new believers, new groups, new churches, and partnerships with God’s mission all over the world.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)

Key belief

Jesus always offers a better life than the one you are living right now, better than any life you could build for yourself, better than any life apart from him.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) 

Key attitude

In order to move from your current life to the life Jesus offers, you have to admit that God knows better than you and has the right to direct your life.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

Repentance Skill

New life in Jesus comes through community with other believers, engaging in a new pattern of life. The rhythms of our church life are reading the Bible daily, participating in a small group (BFG), worshiping together on Sundays, and having a regular place of service in the church.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Repentance Skill

We turn away from a self-serving mindset and look for ways to seek the good of others and of God.

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Repentance Skill

I learn that it’s OK if I don’t get my way. I learn to put the will of God and the good of others before my desires. I learn that if what I feel and what God commands are in conflict, it is good and desirable to obey God.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Key belief

God has promised to make us like Jesus. It’s not an easy process. We expect to change, we expect to grow, and when things get hard, we realize that God uses the tough times in life to grow us to look like Jesus.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)

Key attitude

The journey to freedom isn’t easy. Jesus went to the cross for it, and we must struggle, too. We develop the attitude that whatever happens, we trust Jesus and keep moving forward.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)

Freedom Skill

We learn spiritual disciplines (Bible-reading, prayer, meditation, fasting, celebration, etc.) that help open us up to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Philippians 3:17)

Freedom Skill

Many of us are held back by sinful habits, addictions, and wounds from the past. We can learn to live in the victory Jesus has won over the power of sin and hurts in our lives.

Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2) 

Freedom Skill

We will learn to pray persistently and with power, exercising our privilege as sons and daughters of God to carry out God’s will in the world. Our prayers will grow in intimacy, in consistency, and in power.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 6:16)

Key belief

The basis of our intimacy with God is knowing is great love for us—love so great that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Believing God’s great love for us allows us to love others from a full heart, rather than a needy one.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1) 

Key attitude

Because God provides all that we need, we are free to share with others as they have need, whether we are sharing love, time, or material resources.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:32-34)

Communion Skill

Learn to be honest with God about your sin, your doubts, your struggles, and your hopes and joys. Know that God knows you and loves you. Let others know you and love you, allowing God’s power into your life through the love of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Communion Skill

Hospitality is the skill of letting people in, sharing your life and your resources to welcome and shelter others.

Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13)

Communion Skill

From national politics to work, family, and other relationships, there’s a lot of anger, mistrust, and division. God has given his people, the church, the work of reconciliation. If we are to be like Jesus, we will be peacemakers.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Key belief

Jesus redeemed his church for a purpose. Jesus calls all of us, as individuals and as a church body, to carry out the mission he began in this world.

As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21) 

Key attitude

Jesus looked at the crowds—who didn’t understand or believe, who made unreasonable demands, who were rude and sinful—and he had compassion on them. We seek the Lord for a heart of compassion for the lost and the hurting people of this world.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

Mission Skill

Every believer should be equipped to share the Gospel with someone who does not yet believe.

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Mission Skill

Disciple-making is about teaching others what you know: teaching the gospel, how to follow Jesus, how to serve in the church, how to lead your family—anything of value you can teach someone else to do or become.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Mission Skill

In order to grasp the new life Jesus offers and fulfill his calling on our lives, we must learn to step out from what’s comfortable and into the unknown, trusting Jesus with what comes next.

We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)