First Baptist Church

Questions and Answers

What are some common questions asked about our American Baptist Denomination?

Q:Where do American Baptists fall with regards to some of the hot social issues in today’s world?
Answer: American Baptists, in general, are more moderate in their thinking when it comes to today’s social issues. This is perhaps because our denomination welcomes and celebrates diversity of thought and experience.
Q:Would I have to be re-baptized if I joined an American Baptist church?
Answer: American Baptists recognize the baptism of people coming from other denominations. You would not have to be re-baptized unless you would want to.
Q:Would a gay person be welcomed in an American Baptist congregation?
Answer: Yes, all persons regardless of their life style, color, or culture are welcome to worship and participate in an American Baptist congregation. Although welcomed to participate in an American Baptist congregation, gay persons would not be allowed to marry in our denomination, for we believe that marriage is a covenant reserved for a man and a woman. Our biblical understanding also would prevent a gay person from being ordained as a minister in our denomination.
Q:Are there women ministers in the American Baptist denomination?
Answer: Yes. Women currently serve about 25% of all American Baptist congregations in the USA. In our state of Wisconsin, women pastors currently serve about 40% of our American Baptist congregations.
Q:Is communion given to all who attend worship in an American Baptist congregation, or is communion reserved just for those who are members?
Answer: American Baptists serve communion to whoever would desire it. You do not need to be a member of the church to receive communion when it is served. Most American Baptist churches serve communion once a month in worship.Q:How much education does an American Baptist past have?

Answer:All American Baptist pastors have a 4 year college degree and a 3 or 4 year Masters Degree in Theology or Ministry. The seminary training that American Baptist pastors receive prepares them for the full range of experiences that they will face in full time ministry.

Q:What is the experience of worship like in an American Baptist congregation?

Answer: In general American Baptists are informal in worship. Clergy do not wear robes or vestments. In most congregations worship music is a blend of traditional songs and contemporary songs. Many congregations use power point projections to display the words to the songs sung in worship. Video clips, and worship praise teams to lead congregational singing are also common in many American Baptist congregations. American Baptists are intentional in making sure that worship has plenty of time for prayer and when the pastor preaches, you can be sure that the sermon will be Christ and Biblical centered. In many American Baptist churches members of the congregation assist the pastor in leading the worship service.

Q:Does the American Baptist denomination have Bishops?

Answer: No. Each local congregation is autonomous in its system of governance. Having no hierarchy of power, local Baptist congregations make their own decisions about ministry, mission, and who they will hire as their pastor.

Q:Do American Baptist congregations talk much about money?

Answer: No American Baptist in general tend to be fairly committed to following Christ. Because commitment and discipleship is stressed in worship, American Baptists on the whole are fairly generous givers. Given this reality usually there is no real need to talk much about money, especially in worship.

Q:In a local American Baptist congregation, who generally runs the church?

Answer: Each local Baptist church is governed by a collaborative partnership that exists between the pastor and the Church Board.

Q:Is the American Baptist denomination growing?

Answer: Yes. The American Baptist denomination is one of a few mainline protestant denominations growing in membership in our country.

Q:Do I have to dress up for worship in an American Baptist church?

Answer: No. Although some members do dress up for worship, most members wear casual clothes to the worship service.

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