Being American Baptist

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCH?Henderson Memorial Baptist Church's mission is to be the hands and feet of Christ

HMBC is covenant partner of the American Baptist Churches USA, through the West Association of American Baptist Churches of Maine (ABCOM). American Baptists are both evangelical and ecumenical, partnering with other American Baptists and with churches of many denominations.

Unlike most denomination ABCUSA is not a top-down structure, but considers the local church to be the primary unit of mission. American Baptists covenant together for the purpose of “advancing the cause of our divine Redeemer.” American Baptists do not have an official creed or statement of beliefs; the entire Bible is our creed. American Baptists honor the autonomy of every local church to determine the meaning of God’s word in the Bible as they practice their faith. American Baptists express a wide range of theological opinions and still choose to remain in covenant relationship together for the sake of Christ, who is the head of the Church.

American Baptists believe that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. Members are welcomed through believer’s baptism (usually by immersion), by transfer of membership, or statement of faith. We believe that each one who receives Jesus as Lord and Savior experiences a “regenerate heart” and is filled with the Holy Spirit – the gifts and power to fulfill God’s will and purpose. American Baptists are committed to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ from here to the ends of the earth.

Historically, the choice to baptize only believers (not infants) resulted in Baptists being persecuted; this, in turn, led early Baptists to advocate for “soul liberty” and the separation of Church and State. American Baptists continue to uphold these values, whenever they come under attack by those who would impose their own beliefs on others.

American Baptists believe in the priesthood of all believers. Each church governs itself by vote of the congregational, after prayer and discernment to understand God’s will. We believe the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God and our sole authority for faith and practice.

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm,
to give you a future with hope. – Jeremiah 29:11