Our distinctives
FBC Elsberry is both similar and dissimilar to a number of churches. Below are the distinctives that make us who we are.


The Gospel should be central to every Christian church. But being Gospel-centered means more than just sharing the Gospel (e.g. being evangelistic) or speaking about it and being thankful for it as God's means of saving us. In the same way that a self-centered person manages to bring everything back to themselves, Gospel-centeredness brings everything back to the Gospel, and not just for non-Christians. To be Gospel-centered means to find our purpose, worth, and identity in the finished work of Jesus and to see all of life as a process of repentance and faith in the perfect and finished work of Jesus on our behalf BOTH to reconcile us to God and help us grow in Christ-likeness.


One of the most significant events in Western history is the Protestant Reformation that officially began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of the Wittenburg Chapel for public discourse on October 31, 1517. That act led to an eventual break from the Church of Rome concerning the issue of justification or how one is made right with God. The rally cry of the reformation became known as the Five Solas (Latin for "only"). We are saved (justified) by GRACE alone through FAITH alone in CHRIST alone for the GLORY OF GOD alone according to SCRIPTURE alone. Another emphasis of the reformation though is the sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners or what is also known as the Doctrines of Grace. These state that we are completely dead in sin (by nature), that God doesn't save us because of anything in us, that Jesus completely purchased salvation for his people, that God effectually calls his people to new life, and that Jesus saves to the end those who are his.


Many churches are what we would call "attractional" or "come and see." And that is certainly a part of our culture. People are not unaccustomed to "going to church." But as the number of un-churched, never-churched, and even "nones" increases, "come and see" doesn't have near the appeal it once did. Our culture, more and more, looks like a mission field where the Gospel is being introduced to many for the first time. Therefore, to be missional is to live like missionaries in the zip code we live in. It's thinking about how we can enter the lives and rhythms of people in our community to take Jesus to them rather than simply focusing on inviting people into the life and rhythms of the church.


There are a multitude of models concerning the leadership and governance of churches. One consistent element seen throughout the book of Acts and the letters of the New Testament however is the shared oversight of each local congregation by a group of character-qualified men called "elders." These men can also be called pastors, though most of them will work other jobs and not be financially compensated by the church. Nonetheless, they share the responsibility of making sure God's Word is rightly taught, that disciples are being made, that church members are being cared for and growing, and that all the ministries of the church are being carried out faithfully and honorably. Rather than "calling all the shots," this group of men lead the church spiritually as "under-shepherds" of the Lord Jesus.


The Bible tells us in the very beginning (Genesis 1:27) that God created man in his own image. It then says "male and female he created them." That means that men and women are both made in the image of God and have equal dignity, worth, and value. But equal doesn't mean the same. God created men and women with obvious differences in anatomy and physiology. He also created them with different callings. And we believe that these differences rather than be diminished or ignored should be recognized and celebrated as men and women living out their uniquely masculine and feminine callings in the home and in the church are intended to complement one another to the glory of God.

High view of church membership

In many churches, membership is nothing more than a name on a piece of paper. And even though official church membership isn't specifically mentioned in the New Testament, the relationships that meaningful church membership isn't supposed to define are present. Membership in a local church implies a covenant relationship between church members involving accountability and care. It also defines, according to Hebrews 13:17, who is caring for one's soul and what souls the pastors of a particular church are going to give an account before God for. Therefore, being a member of a church is important and carrying out the relationships that church membership defines is important as well. And that can't happen if one is simply a name on a paper.

For a more detailed explanation of our beliefs or to learn how our church functions, check out: