Here at Hill Street Baptist Church we are part of the world wide Christian church, and therefore we share many beliefs and practices with other Christians across different denominations and countries.
For Baptists the concept of a family is important. The church is not so much a particular place or building, but rather a family of believers, committed to Christ, to one another and to the service of God in the world.
In this Baptist family everybody is equal, for everybody has a part to play in the service of God. There is no hierarchy and each takes their place according to their gifts and calling.
Each local Baptist church appoints its own leaders – or ministers – to have particular responsibility for preaching, teaching and pastoral care. Working alongside these ministers are also deacons, who together with the minister(s) form the leadership team of the local Baptist church.
Baptists are grass-roots people, with a particular emphasis on the local church. These local churches are self-governing and self-supporting, ranging in size from twenty or so members to many hundreds.
The Baptist way of being the church is living together in community; in a family, if you like.
There are many different ways of being a Christian, being Baptist is one of many. Jesus is clear that there is only one way for us to receive the eternal life so freely offered by God, and that is by trusting in Jesus Christ and the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6)
What defines Baptist identity?
The following are given by Nigel Wright as a ‘genetic code of convictions and practices that creates a Baptist identity’
The Lordship of Christ
Jesus is Lord is a distinctive confession of faith. As both individuals and as churches, we seek to make Jesus Lord of every aspect of our lives.
The Authority of the Bible
Baptists believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and it is here that we learn about Jesus Christ and how he wants us to live as his disciples.
Baptism is for those who are able to declare ‘Jesus is Lord’, we practice Baptism by immersion in which those being baptised symbolise their desire to die to self and rise to a new life and live for Christ.
A Believers’ Church
We understand the church to be a genuine expression of Christian community in which believers are gathering together in the name of Jesus for worship, witness and service. This includes corporate praise and prayer, listening to God’s word in preaching and gathering around the Lord ’s Table to share bread and wine.
The Priesthood of all believers
In Baptist churches every member has a part and a role to play. Each is given different gifts and abilities and each is encouraged to discover and use their God given gifts whether this be in teaching or evangelism, caring or serving, praying or administration. This is not an exhaustive list, we encourage each member to find out what their role is in the church.
Church membership and Church Members’ Meeting
As members we each take responsibility for the life of the church. The church meeting is the occasion when we come together to prayerfully consider God’s will for our life together. In Baptist churches the final authority lies with the members gathered together at the church meeting in which the mind of Christ is sought. It is the church meeting which for instance appoints leaders, agrees financial policy and seeks vision for mission strategy.
Baptist churches while being independent believe that churches should not live in isolation from each other. Therefore we associate at local, regional and national levels for both support and fellowship.
Sharing the Faith
Compelled by the Holy Spirt and Jesus commission we seek to be churches and people that share our faith with others. Our faith is personal to us, and something we want others to know for themselves too. We also recognise that sharing our faith includes social action, promoting justice, social welfare and all that brings peace.
Religious freedom has always been a cornerstone of Baptist thinking and practice. It is only a free faith that is true faith, and all should have the freedom to come to their own convictions.
The Declaration of Principle of the Baptist Union of whom we are a part is: