F.A.Q.s

What kind of a church is Stonebridge?
What are Stonebridge Church core values?
What should I expect when I come to worship?
What does the worship service look like, and what does it all mean?
How do Sunday attendees dress at Stonebridge?
Is there stuff for my children?
What is the denominational affiliation of Stonebridge Church?
What does it mean to be Evangelical?
What does it mean to be Reformed?
What does it mean to be Presbyterian?
What does the EPC Motto stand for?
Has your denomination taken positions on social or theological issues?
How can I join Stonebridge Church?

What kind of a church is Stonebridge?
We are an Evangelical, Reformed, Presbyterian congregation that is committed to living out and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ here in Perrysburg and metropolitan Toledo. [Back to questions]

What are the core values of Stonebridge Church?
The core values of our church can be summarized in four words: Gospel, Covenant, Worship, and Mission.

The Gospel: The Gospel is at the heart of who we are and what we are to be as God’s people. We acknowledge there to be but one truth; that is set forth in the “God-breathed” Scriptures. That truth in its most succinct form is the Gospel: that all people are in need of a Savior, that God has planned for those needs from the beginning of time itself, that Jesus Christ – who is the Savior – has come and finished the work, and that He will come again to complete the plan. The Gospel is the center of all we do. It is the reason, the inspiration, the motive, the source of all strength and encouragement. It is what the world needs and it is the gift that we are to share. We believe that all of Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments, is Gospel (“Good News”) and that its doctrines are well summarized in “The Essentials of Our Faith” and explained in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

Covenant Family and Community: God’s people are intended to live out the Gospel in the context of the family and the body of Christ. God created people; they matter to Him and to us. The Gospel sets us free from self-concern and enables us to love and serve others in faithful obedience to membership vows. We believe that God intends us to live this Gospel out in faithful covenant families and in the covenant community. The covenant community is the Church; where Christians unite in intimate, ever-deepening relationships and through which we experience the message of God’s and Christ’s covenant It is from this community and these families that we reach out with the Gospel to make disciples of all nations, and it is to this community and these families that we invite them.

Worship: Our eternal purpose is to worship the Lord and we are blessed to begin our worship even now.  The worship of God is a reflective responsive as our hearts are transformed by His grace by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we grow in grace, every moment and aspect of our lives becomes the worship of God as we glorify Him by enjoying Him. We are committed to worshiping our Lord more and more with the goal that all our thoughts, words and deeds might become sacrifices of praise to Him. We believe that we especially encounter our Triune and sovereign Lord in Called Worship, as we celebrate His person and work through prayer, the sacraments, and the reading and preaching of His infallible and inerrant Word.

Our Mission: God has left us on earth to carry the message of the Gospel to the world. We believe that there are only two things that people can do now that they cannot do in our life after death. One is to sin (as there will be no sin in God’s presence) and the other is to share the Gospel with those who don’t yet know it. We believe that God has left us here to introduce people to Jesus and to help grow them into disciples. We are committed to doing the work of the evangelism and mission both here and abroad, through prayerful support and personal sacrifice of our time, resources, and active involvement in the work of Christ in our community. [Back to questions]

What should I expect when I come to worship?
You should expect to find people who love Jesus and who joyfully come to worship Him together through prayer, singing, and the preaching. Our worship service follows a traditional Presbyterian model (see below), but with the relaxed, family atmosphere that marks out one of the best aspects of a healthy small church. [Back to questions]

How do Sunday attendees dress at Stonebridge?
When you come to worship with us you’ll find that people dress in a variety of ways. The range runs from ‘Sunday best’ to business casual to relaxed jeans and shorts. Dress however you feel comfortable. The important thing is to come and worship the Lord, not to worry about how you’re dressed! [Back to questions]

Is there stuff for my children?
Honestly, we don’t have a lot of children at this point in our history. But we love kids and would love to have more families.  We do provide Christian education for all children who do attend. We are committed to helping parents to train their kids up to love the Lord. [Back to questions]

What is the denominational affiliation of Stonebridge Church?
Stonebridge Church has been a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, often known by its initials, the EPC since we organized as a church in 1996. If you’d like to know more about the EPC.  [Back to questions]

What does it mean to be Evangelical?
The basics of being Evangelical are summed up in the Five Solas, which teach that we are saved by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone. To be evangelical means that through Jesus Christ the kingdom of God has been inaugurated, freeing people from the guilt and power of sin through personal faith and repentance. [Back to questions]

What does it mean to be Reformed?
The Reformed faith desires to be as biblical as possible in worldview, faith, and practice, to be as consistent with the Bible as possible. The Reformed faith has its roots in the Apostle Paul, the Patristic era, and in the teachings of St. Augustine. The Reformed faith was articulated during the Protestant Reformation from roughly 1517–1650.

Being Reformed means that we emphasize and teach particular doctrines, or teachings. These are:

  • God’s glory as the purpose of all creation and God’s work of redemption
  • God’s sovereignty over all things
  • The utmost importance of biblically derived worship
  • The understanding of God’s relationship with man and promises to man through covenants, also called Covenant Theology
  • The continuing importance and benefit of Church history and creeds and confessions
  • The teaching of the Doctrines of Grace (or TULIP, or Calvinism)

In summary, at the end of the day our goal isn’t “to be Reformed,” but to be Biblical. We want to be faithful to our Lord with everything in us—heart, mind, soul, and strength. For more information, see also R.C. Sproul’s online video series, “What is Reformed Theology?“ [Back to questions]

What does it mean to be Presbyterian?
The name “Presbyterian” is a reference to our form of government, or polity, which we believe is clearly found in Scripture. In essence, to be Presbyterian in government means that our churches are governed by elders (Greek: “presbyter”), which includes both lay elders (“Ruling Elders”) and pastors/ministers (“Teaching Elders”). At the local level, the body of elders is called the “Session,” [you can think of it as a Board] and has responsibility to oversee the affairs of the congregation, to provide prayerful pastoral care for the members, and to provide Biblical teaching and preaching.

A Presbyterian church also has deacons (Greek: “diakonos”, meaning servant). If the elders are responsible for the ‘spiritual’ care of the church, the deacons are responsible for its ‘physical’ care. But this is not to say that the office of deacon is not spiritual, far from it. The deacons are to lead in service, in mercy ministries, and in care and concern for the people’s needs. Between the offices of elder and deacon, God provides leadership for the church to both show the Gospel (through service) and to tell it (through teaching, preaching, and the ministry of prayer).

A Presbyterian church is “connectional,” meaning we believe our “church” is more than just our local congregation. Our “church” includes all of the congregations we are connected to in our denomination, who are responsible for us even as we are responsible for them. We hold that all of the various congregations should be united together for ministry, mission, fellowship, and mutual care and accountability. Though this is a far cry from Jesus’ prayer in John 17:1ff that all of His people and congregations in the entire world would be one, we are thankful for the reflection, limited as it is, of that unity that we find in connectionalism.

At the regional level, this connectionalism is called the “Presbytery.” The Presbytery consists of all of the churches in a given region, which are represented by all the Sessions of that region. The Presbytery is responsible for the oversight of the churches in its area, for pastoral care of pastors, for church planting, and for ordaining new pastors, among other duties. As a member of the EPC, we reside in the Midwest Presbytery, encompassing Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.

At the national level, this connectionalism is called the “General Assembly,” or “GA.” Like the Presbytery, our GA consists of all of the Presbyteries in our bounds. The GA is responsible for overseeing the ministries of the various Presbyteries, for sending missionaries at home and overseas, for assisting Presbyteries with church planting, for providing a benefits program, and a variety of other functions. The GA meets once per year.

What is the EPC motto, and what does it mean?
The Motto of the EPC is “In Essentials, Unity; In Non-Essentials, Liberty; In All Things, Charity; Truth In Love.” It comes from St. Augustine of Hippo (d. AD 430), who was the bishop of a city in what is now Algeria. Functionally, the way the motto works out in the EPC is a sort of three-tiered approach to theological issues. These may be thought of as “A,” “B,” & “C” issues.

“A” issues are those which have to do with the “Essentials of Our Faith.” This is a summary of those issues which are foundational to Christian faith. In the EPC, there is no allowance for disagreement among church officers (ministers, elders, and deacons) on these issues. Indeed, it is expected that all members will affirm these fundamental tenets of the faith. In other words, these issues are considered essential for all Christians.

“B” issues are issues over which Christians may disagree but which matter for the Church’s teaching. The EPC allows ministers, elders, and deacons to state exceptions to the Westminster Standards, so long as these exceptions do not violate the system of doctrine contained therein. In other words, these issues are considered essential for church leaders but not church members.

“C” issues are those that, while important to many of us, are not the sine qua non of denominational unity, but are things over which orthodox, Reformed Christians can disagree, and which do not violate the system of doctrine of the EPC.  In other words, these issues are considered important, but not essential to Christian unity.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of our denomination is summarized in this motto, for it reflects the spirit of the denomination—we are serious about what we believe, but not in such a way as to get upset over the smaller things. Rather, in a spirit of humility and love, we seek to be faithful to Scripture as we seek to do what Jesus calls us to do. [Back to questions]

Has your denomination taken positions on social or theological issues?
Yes. The General Assembly of the EPC has a number of position papers and pastoral letters which are intended to offer thoughtful, Biblical guidance on a variety of topics. [More]

How can I join Stonebridge Church?
Persons desiring to join Stonebridge Church can do so by informing the pastor or one of the elders of their desire to do so. We will arrange for such persons to attend an inquirers class, after which we ask that prospective members meet with the elders to share with them: a) how they came to faith in Jesus, b) how they’ve seen God at work in their lives since coming to know Him, c) how they would like to serve the Lord alongside of the rest of the congregation, and d) how the elders, deacons, and members can serve and encourage them. After meeting with the session (elders), we will have a brief ceremony during the worship service in which prospective members will be formally received into the congregation. [Back to questions]