of Alathea Baptist Church
We believe that the local church is at the center of God's agenda for this age. Therefore, it's vitally important that Christians are engaged in local church ministry. All our ministries at Alathea center around the directives given to the church in the New Testament: corporate worship (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16), corporate prayer (Acts 2:42, James 5:16), fellowship (Acts 2:42, Hebrews 10:24), evangelism (Acts 13-14, Philippians 1:7, 27), and Christian education (Matthew 28:20, Acts 20:27, 2 Timothy 2:2). We work together to fulfill the Great Commission to the glory of God!
Equipping All Believers to be Disciple Makers
Before He went to heaven, the Lord Jesus commanded every single Christian to be a disciple-maker (Matthew 28:19). At Alathea, we seek to equip all believers to obey the Great Commission as they themselves are also discipled.
The motto we've adopted is "Win One, Lead One, Follow One."
All of us are surrounded by lost souls who need a relationship with God in Jesus Christ. We ask everyone at Alathea to aim to win at least one soul for the Lord before they die. Believers are challenged to build redemptive relationships with unsaved people. We start each of our regular disciple-making Bible studies with an evangelistic prayer for a lost person in our lives. Each testimony time begins with the question, "What's the good news about the Good News?" During these times we encourage each other with how God has used us to share His love and gospel with those around us. In this way, love for the lost is kept at the forefront of our hearts and minds.
The Great Commission is not completed when a person places their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Our Lord told us to continue "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20). This is not just the job of pastors and missionaries, but the calling of every single Christian. And so, everyone at Alathea is equipped with a lifetime of Bible-based resources and time slots during the Sunday School and Prayer Meetings hours to help others grow in their faith. Every believer is equipped to do the work of the ministry in the context of organic relationships.
We cannot help others grow if we ourselves are not growing. That's why it's important to be following someone else who is following Christ. The goal is that everyone at Alathea would be mentored by someone more mature than them even as they are mentoring someone less mature than them. This is more than a discipleship program. It's one life committed to another life for life. These relationships mean that no one has to live the Christian life alone. Everyone is engaged in obeying the Lord's calling to serve others.
If you would like to know how you could become a disciple-maker at Alathea Baptist Church or if you would like to begin a Bible study with a spiritual mentor, please contact us.
Fulfilling Our Local, Regional, National, and Global Missions
At Alathea we've developed a passion not only to support missions, but to do missions. This is simply a matter of obedience. Before He ascended into Heaven, the Lord Jesus gave His followers their "marching orders" for this age.
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in Earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20)
This is the method by which Jesus fulfills His promise to build His church. We believe that planting, establishing, and replicating local churches is at the heart of biblical missions.
"I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18b)
In Acts 1:8, Christ promises the Spirit's power to fulfill this mission. He also establishes a pattern for how the gospel will expand.
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
The early disciples started in their local context – Jerusalem (Acts 1-7). They then expanded regionally and nationally by planting churches in Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-9). From there, God used them to share the gospel globally (Acts 10-28).
We see that the church in Thessalonica also followed the local, regional, national, global pattern. Not only were they faithful witnesses in their own city, but they also proclaimed God's Word in their province (Macedonia) and the adjoining province (Achaia). From there, their witness continued to spread abroad.
"For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything." (1 Thessalonians 1:8)
At Alathea, we want to faithfully proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ in all four contexts as well. For us, that means sharing the gospel and establishing churches in Des Moines (local), in Iowa (regional), in the United States (national), and internationally (global).
Developing Leaders to Pass on the Christian Truth
Churches are called to teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and all that the Lord Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:28). This includes higher theological education and pastoral studies. 2 Timothy 2:2 teaches us to pass on Christian truth to leaders who will also be able to pass it on to the next generation. We, therefore, believe that the church has a responsibility to train and equip leadership from within its own congregation through advanced theological education.
To accomplish that goal, we've developed a program called Theological Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Work. This program draws from a variety of resources and allows us to effectively train men for leadership. This approach combines quality, college-level academic learning with pastoral guidance and hands-on experience in the context of authentic local church ministry.
What makes TEAM Work different from any other kind of theological education? We have a few core distinctions that govern our approach to higher Christian education:
- We're not just a "church-housed" program that tries to duplicate seminary within the four walls of the church building. We're a truly "church-based" program that integrates all elements of the educational experience with the life and ministry of Alathea Baptist Church.
- Without undermining the importance of doctrinal knowledge, we believe that there should also be a significant emphasis put on character and giftedness. Our local church context allows us to assess a student's character, provide mentoring and pastoral counsel, and identify and develop spiritual gifts.
- Our approach to education is aimed at strengthening the whole man; his head, his heart, and his hands.
- We aim to foster ordinate affections as well as impart accurate information.
- We want to foster an atmosphere of learning that encourages lifelong education and wisdom over mere knowledge.
- Our courses are affordable, with students paying only for the cost of materials.
Reach out for more information about our TEAM program.
Family Camp Relationship-Building and Spiritual Renewal
Family Camp is one of the highlights of the year for the Alathea church family. This day camp, held on the church property, is not only a time of great fun but of relationship-building and spiritual renewal. Attendees of all ages will enjoy the wide range of activities as we all fellowship together. Enjoy obstacle courses, yard games, volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, singing choruses around the campfire, eating great food, and fellowshipping with other believers. Family Camp is also a time of spiritual growth as we hear messages from guest preachers, watch object lessons, engage in "two-family prayer", and participate in Bible quizzing.
As the name implies, Family Camp provides a great time for both individual families and the church family to come together. Attendees of all ages interact together from the start of camp on Wednesday evening to its conclusion on Sunday afternoon. It's a great opportunity to get to know other Christians.
Held at the beginning of each August, Family Camp is a refreshing and encouraging event for the whole family!
Encouraging Children to Engage in Worship
Is there anything for my kids to do? This is a question commonly asked by visitors to Alathea Baptist Church. The short answer to that question is: Yes, there absolutely is something for your children at Alathea! However, because we emphasize relationships over programs, it might look a little different than you're used to. We firmly believe that God has given parents, not the church, the primary responsibility for discipling their children. Therefore, the majority of our efforts to reach children is centered on equipping parents to effectively fulfill their God-given role.
During the Sunday school hour, there are optional classes for elementary age students. Parents are welcomed to send their children to these classes where they will be taught engaging, Bible-based lessons by our volunteers. Parents also have the option of keeping their children with them in our age-integrated Sunday school class. There they will be exposed to the wisdom and insights of older Christians as they witness them study God's Word. Either way is fine. It's up to you.
We do encourage parents to bring their children into the regular worship services. This exposes children to godly worship and sound teaching. They get to see their parents and older Christians model worship and learning. It also trains children to view church as an opportunity to give rather than receive. Matthew 19:14 says, "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Like our Lord, we do not want to keep children from being a part of worship and learning. It's a beautiful experience to see our young people engaged in corporate worship.
But what if my kid makes noise? Don't worry about it! No one is judging you. People at Alathea are used to having children in the service and are just glad to have you and your family present. If it gets too bad, feel free to take your child to a different room, but always feel welcome to bring your child back in whenever you're ready.
Children have a lot of fun at Alathea. Our monthly Game Night and annual Family Camp provide a lot of fun experiences for your children. We believe in doing things as a family, so you will get to have fun with your kids too! Rather than separating parents and children, our approach to church encourages families to learn, grow, worship, and play together.
We're passionate about spreading God's truth to the next generation. We strive to empower parents to pass on a love for God to their children while connecting younger people to previous generations. If this is something you could get excited about too, we encourage you to visit Alathea and see what it's like for yourself.
Involving Teens to do the Work of the Ministry
Is there anything for my teens to do? Yes! There's a lot for teenagers to do at Alathea! But it may look a little different than you're used to. We have no youth group, no pizza parties, no lock-ins. But we do have plenty of youth being trained to embrace their Christian faith and serve God in authentic local church ministry.
We believe that teenagers should be treated like full-fledged Christian adults. So our teens are involved in the normal ministries and activities of church life. They lead songs, do special music, share the gospel, participate in Sunday school, and participate in fellowship with believers of all ages. Some are even trained to preach and teach. And yes, we also have a great deal of fun together as a church family. People of all ages can regularly be seen playing games and having fun together throughout the church property.
Any teenager who wants to can be paired up with a more mature Christian. Together they will go through discipleship resources with the goal that one day your teen will be able to lead someone less mature than them. These teens are also encouraged and equipped to share their faith and make disciples.
We firmly believe that parents can have a good, open, blessed relationship with their teenage children. Everything we do is designed to promote that – from training parents to fulfill their role to challenging teens to honor their parents. We never want the church to come between you and your teen. When your family comes to Alathea, they will do church as a family; growing closer to each other as they grow closer to Christ.
Spirit-indwelt teens are capable of accomplishing more for Christ than eating pizza and playing dodgeball. At Alathea, we strive to equip all the saints – young and old – to do the work of the ministry. If that's something you could get excited about, please come visit Alathea and see what it's like for yourself.