Southwest Bible Church exists to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ among all peoples.
We are a family who loves Jesus, His Word, the Church and the people of this community. We embrace our calling to be ambassadors for Christ by living as the pastors of our block who take responsibility for the spiritual, emotional, relational and physical needs of the people who live and work around us. We love the eclectic nature of the people who live here in Southwest Austin. We enjoy the wide variety of ways the people of Southwest Austin pursue life. We also recognize that in the midst of our diversity, we are all ultimately seeking the same thing - a heart that is satisfied and whole, which can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is why we are here. Our desire is to bless people by connecting them to Jesus and allowing them to experience the joyous adventure of pursuing His best for their lives.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
(II Tim. 3:16, II Pet. 1:21, I Cor. 2:13, John 17:17)
We believe that the books of the Old and New Testament, comprising the Holy Bible, are the inspired Word of God. We believe that the Holy Spirit supervised the writers of the Scriptures in what they wrote so that, using their own peculiar personalities, the very words recorded in the original manuscripts are the inerrant revelation of God. We believe the Bible not only contains the Word of God but actually is God’s Word and, therefore, is the complete and final authority for belief and behavior. We believe that this inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of Scripture: historically, poetically, doctrinally and prophetically.
(Mark 12:29, John 4:24, Matt. 3:16-17, Matt. 28:19, II Cor. 13:14)
We believe that there is one and only one true and living God, an infinite Spirit who is the Maker and Supreme Ruler of the universe. We believe the Scriptures reveal Him to be holy, sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, immutable and full of love, justice, goodness, mercy and truth. Although there is only one God, we believe that in the unity of the Godhead there are three eternal and coequal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe these members of the Trinity are the same in substance, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, but are distinct in subsistence, executing different but harmonious functions.
(John 1:18, 8:58, Matt. 1:23, Col. 1:15-17, I Tim. 1:15, 3:16)
We believe that Jesus Christ is the pre-existent and eternal Son of God who became man in order to reveal God and redeem man. We believe He was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. In His person, we believe the Lord Jesus combined forever full and undiminished deity with true and perfect humanity to become the God-man. We believe Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinful man, was buried, arose bodily from the tomb, ascended into Heaven where He ministers on the behalf of saints, and someday will come again for His own.
(Acts 5:3-4, II Thes. 2:3-9, John 16:7-11, Matt. 5:45, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 1:13, I Cor. 6:19, 12:13, Eph. 3:20, I Cor. 14, James 5:14, Eph. 5:18, Rom. 8:16, 14, John 16:13, 7)
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, fully equal with God the Father and God the Son. Although He is of the exact same essence, we believe He is a personality distinct from the other members of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit, we believe, has an active ministry to the world in general which includes the restraining of evil, convicting of the unsaved and bestowing of God’s goodness on all mankind. We also believe He has a ministry to every Christian which consists of regenerating, sealing, indwelling, baptizing into the Body of Christ, and the giving of spiritual gifts; as well as filling, assuring, teaching, guiding and comforting believers.
(Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:6, II Pet. 2:11, Isa. 14:12-15, I Pet. 5:8, Eph 6:12, Heb. 1:14)
We believe that God created an order of spirit beings known as angels before the formation of the world for the purpose of worshipping and serving Him. We believe angels possess individual personalities and are intelligent, powerful, and inferior to God but superior to man. Lucifer, we believe, was one of the highest in rank of all the angelic beings in eternity past, but he sinned through pride and rebelled against God, thereby becoming Satan. We believe the Devil’s proclaimed purpose is to oppose the plan of God and to promote his own evil program by deceiving and attacking men. In carrying out his work, we believe Satan is aided by other fallen angels known as demons or evil spirits. We believe these demons can influence, tempt, and control all men and even “possess” unbelievers. We believe there are unfallen angels, known as elect or holy angels, who carry out the will of God by ministering to men.
(Gen. 1:26-27, 3:24, Rom. 5:12, Eph. 2:1-3)
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God in a state of innocence. Through deliberate disobedience, we believe man fell from his sinless state and as a consequence lost his fellowship with God and became subject to spiritual and physical death. We believe that through Adam’s transgressions the entire human race has inherited a corrupt nature which is essentially evil and unable to please God
(Rom. 3:10, 23, 6:23, Eph. 4:18, I John 1:8-10, Gal. 5:16-17)
We believe that sin is anything contrary to the character of God. Every man, we believe, is alienated from God because of his depraved nature as well as personal acts of sin. We believe that each person born into the world is separated from God and completely incapable of meriting salvation and avoiding the judgement of God. The sin nature, we believe, is never eradicated, even for those who are born into the family of God, but it remains until the end of life. However, we believe God has made provision for forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ and victory over sin through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
(I Pet. 1:18-19, II Cor. 5:21, I Pet. 2:24, Eph 2:8-9, Tit. 3:5, Eph. 4:32, Rom. 5:1, Rom. 8:38-39)
We believe that salvation from the penalty and power of sin is provided only through the blood of Jesus Christ which He shed on the cross when He was made sin for us and died in our place. There is nothing man can do, we believe, to attain this salvation through good works, moral achievement or religious status. We believe the one and only condition for salvation is personal faith in Jesus Christ as one’s own substitute for and Savior from sin. At the time of salvation, we believe a person is spiritually regenerated, his sins are forgiven, God’s righteousness is imputed to him, and he is declared righteous in the sight of God. This salvation, we believe, is complete and a present possession of all believers which remains theirs forever. All who have trusted Christ as Savior are kept secure and will never lose their salvation.
(I Cor. 12:13, Acts 2:1-4, I Thes. 4:13-17, Col. 4:16, Eph. 4:7, Heb. 13:17, Matt. 28:19-20, I Cor. 11:23-28)
We believe that the Church is a unique organism composed of individuals who have placed their faith in Christ as Savior. The Church began, we believe, on the day of Pentecost and will continue its distinct purpose until the Rapture. We believe that the Church exists in both a universal aspect, as the Body of Christ, and in a local assembly of believers. The local church, we believe, has the twofold purpose of the edification of believers and the evangelization of the lost. The two ordinances of the church are water baptism, which we practice by immersion, and the Lord’s Supper, which we believe to be a memorial of Christ’s death and is open to all believers.
(I Cor. 10:32, Eph. 1:10, 3:2, Gal. 4:2, Luke 12:42, Heb. 12:22-23)
We believe that God administers His purpose in the world through man under varying dispensations or stewardships, such as the period of Mosaic law, the present age of grace, and the future millennial kingdom. We believe that these dispensations span the entire history of mankind but that dispensations are not different ways of salvation. Rather, they are ways of life which test the obedience of man to God’s revealed will during a particular time. We believe that it is necessary to observe the dispensational distinction in order to properly understand the teaching of the Scriptures.
(John 14:3, Heb. 10:37, II Cor. 5:10, Matt. 24:21-31, Rev. 20-22)
We believe that the next event in God’s prophetic calendar is the Rapture of the Church when living and dead Christians will be caught up to meet the Lord and receive rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Following the Rapture, we believe a seven-year period of Tribulation will commence upon the earth at which time God’s wrath will be poured out on mankind. We believe God’s millennial kingdom will be ushered in by Jesus Christ when He returns to the earth in power and glory to rule sovereignly over the world for a thousand years. The unsaved dead of all ages, we believe, will be raised after the millennium to face the judgment of the Great White Throne and will be cast into the lake of fire where there will be eternal punishment. We believe the redeemed of all ages will exist in an eternal state of joy and bliss in the new heavens and new earth where they will worship and serve God forever.
*Strict agreement with these doctrines is not required for membership at HCBCSW; however, we affirm these beliefs as taught in Scripture and have established them as the official positions of our Church.
WHAT TO EXPECT
On Sunday Morning
The worship service lasts for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes. It usually begins with music and a time to greet one another. The service will continue with a few announcements about upcoming events. The message is from the Bible and is intended to help us understand more about what it means to follow God, who He is, and who we are. Following the message there is a continued time of response in worship that includes singing, a time of giving, and a time of prayer.
What to Wear: Wear whatever you feel comfortable in, there's no need to dress up.
What to Bring: Yourself and a Bible if you have one. Complementary Bibles are available as our gift to you.
When to Arrive: Our service times are 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM. You may want to arrive a little early to have time to grab a cup of coffee before heading to the worship center, and if you are bringing children please plan to arrive about 10 minutes early to get them checked into our Children’s Ministry.
Children's Check-In: Sunday morning services are equipped and ready to receive children of all ages with the following class/age divisions:
Nursery - 3rd Grade: Both the 9:00 & 10:30 am Services
4th and 5th grade: 10:30 am Service Only*
*4th and 5th grade children are encouraged to attend the 9:00 AM worship service
Children’s Ministry Check-In Stations are located near the Nursery area and at the entrance to the Pre-K - 5th grade Children's Ministry area. Please stop by one of these stations to sign your children in, get directions to the appropriate classrooms, and to get any other help you might need for your child's visit. For more information please review our Children's Ministry section or contact our Family Pastor, Scott Rhodes.
Student Ministries: Middle School students are encouraged to attend 9:00 worship service and the 10:30 Middle School Class. High School students are encouraged to serve one hour and attend worship the other. During the school year, the High School students meet on Sunday afternoon/evenings at various locations. Both Middle School and High School students meet together on Wednesday evenings 6:45 PM at our Ministry House. For more information please view our Student Ministry section and/or contact our Student Pastor, Paul Emerson.
Beyond Sunday Morning
We desire to live out our faith every day. To further encourage each other beyond our time together on Sundays, we have many other opportunities to connect with each other and explore what it means to follow Jesus Christ. To find out more about these opportunities, please visit our Community page.
What does it mean to be a member of a church?
A member of our church is someone who makes an enduring commitment to join our body of believers in coming under the authority of Jesus Christ, living in obedience to the Bible, serving the church body, submitting to God’s ordained authority structure and supporting the work of the church. A member of our church is someone who makes a commitment to engage with and stay in our church family in order to help those in it grow in godliness and to let the church help them do the same. It is someone who has recognized that God has called them to move past being a consumer of the ministries of the church to being a partner in extending the grace, truth and love of Jesus to others.
What is the Biblical basis for church membership?
Formal, committed relationships of accountability, or membership, were practiced in every New Testament local church. Every church in the New Testament had leaders (Elders, Pastors, Overseers, Shepherds, Bishops) who were held accountable by God for the spiritual care of the specific Christians in their churches. The Christians were held accountable to God for their submission to their specific leaders (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, 1 Timothy 5:17).
The instructions for pastoral oversight and spiritual leadership were to care for “all the flock” (Acts 20:28-31, 1 Timothy 3, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1). Since church leaders are accountable for the souls of the flock under their care (Hebrews 13:17), and specifically for “those in your charge” (1 Peter 5:3), church leaders need to know who is a member of their flock and who specifically is in their charge.
One of the evidences that someone is in fact a Christian is that they will love and serve the Bride of Christ, the Church. For most Christians, this means that they are serving a particular local church in a committed and sacrificial way (John 13:2-16 & 35, Acts 2:42-47, Romans 12:1-13, Ephesians 4:11-16, Philippians 2:1-11, 1 Peter 4:10).
How do I become a member?
If you are interested in becoming a member of SWBC and joining with other committed believers, there are three steps to church membership:
1. Attend an Explore the Church Class. This class is offered one Sunday every other month, at 10:30 a.m. in the teacher’s lounge at Boone. Explore the Church is an opportunity for you to learn more about our purpose, our mission and our organizational structure. Please check the Upcoming Events or contact the church office for the date of the next class.
2. Connect with a Small Group. Visit our Small Groups section for more information on how to get connected with a small group.
3. Complete the Membership Form. Please complete and submit the Online Membership Form. A link to supporting membership documents is included below the form. After your form is submitted, your small group shepherd will contact you to finalize your membership process.
Jesus’ priority for the church is that it should be close and that the relationships within the church reflect the closeness of the trinity.
In John 17:20-23, we see Jesus’ desire for the church in His prayer for it: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
The kind of closeness that Jesus is praying for the church is something that is almost unimaginable today where we change jobs, locations, relationships and churches so easily. The kind of closeness that Jesus is praying for requires long term, transparent, sacrificial and deeply committed relationships. That is why we believe that membership in a local church is vital for us to become the people that Jesus prayed we should be.