IMF’s ministry partners (members) come from varied denominational backgrounds, but all endorse the IMF Statement of Faith, Apostles' Creed and our core values have been recommended to us by local churches, senior pastors, para-church organizations, and/or other Christian ministers and lay leaders who are familiar with their ministry calling and gifts.
Members of IMF have a wide variety of Biblical and theological training. Many are seminary graduates (e.g., Asbury, Covenant, Fuller, Luther, Oral Roberts Graduate School, Princeton, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Westminster, etc.); others are Bible college graduates and some have received their training through theological education by extension. All have demonstrated a level of theological proficiency and have been approved for membership by our Membership and Rostering Review Board. As appropriate, some have been commissioned, licensed or ordained.
We do not believe that God always limits His call to those who have had the opportunity to attend seminary, and in some cases, there are those who choose not to go through their denominational ministerial track for a variety of reasons. Therefore, we offer an alternative ministerial track based on a careful evaluation of the candidate’s spiritual life, Biblical and theological training knowledge, ministry experience and Biblical knowledge.
Scripture admonishes, “Study to show yourself approved under God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). Therefore, one of the services which we offer our members is that of encouragement and assistance in evaluating their continuing educational needs for present ministry as well as future ministry goals.
For example, if they desire to serve on active duty in the U.S. Military as a Chaplain, historically, the U.S. Armed Services has required them to have a 4-year undergraduate degree plus a 3-year graduate theological degree (now 72 hours of prescribed theological study or equivalence), generally from a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools plus qualifying ministry experience. If, on the other hand, they are serving as a Director of a downtown mission in a large metropolitan area, their need for formal theological training may be somewhat less. Of course, there is a broad range of ministry needs and educational opportunities between these two examples.
Ministry to men and women of all denominations is often expressed through both suburban and inner city churches, as well as city missions, foreign missions, refugee camps, third world humanitarian service, and inner city youth programs. Anywhere the heart of God can be found loving people in need is a potential location for Christian ministry, expressed through the lives of IMF ministers.
Jesus teaches us that God's heart towards us is for us to enjoy a loving and harmonious friendship with him! Yet 20 centuries after He walked the earth with the first disciples, many people have not yet heard of the wonderful life they can have with God. Jesus' answer is the same now as it was then: "I am greater than any of your problems, I am able to change the lives of those who turn to me to follow my ways. I will send the Holy Spirit to bring new life to all who believe me." It is the promise of Jesus that all who believe and follow his teachings will receive new life.
Those of us who have received new life in Jesus have a calling to take this same message near and far, starting in our own neighborhoods and continuing to nations far away. This is the call of Matthew 28. Teach the words of Jesus, live sacrificially as He did and walk humbly with our God. It was same calling given to Abraham - abandon what is safe and familiar, die to self so that God might be glorified and others live. What better calling can there be?
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
What We Believe
- We believe the Bible to be divinely inspired, undivided, infallible, authoritative Word of God.
(Matthew 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 15:4; 1 Peter 1:23;
2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)
- We believe that there is one God eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22; Matthew 11:27; John 10:37-38; John 14:8-11; 1 John 5:7)
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and redemptive death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory.
(John 1:1; John 20:28; Matthew 1:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:13; Acts 4:33; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:11; John 4:46-54; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; John 5:1-9; John 9: 1-7; John 20:30-31; John 21:25; Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-13: Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18)
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is biblically essential.
(John 3:3-8; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 1:18-23; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:1-3; 1 John 1:7-9; 1 John 5:1-4)
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling and empowerment the Christian is enabled to live a Godly life and through whom the Spiritual enablements are operational in the Church today.
(John 7:39; John 14:15-18; John 16:7-15; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:17-21; Romans 12:6-8)
- We believe that God has provided to desiring believers an enduement of Spiritual power for the evangelization of the lost.
(Acts 1:4-5, 8; Acts 2:1-4, 38-39; Acts 10:44-46; Ephesians 4:11-12; Acts 19:1-6; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Romans 8:26-27)
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
(Matthew 25:31-33; Mark 9:43-47; John 5:25-29; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15)
- We believe in the Spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Romans 15:5; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:14-27; John 17:22-26; Colossians 3:12-15; Hebrews 10:23-25; Ephesians 4:11-13)
- We believe that God has established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive relationship between one natural born man and one natural born woman and that all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is immoral and therefore sin. (Genesis 2:24, Exodus 2:14, 17; Leviticus 18:22-23, Matthew 19:4-6, 9; Romans 1:18-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 15-20; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Jude 7) We believe that God created the human race male and female and that all conduct with the intent to adopt a gender other than one's birth gender is immoral and therefore sin. (Genesis 1:27; Deuteronomy 22:5; Psalm 139:13-16; 1 Corinthians 6:19)
I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1); and in Jesus Christ his only Son (Matthew 3:16-17, John 3:16), our Lord (Romans 10:9); who was conceived by the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:34-35), born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18); suffered under Pontius Pilate (Mark 15:15), was crucified (Mark 15:25), died (John 19:33-34), and was buried (Luke 23:52 53); he descended into hell (Acts 2:31, Ephesians 4:8-10, 1 Peter 3:18-19): the third day he rose again from the dead (Luke 24:1-7); he ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51), and sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1) the Father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). I believe in the Holy Ghost (John 14:26); the holy catholic (Christian) church; the communion of saints (1 Corinthians 11:26); the forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9); the resurrection of the body (Revelation 20:6); and the life everlasting (Revelation 21:4). Amen.
- For any organization, ministry flows out of relationships---our relationship with God and others. Without relationships there can be no ensuing evangelism, discipleship, accountability, ministry or fellowship. (Exodus 20:1-17; Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 31:23; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 119:97-98; Psalm 145:8; Proverbs 10:12; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:34-44; Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:33; Luke 6:27; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35; John 15:12-13, 17; Acts 4:32; Acts 11:27-30; Romans 12:10; Romans 13:8-14; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Galatians 5:13-14; Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 2:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 13:1-3; James 4:11-12; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 John 1:1-10; 1 John 2:1-29; 1 John 3:1-24; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Peter 3:8-9; 1 John 1:7-8)
- We believe that the authority of the Church is in the “gathered” church. Jesus said, “When two or three are ‘gathered’ in my name there am I in the midst of them.” We take our marching orders from the Holy Spirit which is in our midst and therefore do not look to Bishops or Archbishops as having authority over the headship of Christ’s Spirit in the local church. While we may recognize Bishops consecrated and elevated by their own churches and organizations, we do not believe in apostolic succession. (Daniel 12:3; Acts 6:1-7; Acts 20:28; Romans 8:16-17; Romans 12:1-21; Romans 13:1-6; 2 Corinthians 12:1-21; 2 Corinthians 13:1-13; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 4:6-8; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-11; John 16:13)
We believe that God will provide to desiring believers an empowerment of the Holy Spirit for the evangelization of the lost and the operation of spiritual empowerments in the Church today. (Luke 24:45-49; John 14:15-21; Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 11:15-16; Acts 19:6; Romans 8:16-17; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Timothy 1:7; Acts 2:17-18)
We believe in unity, not uniformity. Unity in essentials, freedom in non essentials and charity in all things. (Proverbs 17:9; Acts 17:29; Acts 20:35; Romans 8:37; Romans 12:9-21; Romans 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 9:22-23; 1 Corinthians 11; 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:5-10; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 6:15; Philippians 2:1-4; Colossians 2:2-3; Colossians 3:14; 1 Peter 4:8-11; 1 John 4:7-21; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33)
We believe in the koinonia or fellowship between true believers and a spirit of love taking preference over a spirit of dominancy, division and discord caused by pride or arguments over endless genealogies or doctrines that are not central to orthodox salvation issues. (Proverbs 17:19; Romans 3:1-31; Romans 5:1-5; Romans 16:17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 2:15-16; Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 4:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:23-26; Titus 3:9-11; Hebrews 12:14-17; James 1:19-25; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:4)
We believe it is the Church’s apostolic commission to take the good news of the Gospel to every tribe and tongue. We support church planting, missions and works of charity. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 20:24; Romans 11:29; 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2; 2 Corinthians 6; 2 Corinthians 9:14; Galatians 6:9-10; Colossians 1:28; Colossians 4:2-6; 2 Timothy 4:2-5; Hebrews 3:12-14; Hebrews 6:1-3; James 5:20; Colossians 1:25-29; 2 Timothy 1:8)
IMF is not a fellowship based primarily on the teaching of apologetics although we are a confessional faith group that believes in orthodox Christianity as defined in our Statement of Faith, the Apostles' Creed and our statement of Core Values. It is a Fellowship of recognition, relationship, affirmation, affection, service, encouragements, helps and true thanksgiving to God for those who seek to answer God’s call to Christian ministry and service. (Daniel 9:4; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 3:19-26; Acts 13:38-39; Acts 16:31; Acts 17:3; Romans 10:8-10; 1 Corinthians 7:20-24; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 5:13; Colossians 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; 2 Timothy 4:5; Titus 2:1; Hebrews 10:23-25; James 1:25-27; 1 Peter 1:13-16; 1 Corinthians 7:20-24)
We do not believe that a seminary or bible school degree is a requirement for ministry. However, we believe it is biblically imperative that we study to show ourselves approved unto God as workmen who need not to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of truth. Many of our leaders and members hold earned Seminary and Bible College degrees. Our goal is to reveal Christ to believers and unbelievers in act, disposition, state, thought and will. (Proverbs 9:9-12; Acts 26:22; Romans 8:1-2; Romans 10:1-4; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 1:17-31; 1 Corinthians 4:1-16; 2 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 2:14-26)
We do not believe that knowledge by itself can ever take the place of a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit of God and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We spend a life time “theologizing” our biblical and extra biblical knowledge and our personal spiritual experiences with those moments of understanding that come when the Holy Spirit teaches us through divine revelation. St. Paul reminds us that, “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.” (Zechariah 4:6; John 7:16-17; John 14:17; Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12)
We believe in accountability. Candidates for membership and credentials in IMF must have their ministries recognized and recommended to us by the senior pastor(s) of an established congregation(s), as well as other recognized church officers, ministers, ministries and/or lay leaders in the local church. (Proverbs 13:10, 18, 20; Proverbs 15:31-33; Proverbs 27:6, 17)
We believe we are called to humility and that pride is deceitful and separates us from God and our fellow man. We believe we are called to servanthood and to service as a love slave in the household of God. Can a servant be greater than his master? Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Matthew 18:4; Matthew 23:12; Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 16:18-19; Proverbs 22:4; James 4:6, 10; Philippians 2:3-11; John 13:14-16, 35; Mark 9:35)
We believe that compassion and forgiveness are better than rightness and justice. Justice has caused more harm than injustice when we have demanded our rights, rather than choosing to “lay them down.” We believe in grace, but not “cheap” grace. It is free, but it costs us everything. We believe in hope, but not “cheap” hope. Not promises for material wealth, lazy living, or a life without trials and tribulation, but the promise of the Father that in our weakness His strength is made complete and that we are made overcomers in Him. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 7:13; Mark 6:34; Luke 23:34; Colossians 3:13; Romans 12:14, 17, 19-21; Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10; Ephesians 4:32; Romans 6:1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:19)
We believe in building up, not tearing down. We believe in working hard, but without it being burdensome. (Jeremiah 24:6; Ephesians 4:15-16, 29, 32; Hebrews 10:24-25; Colossians 3:16-17; Colossians 3:23-24; Galatians 6:1-2; James 5:16; Proverbs 12:25)
We believe in accepting a seat at the foot of the table while preferring our brothers and sisters and lifting them up . . .”if you do it to the least of these my brethren . . . you have done it unto me.” God is in the promotion business. Let Him take care of it. (Luke 14:7-11; Matthew 25:31-46)
We believe that a kind word spoken in love, an encouraging word even when the blemishes of new birth and the dirt, dust and stuff of this world is readily seen in the lives of one of these young ones whom we seek to encourage and mentor in Christian ministry is never an abdication of truth or a lack of responsibility but a word fitly spoken in faith, seeing those things which are not yet, but are the substance of things hoped for. . . and we believe that it is seed sown in good soil which will not return void. (Matthew 13:18-23; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Corinthians 9:19-22)
We do not believe we live to ourselves, but that we are a part of a bigger family---real family . . . the family of, “our Father which art in heaven . . .” Others are not far from the kingdom, they need someone to invite them to “have dinner” with the Savior. John's Revelation tells us, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” St. Matthew reminds us of Jesus’ own words, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:32-35; Luke 8:19-21; Revelation 3:20; Matthew 11:28-30)
We believe in open communion in the administration of the Lord’s Supper to all true believers. (1 Corinthians 11:27-30)
We believe in water baptism for all believers in obedience to Christ’s commandment and in covenantal dedications or baptism of children as an act of faith and commitment by the parent(s) and the congregation to raise the child in the love and admonition of the Lord praying and trusting that when they become of an age of accountability they will of their own free will confirm their personal faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. We believe that water baptism in and of itself does not save a child or an adult, but rather the grace of God experienced through the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit in one’s life and godly sorrow for sins committed, the turning away from sin and the turning toward God and by placing one’s faith solely in Christ as Savior and Lord. Water Baptism in faith is a means of grace. (1 Samuel 1:24-28; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-6; Ephesians 2:4-9; Ephesians 6:1-4)
We believe in recognizing the gifts and calling of God in the lives of women as well as men. We do not believe that either a man or a woman should be “puffed up” in pride and seek to take a dominant position one over the other, but that the gifts and calling of each one will make room for themselves and when valid will be recognized and affirmed by the Body. (Joel 2:28-29; Proverbs 16:18; Luke 2:36-37; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 4:8-12; James 4:10-11)
We believe in being faithful . . . and in recognizing and dealing with our imperfections. Our walk with God is a progressive process and our ministries are progressive too. The Father will not allow us to wait until we are fully grown to begin helping with the harvest. Spiritual growth will often be somewhat parallel to ministry growth. (John 4:35-38; Hebrews 6:1-6; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 2 Peter 3:17-18)
Sometimes one runs ahead or one lags behind. But we have no choice to turn away and leave our calling. We try by God’s grace to be faithful . . . not in our strength, but His . . . not in our failure, in His forgiveness, not in our rebellion, in His long suffering, in His disciplining and in our brokenness and spiritual healing and somehow through it all God redefines and brings good out of it and is glorified. (Zechariah 4:6; Romans 11:29; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; Hebrews 3:1-6)
We believe in loving, serving, encouraging and helping to enable. When we become more of a burden than a blessing we have lost our mandate and we have no spiritual authority to continue. (2 Chronicles 35:1-2; Matthew 5:13-16; Romans 6:5-8; Galatians 5:13-16; 2 Timothy 2:24 26; Revelation 2:2-5)
We do not believe in quitting. We do not believe in giving up as we grow older, we learn to release power and position, to become available to God for our next assignment as our health and mental competency allow, but always doing what we can. Always working, always witnessing, always serving, always reading God’s Word and praying for ourselves and others until our ultimate and final assignment is complete. St. Luke wrote of King David, “After he had served the purpose of God in his generation, he fell asleep and was laid among his fathers.” (NASB) The key word is “served.” (Luke 2:36-37; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Timothy 4:5-8; Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:6-8)