What kind of a church can best serve it’s community? A church that makes a difference in the lives of its people. A church which believes that the first century Bible can still meet twenty first century needs. A church that speaks a sure word in uncertain times. Not just through the pulpit, but through its people as well. Southern Tier Church of Christ desires to be that kind of church. Our Christian family will be glad to meet you. You will find a warm welcome and friendly smile. We offer a variety of Bible-centered study programs to help you grow in your faith. We invite you to consider this church. Not because we have all the answers, but because we worship the One who does!
The Southern Tier Church of Christ which meets in Elmira, NY, exists for the purpose of:
1. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all those within its reach, baptizing them into the Body of Christ, discipling them and teaching them to observe all the teachings of God.
2. Teaching and equipping the saints for the work on ministry so everyone can do their part for the edification of the whole body.
3. Meeting the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of God's people.
The Southern Tier Church of Christ is a group of believers in Christ, striving to work and worship together as a New Testament local church. Our purpose is to provide an environment in which Christians can grow and flourish into the image of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:16). Additionally, we work together in spreading the Gospel of Christ to our friends, family and neighbors. Our aim is that they too, receive the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life (Acts 2:38-42).
No, we are not a denomination. Neither are we inter-denominational. It is our sincere desire to be non-denominational. It is our wish and purpose to wear no other name than Christ's and to be known simply as Christians, members of the body of Christ - the church of Christ. Such was clearly true of the Lord's people in the first century (Acts 11:26, 1 Peter 4:16, Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18, Romans 16:16). We refer to ourselves as the church of Christ, the Lord's church or some other scriptural description, not in an attempt to be "sectarian", but on the contrary to identify ourselves a church belonging to Christ.
We strive to be the same church described in the New Testament. It is our purpose to be completely identified with the Christians of the first century. We believe this to be possible to all who will learn, believe and be guided by the plain teaching of the word of God. Jesus declared such to be "the seed of the Kingdom" (Luke 8:11). A fundamental truth in nature is that a specific kind of seed, when planted, will always produce after its kind. The word of God, when planted in the heart of honest people and obeyed, will produce Christians - just as it did in the first century - nothing more and nothing less. We are human, and therefore subject to error, so we recognize the possibility that we may be wrong in our application of the scriptures. But, if we can be shown where we are wrong - by the scriptures - we are willing and anxious to change.
We have no human authority. There is no man, or group of men, who legislate for the church. We have no one to answer to, but Christ. He is the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22). As was true in the first century, there is no inter-congregational organization, but rather independent congregations in different locations with Christ as the Lord and Master. According to the authority of Christ, when a congregation matures to the point where men meet the qualifications, overseers (also called bishops, elders or pastors) are appointed to look after the spiritual welfare of the congregation. Such men are appointed only when the evangelist, upon consultation with the congregation, determines that they meet all of the qualifications listed by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. They then have the responsibility to "feed the flock" with the spiritual food found in the scriptures, and to be living examples for others to see (1 Peter 5:1-3).
The Bible is our guide in serving God, therefore we have no man-written creed books to follow. We are governed in faith and conduct by the Bible alone. While recognizing and heeding the guiding principles of the Old Testament, we seek to conform to the teachings of the New Testament (1 Corinthians 10:4, Hebrews 1:1-2, 1 Peter 4:11). We accept the Bible as being both verbally inspired and infallible in content (2 Peter 1:20-21, 1 Corinthians 2:11-13). Consequently, when the Bible speaks upon any given subject, its pronouncement is accepted as final. By its own testimony, no one may with impunity alter a single word of it (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelations 22:18-19).
Our plea for unity. We plead for unity among all who obediently respond to the doctrines and commandments given in the New Testament. Such is in harmony with the prayer of Jesus and the pleadings of the apostles (John 17:20-21, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 4:1-6). We consider such unity to be possible or Jesus would not have prayed for it. We also note that unity and love for each other was a mark of discipleship in the early churches (John 13:34-35, Acts 2:44-46, Acts 4:32). Since division has always been the result of departure from "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3), we believe that division can be healed by a return to the revealed word of God.