Who We Are and What We Believe
- Guiding Principles – What we aim to achieve
- Our Beliefs – What we believe and why
- Sacraments and Rites – Baptism, Marriage, Communion, and Funerals
- Church Leadership – The Session and Diaconate
The First Presbyterian Church of Idaho Falls is a community of faith which is a theologically diverse group of believers in the Reformed Tradition, who are spiritually committed and bound together by the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Our purpose is to proclaim the true word of God to our members and their children, community and ultimately, the world.
We are committed to create opportunities that will reach beyond the walls of our church to glorify God through the development and application of the gifts and talents with which we are endowed by our Creator. These include meaningful worship, fervent prayer, challenging Christian Education, inspirational music, humble service, community outreach, and loving fellowship to all.
Through these opportunities, the members of our congregation will develop a deeply spiritual relationship with our God and will demonstrate this through the love and care we share with one another. We will exemplify Christ’s church on earth and be equipped to proclaim the good news of salvation that is offered through Christ.
The church will proclaim the Word of God, based on the Bible and the Protestant Reformed Faith of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.
Our beliefs are stated clearly in the Book of Confession.
The Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are key observances in bringing us into the life of Jesus Christ, cleansing our spirits, and renewing our faith.
The children of the church are our future, and a strong youth program is essential to bringing in new believers and giving them opportunities to learn and serve. This ministry is particularly vital due to the minority status of Christians in the area.
The retired and elderly constitute a significant part of the congregation and are deserving of our support. Programs will tap the wisdom of this resource and provide opportunities for service, fellowship, and independent living.
The church structures its activities to reach out to all groups in such a way that the charge, “to whom much is given, much is expected” is characteristic of of our members. Part of that charge is to open our hearts to those in need and make them feel welcome and comfortable in our congregation.
The church will reach out to its members and potential members through a structured program of visitation by the staff and officers.
A strong, vibrant Christian Education program is essential to the lifelong development of an understanding of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Opportunities will be provided through Sunday school, mid-week programs, and worship.
The intern program for seminary students is a unique niche in the church’s ministry and is enthusiastically supported.
The music program is intended to enhance the worship service and provide a means of giving time and talents to the church. It will develop abilities of all ages to glorify God through music. It will be a significant link to the community through sponsorship and participation in ecumenical activities.
Mission activities will be developed to reach out to the community and the world in providing service and witness as Christians.
Weddings and funerals are important events in the life of the church members and others in the community. dignity, holiness and flexibility to meet individual family preferences will characterize these events. The minister will look upon these events as an opportunity to reach out to some in the community who may have infrequent contact with the ministry of First Presbyterian Church.
How do Presbyterians decide on what they believe?
We believe each person is called to work out his or her beliefs based on two sources of authority–the Scriptures, the primary source, and the historic creeds and confessions of the church.
From the very earliest times, Presbyterians have affirmed that the Bible is the authoritative source for faith and practice, as well as a witness to the creative and redemptive power of God. We believe the bible was written by people inspired by God for the purpose of revealing His love and truth. The Scriptures contain the remarkable and mysterious story of God’s Love for humankind and of His self-revelation in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
What beliefs do Presbyterians share with most other Christians?
Actually, the majority of beliefs held by Christians are the same from one denomination to another. Presbyterian beliefs about God, grace, Jesus Christ, justification by faith, the Holy Spirit, the priesthood of all believers, and a variety of other doctrines are very similar to those held by other Protestants.
- God — The historical Westminster Confession states: “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit…immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute…most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin…In the unity of the Godhead, there are three persons…God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Ghost.”God is a reality defying precise definition. To communicate God is to communicate the incommunicable and the many writings about God ultimately list only attributes not definitions. In the final analysis, if we could define God, we could necessarily limit Him and He would no longer be God.
- Grace — God loves every person and continually seeks to forgive our failure to be obedient. This constant love and forgiveness is given freely. There is nothing we can do either to deserve or earn it. This activity of God, his constant loving and forgiving of every person, is God’s grace.
- Jesus Christ — The great mystery we call God revealed himself to us in the form of a human being, Jesus of Nazareth. Both the words and the actions of Jesus, as recorded in the Scriptures, help us to understand better the loving nature of God.Even his ultimate act of obedience–giving up his life–is a means of illustrating the extent of God’s desire to reconcile all persons to Himself. Finally, God raised Christ from the dead and the ultimate power of God was illustrated for all time. Jesus Christ is the Lord of all life, the Redeemer of persons, and the Head of the Church.
- Justification by Faith — (“Justification” means being brought into the proper relationship with God and neighbor, understanding God’s purpose for us, being freed from our obsession with self-interest, being released from guilt, and being rescued from our anxiety about meaninglessness and death.) The sense of Chapter XI of the Westminster Confession tells us “We are justified, or pardoned, not by good works, buy by faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This means when we fully believe Christ’s death opened the way to wholeness and love, we are justified.
- The Holy Spirit — God continues to reveal Himself to us today in many different ways. The presence of God in our lives and the activity of God in history are identified as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the guiding force which constantly draws us towards God.
- The Priesthood of All Believers — (We believe each Christian has direct access to God through worship, prayer, personal confession, and the study of Scripture.) In the Presbyterian service of Holy Communion, the participants usually pass the elements from person to person–a unique symbol of each person serving as a priest (servant) to each other.
Baptism, the sacrament which celebrates our inclusion in the Christian family, is administered to children of professing Christians and/or adults. Baptisms can be scheduled during worship at the convenience of families. Our pastors will consult with families prior to baptisms regarding its meaning, significance, and practical arrangements.
Communion is the sacrament which celebrates the presence of Christ among us. All who put their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord of Life, including children (with parental consent), are invited to participate. Communion is observed during worship throughout the year and on Maundy Thursday. Communion can be taken to shut-ins and hospital patients upon request.
Marriage is a rite of the Church which recognizes family life as a gift of God. Weddings can be scheduled through the church office after consulting with the pastor. Counseling with othe pastor is required prior to the announcing of a date.
Funerals of members and friends of the Church demonstrate the love of God in time of need. A service of thanksgiving for the life lived and of prayer for those who remain is basic to the Christian response to death.
The work of the church is carried out through the Board of Deacons and through a network of committees which have been established by the Session. Elders serve as the chairs on these committees. Committee members come from the congregation through volunteers and specific recruitment. A member of the staff serves as the liaison to each of these groups, most of which meet monthly.
The Diaconate or the Board of Deacons consists of men and women who are elected by the congregation. Their task as described in the Scriptures is to provide a ministry of caring to all those in need. More specifically in Idaho Falls, their ministry is directly through the Care Team program which separates the deacons into five teams: Hospital/Crisis, Nursing Home/Shut-Ins, Member Contacts/Visitation, Visitor/New Member Contacts, and Hospital/Crisis Follow-up. In addition to the above duties, the Diaconate has monthly meetings, arrange for ushers at each church service, and prepare communion when needed. They also deliver poinsettias and Easter lilies to shut-ins at Christmas and Easter.
Buildings and Grounds Committee is responsible for oversight, maintenance, and security of the church property, including grounds, buildings and their contents.
Stewardship Committee is responsible for interpretation of stewardship to the congregation, and for the promotion and implementation of the annual stewardship campaign.
Mission Committee is responsible for the general mission giving, for interpreting mission, both local and global to the congregation and for interfacing with programs in the local community.
Christian Education Committee is responsible for the development and supervision of the Christian education program of the church. It is also the purpose of this committee to emphasize the partnership between the home and the church and to promote the Christian Education of people of all ages, specifically through Sunday school, fellowship groups, and recreational opportunities.
Congregational Life Committee is responsible for the enhancement of the relationship of the church family through discipleship, fellowship, care giving, and spiritual enrichment of the mind.
Personnel Committee cares for and oversees the work of our staff. This committee provides support and serves as an advocate for the members of our staff.
Worship Committee is responsible for all aspects of worship. This includes ushering, greeting, decorating the sanctuary, special observances, and coordination of the radio ministry.
Evangelism Committee is responsible for contacting visitors, conducting classes for people inquiring about joining the Presbyterian church, and new member assimilation.
Finance Committee is responsible for all matters pertaining to finances and financial record keeping. This committee is also responsible for the oversight of office management.
In addition to serving on committees, Elders also administer communion and assist the Pastor in Baptisms, and participate in worship services as lay readers.The work of the church is carried out through the Board of Deacons and through a network of committees which have been established by the Session. Elders serve as the chairs on these committees. Committee members come from the congregation through volunteers and specific recruitment. A member of the staff serves as the liaison to each of these groups, most of which meet monthly.