We all have a story–including God. . . .
God’s story is called the gospel, which means “good news.” It is told in the Bible, and he is the hero. It is a story of salvation, in which God is reconciling the world to himself, not counting men’s sins against them (2 Cor 5:17-21).
At University Baptist Church, we simply want to be a part of God’s story. So we are a group of people united by our trust in the good news of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In the Bible we learn that he is the rescuer who came to make the wonderful story possible. Not only that, but Jesus has taken our imperfect, broken lives and made them into individual stories of redemption and grace.
No matter what your story is, no matter where the imperfections and broken pieces lie, Jesus Christ can connect you with God’s huge story of redemption and rescue. At UBC, we would love to help you in your journey.
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It all started with prayer. . . .
University Baptist Church began in a prayer meeting on October 27, 1965. Three families gathered to seek the Lord concerning the possibilities of a new church. The occasion for their meeting arose from the fact that Miami University had just announced a campus to be built in north Middletown. These families had a vision for bringing the huge story of God’s gospel to the people in this developing area.
They eventually received the support of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Carlisle. A house was then secured on Manchester Road right across the street from MUM where our first formal worship gatherings were conducted on February 13, 1966. In 1972 our meeting place was relocated to the nine acre lot where it stands today, and the current sanctuary was originally constructed.
Within the first decade of our existence, 218 people were baptized, three men were called into the ministry, the church was supporting two other church plants in the area, and the annual budget had grown significantly. By 1977 there were ninety-two families involved. We believe that God blessed our church from the very beginning because it had been established on unashamedly spreading the gospel of Jesus and standing on his inerrant Word.
And God has continued to bless decade after decade. Over the years, UBC has baptized over 1,000 converts to Christ. God has used UBC to impact the lives of hundreds of families and kept the church financially healthy. Further, God has blessed us with three long-tenured pastors who authentically love God and others. Along side them God has provided many gifted support pastors and staff who have helped to advance our ministry. Today, we are as committed as ever to God’s Word and as urgent as ever about spreading the message of Jesus. We believe that God is still working among us in a powerful way. Every year, new families and individuals join our family of faith, and we are actively seeking to increase our kingdom influence in our community and beyond.
Not only has God been writing an amazing story for our church family, but for every individual family that joins our fellowship, God is writing incredible stories of his redemption and grace. It is wonderful to see how God brings separate families together into one church family. It is all part of the relational strand that God started over fifty years ago in a house with three praying families. How exciting to be braided into this strand!
And it is even more amazing to think that the fellowship of UBC is just one tiny part of the massive kingdom family that God started two thousand years ago through the work of his Son and the pouring out of his Spirit. When we realize that the entire strand of UBC is just a small fiber in the bulky rope called the family of God that has transcended two millennia of world history, it is even more humbling to know our unique place. God’s family is big. God’s story is big. We are small. But praise God that he has included us in his massive plan!
What is our purpose?
The purpose of UBC is to bring glory to God by producing people who know Jesus intimately, live life victoriously, and serve others sacrificially, laying down their lives as Jesus did.
This desire is derived from Philippians 3:10: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” This verse can be summarized by three words: know, live, serve. By knowing Christ, living in his power, and serving others, we believe that our church can truly reflect the character of Jesus and properly represent the kingdom of God in the Cincinnati/Dayton corridor.
A Vision for Our Church
We want our church to be a vibrant, growing family of outreach, devotion, discipleship, and generosity that reaps a true spiritual harvest in our area and provides a powerful, biblical example for churches beyond. For an example of this kind of body of believers in action, see the church at Antioch in Acts 11:19-30.
A Vision for Every Member
We want to help every person who unites with UBC to live as an authentic follower of Jesus and to grow into a mature leader with kingdom influence and eternal impact. We believe this vision is consistent with Jesus’ command to make disciples who make disciples in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
We believe the Bible!
At UBC we strive to be faithful to all of Scripture’s teachings. We believe the Bible is God’s infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word and a treasure of truth for all people.
No statement of faith can perfectly capture everything in the Bible, but we believe a statement of faith is a helpful and upfront way to explain the basic convictions of our faith. The Bible can be easily misunderstood or perverted, so a statement of faith gives an honest expression of how we approach the Bible and the doctrines that we believe it reveals. It also establishes the parameters of our church’s teachings and fellowship.
With these considerations in mind, our church adheres to the Baptist Faith and Message. We believe it is a thoroughly orthodox statement of conservative, evangelical, baptist beliefs that gives an excellent picture of where we stand. It contains the below eighteen articles with supporting Scriptures. We commend it to you for your earnest consideration.
Core Convictions and Philosophies
Every church operates with core convictions and philosophies that provide parameters for decisions and shape its practical ministry efforts. These ideals are important for members to embrace if there is to be unity and understanding among us. It is impossible that every leadership decision be fully explained or that we will always agree on everything that is done, but if we joyfully affirm a set of core convictions and philosophies and trust each other to keep them in view, we can have patience with each other and excitement about where we are heading.
Personal Devotion to Christ
The health and growth of a church will never go beyond the genuineness of its individual members. Our first philosophy is that every member must feel a personal drive to walk before Christ as an devoted disciple. It is a top priority for every believer to trust in the gospel, to hunger for God, to feed on his Word, to pray, and to commit to God’s kingdom. UBC is nothing if its individual members are not living lives accountable to Christ. (John 21:21-22)
Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
We believe that God has a beautiful purpose for human sexuality and that a church’s health is proportionate to the level that men and women operate according to their biblical design. While both men and women are of equal importance and value, God has called men to a responsibility of direct leadership that he does not expect of women (Eph 5:22-33; 1 Tim 2:12-3:13). Mature men of God are eager to lead, provide for, and protect women and children with appropriate love, courage, and gentleness. Mature women of God are eager to receive, support, and nurture worthy male leadership with enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and discernment. Of course, women are also called to be dynamic leaders in a myriad of ways, but we desire to grow men who step up and own the primary burden of responsibility in the home and the church.
Our basic structure for growing disciples is called “4 Growth.” There are four key ways to be involved at UBC that provide a well-rounded plan for individuals to grow: corporate worship, community groups, course training, and committed serving and giving. In life, you get out what you put in. You reap what you sow (Gal 6:1-10). So we boldly encourage our members to be committed to all four of these important parts of church life.
Family–Oriented Corporate Worship
We believe that gathering for worship as an entire church family is the foundational weekly event of the church body. Corporate worship serves the huge purposes of rejoicing in our great God, encouraging one another, and being nourished personally. Because it is for the whole church, we encourage families to have their children present in the Sunday gatherings. However, we also recognize that not every family is on the same schedule with regard to when to include their children in corporate worship. Therefore, we provide for flexibility and freedom for each family by offering a nursery for preschool children during the entire worship service and a frequent “kids worship” option during the sermon (Kindergarten through 4th grade). (Heb 10:23-25)
Authentic, Rich Praise
Our music ministry exists to help the church worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). Our goal is simple: Voices lifted loud in authentic response to the riches of God’s grace and truth. Instead of getting wrapped up in favorite music styles, we want the focus to be on Jesus, his gospel, and his Word. If we do this with excellence, everyone should be able to appreciate our musical direction and participate with whole-hearts. (Eph 5:18-21)
Expository, Doctrinal, Christ-Centered Preaching
In short, we desire for our preaching to focus on God’s word (expository), his truth (doctrinal), and his gospel (Christ-centered). If we do this well, our sermons will honor God and dynamically impact the human heart, the real place where lives are changed. Much of the preaching in our culture sacrifices transforming power for attempts at popular appeal. Though we earnestly strive for our sermons to engage, we mainly care about being reliable stewards of God’s message. (Col 1:28; 2 Tim 3:16-4:4)
If a person merely comes to corporate worship every week, it will be difficult for him or her to experience a strong connection with the UBC family. Community groups provide the needed opportunity for close-knit fellowship that is based on God’s Word. Our groups target various life-stages, but such designations are relatively loose so that everyone in the church is readily included. These groups have four major purposes: Bible study, fellowship, prayer, and outreach. (Acts 2:46-47)
We believe that a healthy church will foster opportunities for interaction among people of different generations. We want our students to be in relationship with other families. We want older church members to share testimonies with younger groups and visa-versa. We want community groups reaching out to other groups. We want our children involved in outreach ministry as much as they can. We want single adults interacting with married couples, older men mentoring younger men, older women encouraging younger moms, etc. etc. etc. (1 Tim 5:1-2)
In the Great Commission, Jesus says to teach his disciples everything he has commanded. This responsibility is huge because God’s Word contains a great deal of instruction, and this responsibility is challenging because everyone has different areas of needed growth. So to facilitate more intentional growth for our church family, we regularly offer discipleship courses and Bible studies that pertain to specific topics and books of the Bible. We encourage our members to be involved as much as possible.
Sacrificial Serving and Giving
We believe that a member’s growth will be limited as long as he or she is only an absorber of the ministry of others. Dynamic growth in Christ really happens when we follow him in sacrificial serving and giving. We encourage each member to find at least one regular role of service within our church. Plus, we believe that God deserves our trust with regard to money, so we encourage each member to give faithfully to our ministry. The fact is that our church would not exist without the voluntary serving and giving of our members, but the greater fact is that God is trustworthy with our time and resources. (2 Cor 9:6-8)
In the Bible, the church has one main strategy for reaching the world: Talk about Jesus to others. There are many ways that the church did this: preaching in various settings, house evangelism, testifying from one person to another, and engaging new people in their worship gatherings. But there was no strategy in which the church simply did nice things for people or the community without sharing Jesus. Therefore, at UBC we desire for all of our organized outreach attempts and all of our member relationships with the lost to have as its main goal that we talk about the good news of Jesus Christ and invite others into the family of God. (Rom 1:16-17)
We believe that the church is called by Christ to do its best to be a fellowship of truly born again people. Though it is impossible to see the heart, Christ has commissioned the local church to exercise discernment on the basis of beliefs and behaviors. A person should take healthy membership status seriously in his or her life because the affirmation of a biblical church is an important aspect of being personally identified as an authentic believer.
Throughout the Old Testament there is a clear distinction between the people of God and the people of the world. In the New Testament, the pattern is continued under the banner of Christ and baptism in his name. Local churches were expected to function with an awareness of who was identified with the community of faith and who was not. Such identification was the basis for brotherhood, discipleship, and accountability. By joining a local fellowship of believers, a person demonstrates the desire to grow along side other believers and to receive pastoral care. Through membership with God’s people, a person is identified as a serious follower of Christ and formally recognized by other believers as a brother or sister in Christ.
Because of these biblical convictions, we take membership seriously and have the following process for receiving new members:
- Profess faith in Christ and demonstrate a sincere desire to follow him in repentance and obedience.
- Be biblically baptized as a believer by immersion.
- Pray about what church God would have you join and meet with a member of the pastoral staff so that our pastors can help you with the decision.
- Attend a membership class that further explains who we are as a church fellowship.
- Receive a vote of affirmation from the church family one week after being recommended for membership by the pastors.
Our church is autonomous, so we are not bound to any outside control. But we do freely choose to align with the following organizations for the sake of missions. We share with them a doctrinal unity based on the Baptist Faith and Message.
The Southern Baptist Convention
The State Convention of Baptist in Ohio
The Cincinnati Area Baptist Association