Most of these questions are answered and covered in detail in our "Get a Grip" classes, as well as in our Membership Class. We welcome you to be a regular attender at WOL where you'll have the opportunity to partake of these various ministries, dive into the Word and obtain the Biblical answers you seek.
But for now, here are the cliff notes on these frequently asked questions.
Q: What denomination is Word of Life Family Church?
A: WOL is a nondenominational, Bible-believing church. We believe Jesus is Lord and God's Word is the final authority on all matters pertaining to life and godliness. In the church world, we would be known as a Christian, Spirit-filled church.
Q: What is a Christian, Spirit-filled church?
A: Unfortunately, labels have become a part of our culture. These days, it seems like it's not enough to say that you are a Christian, but rather, we are required to define what type of Christian.
By definition a "Christian" is a Christ-follower; a believer. As Christians, we believe that Jesus is Lord and that through His shed blood and death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection, we received forgiveness from sin and eternal life. Jesus' blood is God's only remedy for man's sin. We believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and those who believe and confess Him as Lord are born-again, saved and redeemed and will also be raised from the dead and will spend eternity with God in heaven. At WOL, Jesus is Lord and we are passionate about helping people find Him as their Lord and Savior.
By definition "Spirit-filled" means to be full of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this is called being "charismatic." Charisma is simply a gift of God's grace; that is, God's divine influence or gratuity upon a person's life or a spiritual endowment that empowers and enables a person or church to be full of the Spirit. Therefore, a Spirit-filled or charismatic church would be a church that is full of God's grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
At WOL, often people will say things like, "This church is different...you can sense the Spirit...there is a freedom to worship...it's alive and on fire...everyone seems happy and friendly, etc." These are all indications of God's grace and His gifts.
Q: How large is WOL?
A: Currently, we average 500+ people who regularly attend our weekend service.
Q: What does WOL do to help the poor, needy, widows and orphans?
A: We have made it our goal to give up to 10% of our non-designated annual funds to local, regional, national and international outreach ministries, missionaries, orphanages, Bible School and those in need. We are intentional about helping the poor and supporting Bible Schools and Churches around the world because we believe when nationals are equipped in the Word; they can make a difference in their own communities and countries. We have also endeavored to work in collaborative ways with other churches and organizations in the Alamance county area to provide services and practical assistance to those in our area.
Q: Do you believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell? Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?
A: Great question and the answer is: yes! We believe there is a real heaven to gain and a real hell to shun. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ - so that whoever would believe on Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior would not perish in a place called hell; but would have eternal life in a place called heaven. Jesus said that unless a person is born-again he or she could not enter the kingdom of God. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6) We believe what Jesus said. That's why we are so intentional about sharing the good news of God's love with people!
Q: What do you believe about God's sovereignty and man's authority?
A: We believe that God is Sovereign and Almighty. He is the Creator and Most High God and above Him there is no other. In His sovereignty, He has given us His Word and in His Word, He has established spiritual laws that require man's cooperation.
For example, He has given us the law of faith, the law of sowing and reaping, the law of love, the law of sin and death and many others. He wants us to cooperate with His spiritual laws and He has given us authority to do so. For example, He has given believers the authority to use Jesus' Name; to pray; to stand on His Word; to live by faith; to speak to "mountains", to reign in life and so much more!
These things do not just automatically or arbitrarily happen; we must appropriate His Word by faith to experience all that our Sovereign God has promised us. Thankfully, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can know His Word, so that we can know His will and His ways. We believe the Lord expects us to study His Word to know what He has said and to proactively appropriate His Word in our lives; we don't believe it honors the Lord to be passive or fatalistic in our knowledge of His Word or in the day-to-day application of our faith.
Q: I heard WOL believes in being filled with the Spirit and speaking tongues. I was taught that speaking in tongues doesn't exist today; can you explain your view?
A: It's true, at WOL we definitely believe in being filled with the Spirit and praying and speaking in a heavenly language. We have found it to be one of God's wonderful gifts for enjoying heart-to-heart communion with Him and as a supernatural resource for the joy-filled, power-packed victorious Christian life.
At the same time, we are aware that in the church world there has been confusion and misunderstanding on this topic. There are some denominations that believe the gifts of the Spirit and specifically speaking in tongues have passed away. They are called "cessationists" because they believe these things have ceased. We respect their right to believe as they choose.
However, at WOL, we do not believe the gifts of the Spirit or the gift of speaking tongues has ceased. We believe God is still very much in the business of giving His people the gifts of the Spirit, including a divine spiritual language and that He expects all of His gifts to operate in and through our lives in a manner that is decent and orderly. There is no Bible evidence to suggest that these things have passed away at this time. We believe the Holy Spirit and all of His gifts are truly some of God's greatest blessings to believers.
We believe that there two experiences for every believer - to be "born of the Spirit", the Holy Spirit comes to live within the believer (salvation) and to be "filled with the Spirit", the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer and endues them with power (empowerment) and various gifts of the Spirit. In the Bible, we see these two experiences may happen in the life of a believer at practically the same time...or months or years apart. (John 3, Acts 2:4, 8:15-21, 10:44-46, 11:15-17, 19:1-6, 1 Corinthians 14:2, 4, 14-15).
Being born of the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are wonderful experiences for the believer and we encourage you to study the Word on this topic for yourself so that you may enjoy all that the Lord has provided for you.
Q: Do you believe that God wants all believers to be blessed and prosperous and that they access these things through faith?
A: Yes, we believe that God is a good Father. Like any good Father, He wants all of His children to be blessed so that they can be a blessing to others. We believe God meant it when He gave us, 3 John 2, John 10:10, Ps 103, Matt 7:11, James 1:17, Is 1:19. We certainly don't believe that God is the type of Father that delights in seeing His kids suffer things needlessly. The Bible teaches that as we walk in the Word, the blessed, abundant, prosperous life is God's will for all believers. (Matthew 7:11). Isaiah 1:19 says that if we are willing and obedient we will eat the good of the land. It's always been God's plan to bless His willing and obedient children. This prosperity - or abundance - is progressive and includes every area of our lives: spiritual, physical, material, mental, emotional and relational. God's highest and best is that as we walk in the light of His Word over time, we prosper and are in health as our soul prospers.
We have found that of a lack of knowledge is the main reason people don't experience God's best. They simply don't know what they don't know. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people perish for a lack of knowledge". (That's why we are intentional about teaching people God's Word.) Many of God's people suffer needlessly because they don't know what God wants for them or how to cooperate with His Word to experience His goodness.
Unfortunately, sometimes people are not experiencing all that God wants for them because of a violation of the spiritual laws He has established. God has established laws like: the law of sowing and reaping, the law of faith, the law of love, the law of words, etc. (Galatians 6:7-9, Rom 3:27, Gal 5:6, Prov 18:21, etc.) and if people don't cooperate with God's spiritual laws they may not experience all that He desires for them.
For example, if we don't know the law of gravity exists; it doesn't matter how sincere we are or how much we love God; if we jump off a building we will fall to the ground. In the same way, someone may be a wonderful person and a committed Christian, but if they are ignorant of or violate His Word and the spiritual laws He has established, they cannot expect the blessings that are attached to obedience - no matter how sincere they are.
The remedy for these things is simple - obtain the knowledge of God, cooperate with Him and His Word. It's our job as believers to obtain the knowledge of God and His Word and as we are willing and obedient, we will experience His goodness in an increasing measure.
Finally, while the "blessed life" includes many good things; it should not be confused with the "tribulation free" life. Jesus said that when we live for Him and walk in His goodness, we will experience tribulation, stress, temptations, opposition and persecution. As believers, we realize that in the midst of blessings there will be pressure and temptations to resist; enemies to the faith, opposition and persecution to endure. Jesus said that when we follow Him and His Word, people will mock, slander, diss and say all kinds of evil things about us. Persecution is a part of the "blessed life" - Jesus said we should rejoice and be glad when we are persecuted for righteousness sake for great is our reward in heaven.
Q: Do you believe that "positive confession" brings positive results and "negative confession" brings negative results." Is this true?
A: Yes, we absolutely believe that our words have the power to affect our lives. The Bible says the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). We do eat the fruit of our words (Proverbs 12:14). We see this law at work all the time. For example, people who constantly say things like, "I am so worried. I am terrified. I'm a worry-wart. That just scares me to death.." can't figure out why they are so anxious and fearful all the time! They haven't made the connection that they are eating the fruit of their negative, unscriptural confession. This connection between faith in our heart and the words of our mouths is a principle that is found throughout the Word (Romans 10:9-10, Psalms 19:14, 2 Corinthians 4:13, Hebrews 10:23, etc.).
It should be noted that there is a difference between "positive confession" and "faith confession." The phrase "positive confession" - is sometimes a bit misleading for people and they think they should just have happy thoughts and say positive things and life will be grand. While being positive is a good thing; the actual spiritual concept is more than "positive confession" - the Biblical phrase for speaking words of life is "a confession of faith, profession of our faith, or speaking words of life" that are based upon the Word of God. When we get our mouths in agreement with God and His Word - we are making faith declarations and these are much more powerful than simply being positive.
Q: What does WOL believe about the role of women in the church?
A: We believe God has gifted, called, anointed and appointed both men and women for His purposes and the furtherance of His Church. At WOL, Rich and Paula, have worked together as a pastoral ministry-team since the day they founded the church, much like Aquilla and Priscilla of the Book of Acts (Acts 16). They enjoy working together side-by-side as they compliment one another in serving the Lord and the congregation.
At WOL, you will find many men and women working together in a variety of roles and leadership positions, both staff and non-staff. Women have a high profile, along with men, as they fulfill their God-given roles.
We understand that people from certain religious backgrounds have all kinds of ideas about the role of women in the church. They often get stuck on two verses of Scripture which addressed cultural issues in the early church; while overlooking dozens of other passages in the Word that reveal God's heart towards women in ministry. As a result, they ask questions like: Can women teach the Bible? Can women teach men? Can women hold leadership offices in the church? Can women serve as Pastors? Can women serve as Senior Pastors? Are women only allowed to teach other women? Aren't women supposed to be silent in the church?
We believe the Bible gives us answers to each one of these questions that are consistent with our practice of welcoming women whom God has called and gifted into a variety of leadership and teaching roles. God the Father esteems women; Jesus esteems and calls women to preach - starting with Mary whom He called to preach the resurrection and help launch the start of His Church; the Holy Spirit esteems women and has been poured on "sons and daughters" so they can preach and proclaim the gospel and the apostle Paul esteemed, recognized and worked with women in leadership in his ministry. At WOL, we've seen God's favor, hand of blessing and confirmation on the women that work alongside the men in our church.
There are numerous resources, taught and written by highly respected men and women on this subject and we would recommend these as well."
"Getting Women In The Game" - CD by Bill Hybels
"The Woman Question" - Book by Kenneth E. Hagin
"Beyond Sex Roles" - Book by Gilbert Bilezikian
"Who Said Women Can't Teach" - Book By Charles Trombley
"10 Lies The Church Tells Women" - Book by J. Lee Grady
"25 Tough Questions About Women And The Church" - Book by J. Lee Grady
"Help, I'm a Leader Trapped in a Women's Body" - Book by Nancy Beach
Q: What is WOL's view on the gay, lesbian or homosexual lifestyle?
A:The more important question is, "What is God's view on the gay, lesbian or homosexual lifestyle?"
If you listen to some people you'd get the idea that God hates homosexuals. The reality is that God loves everyone. He created sex as a good thing and He knew what He had in mind when He created men and women and the whole sexual process. God is not confused on the subject.
God loves every person, no matter what their sexual gender, views, experience or orientation may be. God's desire is that every person on the planet comes into a personal relationship with Him, continues to grow and be conformed to His image. That's the plan. While God loves every person, He does not condone everything a person believes or does. God loves everyone and so do we. God does not condone the things He calls sin and neither do we.
When it comes to sexual relations; we believe God sanctions sex solely within the context of marriage. The Bible recognizes marriage as exclusively the legal union of one man and one woman (Titus 1:6). Therefore, WOL does not condone any sexual behavior outside of marriage; and does not perform, or condone any marriage between individuals of the same gender or between more than one man and one woman. Sexual activities, such as, but not limited to, adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, pedophilia and bestiality violate the teachings of the Bible and the Church. Further, we believe that lascivious behavior, the creation and/or distribution and/or viewing of pornography, and efforts to alter one's gender, are sinful and incompatible with Christian behavior. (I Corinthians 6:9-10; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13).
The bottom line: God loves people and we love people - all people. The lifestyle someone lives does not determine their value in the eyes of the Lord nor in our eyes. While we are not against those who live or profess to be homosexual; we do not believe that homosexuality is the way God created men and women to relate to one another - the Bible says it is "against nature" and we agree with the Word. While we do not condone homosexuality; we do not condemn anyone who has ever struggled with this issue or who has called themselves gay. Jesus said, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved [healed and delivered]. (John 3:17) We're working together with the Lord in the saving, healing and delivering business. For some, homosexuality is a complex issue - spiritually, emotionally and psychologically - and yet, we have seen God's love and power set people with the most complex issues free. There are countless testimonies of formerly homosexual people who decided to allow God to do what only He can do - transform them into the image of His Son by His amazing power working in them. For further study, these Scriptures respond to the basic question: What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Romans 1:24-27, Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Genesis 19:4-7, Leviticus 20:13
Q: How is WOL governed and led? Do you have a board, elders, deacons or committees?
A: We believe that Jesus is the Head of the Church and He has delegated the primary responsibility for leading and feeding a local church to the Senior Leader.
Word of Life Family Church is a pastor led, elder governed, staff and volunteer run church. Pastor Rich Fennelle is, as the senior pastor, ultimately responsible to teach the Word, obtain the vision for WOL, and to provide spiritual, strategic and organizational leadership to the church at large. He is responsible to follow Jesus, the Head of the Church and to do this effectively; he has surrounded himself with many dynamic and gifted people including a Board of Elders who are responsible for governing the church by providing financial oversight of the ministry through annual budget approval and salary structure definition. Our elders also monitor the overall results of the church’s ministry to ensure that what is being implemented by the staff and volunteers is consistent with the vision God has given. Our elders help to protect the senior pastor’s schedule (making sure he has adequate time to rest) and ensure that he is being ministered to himself. There is also a Board of Advisors that meet to discuss different aspects of the ministry as they arise. Our staff and volunteers are responsible for implementing the vision defined by our senior pastor and confirmed by our elders. Without the involvement of our many volunteers the ministry at Word of Life would be greatly limited. The faithful and sacrificial giving of our members—who obediently respond to God as they give their time and resources-- gives us the ability and resources to effectively minister.
Q: Does WOL publish an Annual Financial Report?
A: Yes, WOL makes available an Annual Report to all of its members. This report is made available to WOL Members - those who have received ministry from WOL and made a mutual commitment to WOL through their attendance, serving and giving.
Q: Can I promote my business, organization, ministry or cause at or through WOL? Your mailing list? Your Facebook groups?
A: The short answer is: No. The long answer is: Here's why. We get many worthy requests from numerous people and organizations asking us to promote their events, businesses or causes. For the most part, for precedent reasons, we are not able to do so. There are several reasons that may be helpful to understand.
First - Our primary role as a church is to be a neutral place of worship where people may freely receive prayer, worship God, hear messages from the Bible and find encouragement for their own spiritual growth. We want WOL to be a safe, godly environment.
Second - We don't want anyone - businesspeople, organizations, ministries or causes - to be perceived as opportunist. We don't want to show favoritism in endorsing or promoting any one business, organization or person over another. We don't want anyone who attends WOL to be pressured, offended or feel that they are being prospected.
Third - We want to be sure that people are not inadvertently looking at the church as a pool for their own customers, members, donors - but rather, we want to protect the privacy and integrity of those who attend WOL.
Finally, on rare occasions, we are able to promote large, community-wide events - the Red Cross Blood Drives, regional concerts, joint-effort church ministry events and the like, but as a rule, for sheer volume sake, we do not promote many non-WOL related events, businesses, organizations, ministries or causes.
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