We believe that God exists, and that the Bible is His inspired Word. Though our efforts are imperfect, we endeavor to serve God and are grateful for the salvation brought to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins (I Corinthians 15:3). Our desire is to continually learn all of God’s Word, especially the New Covenant, and to humbly obey.
As part of this effort, we organize ourselves according to the New Testament pattern for local churches. Paul addressed his letter to the church in Philippi by saying, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons” (Philippians 1:1). And so we see that a local church is composed of saints (also called Christians, children of God, brethren, etc.), including overseers and deacons. In the New Testament, overseers were also called elders and were responsible for shepherding the flock of God among them (I Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:17, 28). That’s what the overseers at Benchley strive to do. The word deacon means servant, and the deacons at Benchley work hard to help the church carry out its work in an efficient manner.
Besides these roles, the New Testament also teaches us about those who would make it their work to preach the gospel. Timothy, for example, was told to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” and to “do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:2, 5; evangelist means a bringer of good news).
Therefore, that’s the pattern we follow at Benchley. We simply think of ourselves as saints. Though one may serve the congregation as an overseer, deacon, or preacher, the fundamental responsibility of each member is to love God and others, with all that entails (Matthew 22:35-40).
We are an independent group of Christians. We are not affiliated with or connected to any other church (even other churches of Christ), nor to any denomination. We believe this also follows the Bible pattern and allows us to freely and independently study the Bible and apply it.
We read of churches in the New Testament assembling together to worship God and edify one another. They sang, spoke about God’s word, and prayed. On the first day of the week, they also partook of the Lord’s supper and collected a portion of their money as they had prospered (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:23-34; 14:15, 26; 16:1-2). Today we humbly and sincerely try to glorify God in the same ways.
We also read about New Testament churches financially supporting men to preach the gospel (Philippians 4:15-16, I Corinthians 9:14), and assisting needy Christians (Acts 6:1-4, Romans 15:26-27). The Benchley church does both of these things as needs arise.
We believe the Bible describes a local church as a very special group, dedicated primarily to the spiritual needs of people. The New Testament does not describe any other group working collectively to this end, and so we work hard to maintain a spiritual focus, without getting sidetracked into other pursuits. Our desire is to do what God has authorized local churches to do, thus glorifying Him and helping people prepare for eternity.