Carlton Senior Living - 175 Cleaveland Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94598
Jesus is Lord of the church and any organization who seeks to minister in His name. He has delegated authority to a plurality of elders to govern or lead the local assembly. Church leaders are to get the assembly operating as God instructs and to keep it on course. They will differ in opinions; they are to allow differences in preferences, yet to stand firm on principles. Their differences are to be dealt with in humility, through prayer, searching the Scripture and seeking the mind of Christ.
Church leadership is raised up by God through spiritual gifts and identified by their Christian life, maturity and service. Men qualified according to Scripture and recognized by the congregation (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9) are called to serve the church through leading, teaching and caring for God's people. New leadership is appointed by leaders, the congregation giving their affirmation.
HOW IS THIS MINISTRY GOVERNED?
THE REFINER'S MINISTRY is a non-profit non-denominational church dedicated to the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ and all its fullness. As an independent ministry we are dedicated to teaching and applying the living Word of God to our lives and to the culture around us. We encourage like-minded believers to join together in being the hands and feet of Jesus.
We believe the Word of God is central to understanding ourselves and the times in which we live. We encourage daily reading of the Bible in order to be spiritually fed with the knowledge of who God is and what He expects of us. We also believe that God directs the lives of His people through His Holy Spirit ("My sheep hear My voice." - John 10:27 NASB). Therefore we encourage all believers to discern His voice and then to respond to His direction in their lives. In this regard we desire to be like Jesus who only said what He heard the Father say, and only did what He saw the Father do. "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." - Colossians 3:17 (NASB)
HOW DID THE CHURCH BEGIN?
This ministry began from a Bible Study started in July 1985 which sought God through prayer, asking, "What should a church look like, how should it operate?" In January 1986, the church began meeting as a small group, simply to gather for prayer, Bible teaching, breaking of bread and fellowship. Since then we have sought to grow in our love for the Lord Jesus, to mature in our spiritual life and to share community in the Body of Christ. For 25 years we operated as "Church of the Valley". In 2012 we changed our name to "The Refiner's Ministry" to better reflect the vision of the Lord for this assembly.
We are small (about fifteen people). We do not have many "official" ministry programs both because we are small and because we want to encourage family life. Our worship is informal; children of all ages are welcome in the service; families tend to sit together; the music is a combination of praise songs and hymns; we teach the Bible; the service typically begins with a time of worship through song, sharing and prayer and ends with the Lord's Supper. There is a time for fellowship after the service. The congregation is made up of Christians from many traditions.
The Refiner's Ministry does not have any denominational affiliation. However, we seek to be fully dependent upon the Lord Jesus, looking to Him for our authority and direction. While having no connection with any earthly affiliation, we desire to cooperate with all who have a heavenly affiliation - those who love and serve the Lord Jesus. For we believe Scripture defines the church as an assembly of believers, those who are members of Christ's spiritual body. This church was established by Jesus while on earth and carried into the world by the apostle's who followed Him. This church is universal and spans many ages, nations, tribes and tongues. As part of the church universal we seek to have fellowship with all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to the day when, as one redeemed Bride, all who have called upon His name through the centuries will join together in worship of our God and King, Jesus Christ.
Based on Ephesians 4:8 and 1 Peter 4:10-11, Preparation Sunday is the one Sunday a month where the congregation is asked to prepare through study and prayer to present their spiritual gift(s) to the Lord. Also, at the beginning of the service, the congregation is given a list of hymns and praise songs. During the service those attending may choose a song from this list to sing during worship.
As believers in Christ we have all received a special gift (called a spiritual gift) for the purpose of serving one another and glorifying God through Jesus Christ. As good stewards of God's grace we are to manifest these gifts through the strength which God supplies.
These are not fleshly efforts. These are Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered efforts. Hence the need to prepare through prayer, humility, purposeful bringing, letting the Word of Christ richly dwell within us, and obedience to His Word which says, "when you assemble each one has".
On Preparation Sunday we are providing the avenue through which the Spirit can work through each individual as they seek to be obedient, seek to serve one another, and seek to glorify the Father through the Son. It is our hope than every Sunday will become a time of preparation and spiritual gift usage by the congregation just as the Spirit leads in preparation for teaching and worship leading by the leaders of the church as they exercise their gifts faithfully each week.