As an interdenominational Christian organization, we are striving to provide an atmosphere where the growing Christian can develop spiritually, without undermining denominational traditions. Our foundational statement of faith is as follows:
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and the final authority for Christian faith and living. God, the creator of all things, exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God's eternal son, truly God and truly man. He came to earth, lived a sinless life and was crucified as the only sacrifice for our sins, arose bodily from the dead and returned to heaven. Men and women were created in God's image, tempted by Satan and rebelled against God. Through repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven, we are reborn by the Holy Spirit and we become children of God. The church is the living body of Christ on earth; He is the head. Jesus Christ will return to earth to raise the dead, judge the world and establish His glorious kingdom.
Any member involved with drugs, or sexual immorality, according to Biblical standards, (including fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and premarital sex) will be sent home at the individual's and/or parents' expense, so as not to destroy the testimony of the tour or mission with which we are working. Drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, stealing, or open rebellion will not be tolerated.
As people who belong to Jesus Christ, we are called first and foremost to be disciples and to make disciples of others. We grow to spiritual maturity through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. As we grow, we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit to develop the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22) in our own lives, and encourage the development in the rest of the body of Christ.
A key expression of God’s power in our lives comes from the exercise of spiritual gifts. These are the individual Christian’s special means of service to the Lord and the rest of the body. (I Cor 1:7; Eph. 4:11-13; Romans 1:11,12; I Tim. 4:4; I Tim. 1:6; I Cor. 12-14)
Two of the gifts mentioned are especially related to Continental Ministries: 1) Evangelism (sharing our faith with unbelievers), and 2) Encouragement (helping, building up, and exhorting the body of Christ).
Though they are not the same as “spiritual gifts,” it is normal and healthy that our “talents” (natural abilities) be utilized in exercising the gifts. The obvious example is the talented musician who uses and develops his/her talent as a means of exercising the gifts of evangelism and encouragement. Scripture indicates that music is an effective tool – one that God favors (Eph. 5:19; Psalms 67:4; I Chron. 15:16; Zeph. 3:17; II Chron. 20:1-21).
We must be cautious that the former serves the latter. THE TALENT MUST ALWAYS BE VIEWED AS A TOOL. When the talent becomes the focus of attention (for self or the audience), we cease the exercise of a spiritual gift and are, in fact, living dangerously close to idolatry.
Though the tool is subordinate to the gift, its “refinement” and skilled use is not neglected by scripture:
Colossians 3:23 – “heartily
as unto the Lord”
Clearly, we are called to the pursuit of excellence in both the choice of our objectives (evangelism, encouragement, etc.), and the tools we use to achieve them.
Understanding the above, our mission is:
1. To advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ through the performing arts.
2. To impact the lives of people positively for Christ in whatever setting we use as a vehicle.
3. To encourage Christians to excellence in whatever they do by setting high standards for ourselves in every facet of our operation and by communicating that to all who participate.
4. To enlarge the vision of Christians to see music and other performing areas as valid, significant ministry tools.
5. To have a “ministry of encouragement: through an uplifting, entertaining, joyful performance to any audience that God gives us.
HOW OUR PURPOSE IS ACHIEVED
Our purpose is accomplished through emphasis in four areas of learning:
What is a disciple in the Christian sense? A person who follows (imitates) Christ. He allows his/her life to become so much like Christ’s that he/she acts in all circumstances the same way Jesus would. This is not something that is attained in a few months, or even a lifetime. “But when we see Him face to face, we will be like Him.” Until then, we “run the race.” Looking to Christ for the understanding and strength we need. (Eph. 4:1, 15; Psalms 1:3; I Cor. 9:24; I Peter 2:2; Eph. 3:16-19.)
The foundation for building a Christian lifestyle is laid through the consideration of basic questions: What does it mean to live life as a Christian? Is obedience to Christ really important? Why and how should one study the Bible, memorize scripture, or meditate on God’s word? Is prayer really necessary? What are the characteristics of a person really controlled by Christ? Why is fellowship with other Christians so important? How is it possible to really be a servant? How can one have the proper goal, be fully committed to it, and persevere in reaching it?
We feel all these things are important for a Christian to know. In fact, our major purpose is to help people to answer these questions and start becoming more like Christ. When a Continental leaves us, we want him/her to be spiritually alive and grounded in the concepts of Christian lifestyle, which leads to wholeness as an individual in Christ.
A natural result of our growth is obedience to Christ’s command to share our faith with others. We are commanded to go and make disciples (Matt. 28: 18-20; Mark 16:15-16); and we are promised the power to be effective (Acts 1:8).
We are, first and last, a spiritual team, using spiritual methods to reach spiritual goals. We feel we must give ourselves to the privilege of fulfilling Jesus’ command, even under the most rigorous or restricted circumstances.
Our desire is to point out clearly the claims for Christ to all who do not know Him as Savior and Lord. By the example of our lives and words, we want to introduce people to the joy and meaning of life in Christ.
Our concerts are a celebration of life through the joy and fulfillment that knowing Christ brings, and through the “edification: (encouragement, uplifting) of other Christians. We also show that life in Christ would be positive, exciting and joyful. We try to present a program that both ministers and entertains in a way that glorifies God and points to Christ. We also try to challenge churches and other Christian groups with the effectiveness of music and drama as tools of praise and teaching. The comment heard most often about a Continental concert is how much the joy and love of Christ is radiated. The focus is on two main objectives: to re-kindle the fire already in Christians, and to give people who do not know Christ the opportunity to meet Him in an honest, personal way.
To help achieve these objectives, the Continentals learn how to effectively share their personal testimony, how to help an individual meet Christ personally, and how to deal with people needing guidance and prayer in the growth process. And, after they leave, all is not forgotten. Prayer is maintained for those who make decisions, personal correspondence is carried on, the local church leadership is notified for personal follow-up, and a correspondence program for spiritual growth is initiated through the Continental office. We hope to leave a lasting impression…not of our performance, but of Christ.
The educational aspect of the Continental Singers program is very direct. We consider each person who travels with us a potential leader in the church and society. They are some of the most promising people in the nation. Everyone who travels with the Continental Singers is encouraged and expected to return to his or her own church, school, and community and use the knowledge and techniques he/she has learned. Continentals should be better prepared to serve and lead in every aspect of their individual ministries whether vocal, instrumental, technical, conducting, performance, organizational, or managerial. Underneath all of this should be a warm spirit, with a real heart for ministry.
Emphasis is placed on our firm belief that we must strive for musical excellence. Not only must our music be great, but our total presentation must be carried out in such a way that no one can look at us and point a weakness in the Christ we serve or the manner in which we present Him.
Given the fact that nothing in life is more important than serving Christ and growing to be like Him, few experiences are available to Christian performers that are more valuable or beneficial for them, or the church, than time dedicated to God with Continental Ministries.
An individual who is developing spiritually and academically is not becoming whole in Christ unless he is developing socially as well. The opportunities for growth in this area are unquestionably high with the Continental Singers.
Imagine spending 4-10 weeks on a bus with 25-35 people from different places, different backgrounds, with different experiences…yet all desire to serve Christ and grow to be more like Him. One has to learn sevanthood. One has to learn discipline. Understanding of the battle between the "natural” and “spiritual” person becomes more clear, and the fruit of the Spirit begins to grow: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Fellowship is close and warm. Forming lasting friendships. The encouragement and challenge received from each other is of great help in developing our Christian lifestyle.
The fellowship is not confined to the bus or limited to the group members. The expressions of the common bond of life in Christ is expanded during the concerts, the personal greetings after the performances, and the more intimate contact in the homes of host families all across the world. This bond breaks through all barriers of cultural and personal differences to the undeniable oneness of the true follower of Christ.