A Catalytic Force to Bless Southern Arizona and the World
Pantano Christian Church is a non-denominational church that embraces a wide diversity of people. We hope you’ll join us for a weekend service to see for yourself what we’re about. Through multimedia presentations, music and practical messages, we present the ageless truths of the Bible in a format that’s easy to understand, even if you’ve never been to church.
We offer an opportunity, specially designed to introduce Pantano to those who are interested in learning more. Find out more at Discover Pantano.
- Our Identity
We are part of a group of churches often referred to as the “Independent Christian Church.” We have no formal connection to a denomination – hence the word “independent.” There are about 5,600 churches like us around the US, with more than 150 averaging over 1000 in attendance.
- Our Mission and Vision
Mission: Loving people to Jesus, launching passionate people to make our world different.
Vision: To be a catalytic force to bless Southern Arizona and the world.
This is our dream – the dream that God has given us. It currently does NOT exist. It is something we are reaching for in the next 10 to 20 years. It is what we are seeking to become, a long-term view. This vision describes our preferred future. It is bigger than any of us and dependent on God. Our vision is that Pantano would become a catalytic force to bless Southern Arizona and the world.
“This is my dream… to see really authentic healthy communities of Jesus followers or churches throughout our city and Southern Arizona. I see these churches as primarily existing to bring God’s influence and God’s blessing to their immediate neighborhood. I see these churches as giving so much back to their “hood” that they are an indispensable part of the community. These churches disciple people to follow Jesus well. These churches help start and support the social agencies that serve people. These churches engage to make their schools better. These churches make their immediate community a good and desirable place to live. These churches will populate heaven for eternity.” ~Glen Elliott, Lead Pastor
- Ends and Core Values
Ends define and shape our vision. They are “milestones” toward reaching our vision. They are achievable and measurable. Ends are what the Elders evaluate the Lead Pastor against in terms of achievement or movement toward fulfilling our vision.
- Every participant following Jesus well
- Reaching people who are not currently connected to God or a church community
- Multiplying healthy life-giving churches
- Developing healthy communities within neighborhoods and villages
Core Values are the things we hold most important and valuable in all contexts including family, friendships, work & ministry. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the things we value, but best describes how and why we do the things we do.
- Following Jesus well
- We are blessed to be a blessing
- Recognizing we are all broken people, we practice grace, patience and forgiveness.
- An entrepreneurial attitude of life
- A real, honest and transparent relationship with God and others.
- Partnering with others to make our world different
- The Destination – S.T.E.P.
The acronym STEP describes what a follower of Jesus looks like. It is also a great way to evaluate ourselves in how well we are following Jesus. Everyone at Pantano is encouraged to embrace these principles in our lives and find our unique place in the Kingdom of God. STEP is the way through which we express our relationship with God and engage our world.
Sharing Life Together
Transforming into Christ’s likeness
Entrusted with time, talents and treasures
Participating in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission
Welcome to Pantano Christian Church. You’ll often see people being baptized during a weekend service because we hold a high view regarding water baptism. Baptism is an ancient practice that Jesus submitted himself to and commanded his followers to practice. The early church in the book of Acts modeled baptism for us because it has powerful significance to the one being baptized and as a statement of commitment to others. When a person is baptized he or she makes a declaration or vow to God, to themselves and others, to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.
If you would like to schedule a baptism, have specific questions or just want to talk to someone about baptism, please visit Starting Point after any Sunday service or call the office at 520.298.5395. We’d love to talk to you about this decision.
A WEDDING CEREMONY
Baptism is a vow or promise to God (see 1 Peter 3:21). It is a vow that moves us from a casual relationship with God (“I believe and love God”) into a formal committed relationship with him (“I will follow Jesus with all my heart forever”). Baptism is the believer’s spiritual wedding ceremony.
One of Jesus’ favorite pictures or metaphors of the church (those who follow Jesus) is that of a bride with Jesus being the groom. Baptism is the way the Bible instructs us to say our “vows” to Jesus. In the baptism ceremony, we often ask a person to affirm their vow with words like these: “I promise to follow Jesus with all my heart all the days of my life.” This promise or vow is similar in meaning to the vows made in a human marriage.
WHY WATER BAPTISM?
Why is baptism performed by complete immersion in water? Going into and coming out of the water is the best way to illustrate and symbolize the meaning of baptism described by the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:1-7. It pictures a spiritual death, burial and resurrection.
We stand in the water of baptism and we make a promise to die to our old life and way of living. Going into the water symbolizes a death. Then we are buried for just a moment in the water. The spiritual death is complete. Coming out of the water symbolizes a new life with Jesus, who is both Savior and Lord of our life.
The new life does not mean that all of a sudden everything is different or perfect. Rather, we have chosen a new way and direction. We have made a promise to follow the way of Jesus. From that moment on we will live for Jesus.
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Any child, teen or adult who is old enough to make a decision on his or her own to follow Jesus can be baptized. The key is that a person understands who Jesus is and what he did for us and is old enough to understand some of the implications of what it means to follow him. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do need to understand that Jesus is now in charge of your life and may require change in you as you follow him.
We do not believe that infants need to be baptized, as they are not able to make a heartfelt and rational choice to follow Jesus. We do offer a baby dedication service through which parents commit to raising their child to love God and learn about Jesus. Then when a child is old enough, they can make their own decision to follow the way of Jesus.
Since baptism is like a spiritual wedding ceremony, then we want to help our children be prepared and ready to make this commitment. To help parents and their children with this most significant decision, we regularly offer a children’s baptism class for elementary children. Check the event page or call the church office at 520.298.5395 to find out when the next class will be offered.
A common question asked is: “If I was baptized as an infant, should I be re-baptized?” We encourage adults to make a personal pledge to follow Jesus through the baptism ceremony. This act does not reject what your parents did for or to you.
If you were immersed as an adult in another church, you do not need to be re-baptized as long as you understood the commitment you made to follow Jesus. Sometimes a person chooses to be re-baptized because they have wandered from their faith or from God and want to re-commit to following Jesus. In such case, a re-baptism is a recommitment of faith and is similar to when a couple renew their wedding vows.
- Our Belief
There is an ancient saying, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love.” This reflects our heart and belief at Pantano Christian Church. We are a non-denominational church that seeks unity in Christ, based on the essential truths of Scripture while allowing for diversity, differences, and even disagreements over non-essential doctrines. Below are six statements that reflect our corporate essentials and upon which we base our unity in Christ. We all believe much more than these statements and we encourage those who are part of Pantano Christian Church to vigorously search the scriptures and discuss “non-essential” although important doctrines, while not making those views a test of fellowship. Therefore, we believe in and are committed with our whole being to…
- The one eternal God who is love, revealed in three persons as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14).
- Jesus, who is the “Christ, the son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), who died for our sins, rose again and will return one day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Titus 2:13).
- God, who is always present in all believers through the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is active in transforming us into Christlikeness and empowering us to make our world different (John 14:16-17; 1 Peter 4:10).
- The Bible as God’s primary message or word to us, a guide for living and our trustworthy and final authority (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- A loving God who wants to save every person from the power of sin so that we may be free to do what is good. Salvation is a gift from God through Christ which allows us to be in deep relationship with our Father, now and forever. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8).
- God, who is bringing about a spiritual revolution and wants to transform our lives and our world as his kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 4:17; 6:10).
The above statements do not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God, speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind and is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For the purpose of Pantano Christian Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, discipline and policy our Elders are the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
- Partnership (Membership)
Partnership at Pantano means a passionate commitment to join others who are ALL IN following and becoming like Jesus, sharing life together, using our time, talents and treasures to make a difference and participating with God to love others and bring them to faith. Together we want to bless Southern Arizona and the world. We’ve replaced the word “membership” with “partnership.” While ALL IN still functions as our “membership,” we want to move beyond the idea of a static place. Partnership is about engaging with others to make a difference as we move toward our vision described above and live our mission of “loving people to Jesus.” Therefore we ask that you recommit anew every year to being an ALL IN Partner. Become an ALL IN Partner
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