Surfside UMC is a fellowship of believers that is firmly planted within historical evangelical Christianity. Surfside is affiliated with The United Methodist Church – the second largest Protestant denomination in America. Our denomination was founded by an Anglican Clergyman, the Rev. John Wesley, who led a movement to bring reform within the church and throughout England in the late 1700’s. This movement of personal and social holiness spread like wildfire across this land in the years following our nation’s Independence. Its zeal lives on in our members today. United Methodists hold to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith. We are evangelical (holding to the essentials of the faith as taught in the Bible), but moderates rather than fundamentalists. We value the intellect and modern science, while at the same time we recognize the Bible as the authoritative guide for faith and practice. We believe in the primacy of Scripture when doing theology. Methodists have a passionate faith with strong convictions. We are willing to ask questions, to wrestle with difficult issues, and to do so with grace and compassion. Methodists have been known for our emphasis on a personal faith, lived out in concrete ways in the world. We have historically valued well-informed and passionate preaching, worship that was lively, and small groups where people could grow in faith. While we leave non-essential things up to the individual, following are some of are essential beliefs:

The Bible
The foundation for our faith is the Bible, which we believe contains everything a person needs to know to be in relationship with God. The Bible, comprised of 66 Old and New Testament books, describes God’s initiative in drawing us back into relationship – God’s wooing us with His love. We believe that the Scriptures are the unique authoritative source for matters of faith and practice. No other writings are so inspired by God.

We believe in the triune God, one true, holy, and living God, who exists in three separate persons; God the Father as Creator, God’s only Son, Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Savior of the world, and the Holy Spirit as the counselor and sustainer of life. All three are distinct, but inseparable, forming a perfect and eternal relationship. God showed power, wisdom, and creativity when God made everything that is, seen and unseen; God shows sovereign might today by sustaining everything; continuing to fulfill the divine plan of redeeming the whole creation by constantly offering freedom and grace.

Jesus Christ
Jesus is the eternal second member of the Trinity. He was both fully God and fully human and lived a perfect life, always loving perfectly. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary. Through his voluntary death on the cross Jesus paid in full the debt of our sin, and bridges the gap between God and people for everyone who believes in him. After three days, He arose from the dead and now serves as the mediator between God and people, continually interceding for those who belong to Him. Scripture says He will return some day to fulfill God’s plan of complete restoration of God’s perfect design for all of creation.

The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, is in the world reminding us of our need for God, nudging us to relationship with God through Christ, and empowering us to live God’s way. The Holy Spirit is constantly present to us providing comfort, strength, and encouragement. The Holy Spirit also enables understanding and application of scripture and gives unique, individual spiritual gifts to build up the church and facilitate ministry in the world. As we choose to yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading and shaping influence, the result is authentic fruit-character and behavior aligned with God’s design.

The Good News of the Bible is God’s unmistakable pursuit of all people, urging them to enter new-life relationship made possible through Jesus Christ. Originally created to live in perfect harmony with God, we choose to go our own way and become separated from God. All of us have suffered the same fate of turning from God, experiencing separation, and being unable to restore that relationship by ourselves. Therefore, salvation is an act wholly initiated by God that is not added to or improved by any act of human goodness or kindness. We are saved by faith in God and the acceptance of God’s free gift of grace in Jesus Christ.

Human Destiny
God’s desire is to be in permanent love relationship with every person. Because God gives us a choice, it is possible for us to reject relationship with God and be forever separated from God’s light and love, a reality the Bible names hell. When we die, those who accept God’s offer of never-ending life we believe will enter into a new, perfect, eternal reality filled with God’s holy presence.

The Church
Once we begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, we become members of Christ’s body-the Church. The Church universal is comprised of all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Bible paints vivid pictures of what believers are to do when we gather: worship, pray, encourage, teach the Word, serve and love each other through our creative giftedness, share communion and baptism (the two sacraments of the church), and reach out to the world. When this happens, the church functions as a healthy organism. The Church is called to be not a fortress, where people hide away from the world, but a powerful, Spirit-driven force God can use to change the world. As such, all are welcome.

In the sacrament of baptism, we are initiated in the universal body of Christ, forgiven of our sins, and given new birth through water and the Spirit. When we receive Holy Communion, bread and juice symbolizing the body and blood of Jesus, it is a means of God’s grace, and represents our desire to live together in community. The sacrament of Holy Communion is open to any person who confesses Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.