With a heart to bring the good news of salvation through Jesus to our town of Monroe, Magnify Church was launched in 2021 as a small core group meeting in the home of pastor Brian Stoddard. We recently began meeting in our current location in downtown Monroe inside the Miracles and Memories building. We are a small group, but we are preaching Christ, meeting for prayer and fellowship, counseling those in need, and lovingly making Christ known publicly.
We are praying for God to bring us faithful men, women and families who have a desire for authentic community and to make Jesus known to the lost.
We welcome faithful followers of Christ who want to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We welcome those who have questions about Jesus and we welcome all who are suffering and lost.
We are an independent reformed church and part of the G3 Network
Pastor Brian holds a high view of God’s Word as our final authority through which we can understand salvation, worship, discipleship, evangelism, and how we may delight in God and bring Him glory in all things.
Joyfully abiding in Christ in all of life and exalting His name above all
Some of our distinctives
As a reformed church, we believe we are called to worship God and bring forth the good news of Jesus without the temptations of pragmatism. We resist the temptation to look at the best ways to attract people and to build a church, instead we desire to honor God and trust that when we are delighted in Him alone, the church becomes attractive to those who need Jesus and salvation. We understand that whatever method you use to attract people to church, you will also need to maintain so they keep coming back. We want people to be in the church because of Jesus, not because of anything we are doing. The Word of God is to have primacy in all we do; the words of our songs are to be God-centered, and our preaching is expository and we do all for the glory of God.
We believe that the church is the body of Christ, meaning it is not a box to be checked but a life to live. The preacher may be the most visible person on Sunday, but he is no more vital to the church than any other member (1 Cor 12). The pastor along with the other members has a role to play so that the body may be healthy and bring glory to God. We gather corporately on Sunday and live out the “one another’s” throughout the week as the body of Christ. We are striving in the Lord to do this fully.
Serving the lost and needy
We believe true help and change comes through the good news of Jesus. As the church, we know that we have a role to play in caring for the lost and vulnerable. We desire to be a part of God’s common grace in practical ways, but we firmly believe that it is God’s Word alone that will bring about lasting hope and change in the lives of people. We desire to be intentional with the Word of God through evangelism and to apply Scripture to all situations and problems. We certainly must help the vulnerable and poor in tangible ways, but we also must never do so apart from the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ who alone changes hearts and transforms lives.
Suffering is normative
It is our expectation that followers of Jesus will suffer for His name, just as they have throughout the history of the Church. While it comes in various forms and degrees, it is to be expected and often necessary to conform believers into the likeness of Christ and confirm the ministry of the gospel worker. We do not seek out or glorify suffering, but when we align ourselves with Christ we will, at times, endure hatred as He did (Philippians 1:30). We know that when we love what God loves and hate what he hates we will often be maligned. (1 Peter 4:4)
Joy is beyond us
We believe that God is sovereign and that He works in providential ways. We are made in His image, but we are not the star of the show. The Bible directs us to our sovereign God and His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. When we begin to believe God when He tells us that He is our God, and we are His people we start to see things from God’s perspective and no longer live life on our own terms. We believe that our God is filled with joy and although we will have trouble in this world, we can know incomprehensible joy in the midst of trouble when God becomes our great reward. (Genesis 15:1)
God is Holy
Every attribute of God falls under this one truth, that God is holy, holy, holy. God’s gaze pierces all, He sees our thoughts and motives and hears every cry for help. Yet God is also set apart from us. He is different from us. Strange to us. He is holy. From this view, we then understand that we will not find answers or salvation within ourselves but that we are saved from outside of us. A holy God is not found on a trail to our own hearts, but we must search Him out through the Scriptures. This gives true meaning to God’s love and righteousness and wrath since they are then a holy love, holy righteousness, and holy wrath which forces us to understand God and His attributes in ways that are outside of ourselves. We are delighted that because of the finished work of Jesus who has freed us from sin, we are now able to put sin to death and be conformed to the holiness of Christ.
What does it mean for us to be a reformed church?
Many believe that as a reformed church, we look back at how the reformers lived and “did church” and we now want to emulate them, but this is not what it really means to be reformed. We do look to them as part of the cloud of witnesses that have gone before us in living out their faith according to Scripture, but we look beyond them to Scripture itself.
To be a reformer simply means that we believe we are to apply God’s word to our lives in our culture. We firmly believe that the Bible is the final authority in our lives and directs us to see that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone for the glory of God alone.
This is difficult work since we must be relevant to our time and place and yet not be tempted to contextualize God’s word to our situation. We study God’s Word faithfully and apply it to our lives, but we must never allow our lives to filter or distort the Bible.
The Bible is timeless. The prophets in Israel were reformers. They brought about the historic word of God to their time and place and called for people to repent and to go back to God’s Word. We are to do the same. We must find ways to speak God’s Word in ways that can be understood by our listeners but never softened to be made more palatable. We also believe that since all are made in the image of God, His word is always relevant and will always work and speaks to our conscience, to some a sweet fragrance, and to others an unbearable stench.
As reformers, we apply this to all of life. How do we worship? According to how God has directed us, not to express our own experiences. How do we live? Parent? Educate our children? Etc. As directed in the Bible as our final authority. This requires work and we know we will not always get it right but we long to be faithful to God who has dressed His saints in the righteous robes of Christ, so we strain and press on towards Christ.
Some may believe that reformed Christians live as separated from the world in fear and we are simply “old fashioned”. The truth is, we desire to engage in the world and enjoy all the innocent pleasures our God has graciously given to us. We are not old-fashioned, but God fashioned, and we desire to live vibrant, joy-filled lives to the glory of God.