Last week we had a good first meeting of the core team who will form the nucleus of the new church. We began by sharing why we were here. It encouraged me to hear that we all want a church that is accessible and relevant to those who don’t currently come to church. We all want to see new people come to faith.
We discussed three quotes about the nature of church. One from Calvin:
“Wherever we see the word of God sincerely preached and heard, wherever we wee the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, there we cannot have any doubt that the church of God has some existence, since his promise cannot fail ‘Where two of three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’.”
In this definition, the core fundamentals of church are the word and sacrement. We may want to update the traditions and the language to today!
One quote from Rowan Williams:
Church is the event of Jesus’ presence with its characteristic event of gathering people around him… The church is what happens when Jesus is there, there received and recognised.
We liked that Rowan did not prescribe what must be done, but centred it on Jesus and the people gathering around him. Of course the word and breaking of bread will be in there if this is to happen.
And one quote from the Bible – the passage from the initial formation of the church after Pentecost.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)
…and they had everything in common. Again, word, sacrament, community and prayer.
We then spent time with post it notes writing down what we would like to see in a church. Particularly the values and feel of the church rather than any particular activities. I then collated them into similar groups.
Those that relate to Hospitality
- Friendly and Welcoming
- Good coffee
- Serves water with other drinks (this was a reference to people’s drink preferences being served)
- Full of Friends / potential friends
- Low threshold (easy to come in)
Those that relate to Mission
- Outward focussed
- has events that bring non-Christians in
- A place you can easily bring non Christians
- All services open to non-Christians
- New people arriving and coming to faith
- Involved in the community
- Mission abroad (as well as in the community)
- Music and Sacraments that are sensitive (i.e. accessible and understandable to non-Christians)
Those that relate to Family
- Has a wide are range
- Child friendly
- a church that likes to be together
- A close community
- Realistic re: outside time commitments
Those that relate to discipleship
- Age range – mentor relationships
- A safe place to grow in faith
- A place to learn and grow
Those that relate to teaching
- Clear vision/doctrine
- Sound Bible teachgin
- Good clear sermons
- Clear messages (even if unchurched)
- Relevant to outsiders
- Connecting of people’s real life issues
Those that relate to worship and prayer
- A place to meet with God
- creative and interactive
Those that relate to the building
- Well designed and welcoming
Those that relate to everything
- Always talks about Jesus and acts it out
It was really encouraging to have everyone engaged and putting their ideas in and also to find that we all want similar things of the church. We then spent time praying for the needs of the area and for those in the group.
In future weeks we will begin to think about how we might model these values/aspirations and put them into practice.