How would you describe our church? What makes it different from another?
For my next 2 blogs, I thought I’d have a go at describing our community, choosing just 4 characteristics. Of course, you can add to this list in the comments, because as Michael says, it’s only a conversation starter.
NB: I’m not describing our beliefs or spiritual practices here (that are similar across Christian Churches) but rather what our community is like, our culture, things we find important….
Mission is What Drives Us
We began in 1998 as an under 18’s disco called Bounce. Those nights were at times fun and enjoyable but also difficult. We had twenty to thirty volunteers helping to run the event safely. Our church community grew in response to Bounce. We needed a space to worship, to be inspired and to share our struggles together as we continued to run the disco and share Jesus’s love for people.
Mission (serving those around us) continues to be our driving force today. We don’t exist for Sundays or aspire to be a perfect cosy club. We meet together as believers so that we can be Jesus’s hands and feet every day of the week, being there for people wherever he has us, in our workplaces, homes and communities. God loves us so we can go and love others.
And so, for us mission and relationships come first. Our activities and traditions come second.
We have Permission to Fail
We’ve tried to build a culture of openness to change. At the very start of our journey, a local minister gave us permission to fail and we try to pass that on. We try, we fail, we think creatively, we adjust, we try again. We ask, how can we put our resources to best use for God’s mission? Have we listened to our local community properly? Is what we’re doing relevant and accessible?
We are secure in our foundation in Christ but aren’t afraid to let people express their questions, doubts and differences. We’ve a mixture of Christian backgrounds in our community. We want each person to have the opportunity to find their feet in faith and encourage open discussions around Christian thought and practices. We don’t all need to agree on every topic. Our teaching is given to encourage thought and discussion rather than telling people what to believe and how to live. We want people to encounter Jesus for themselves and follow Him as best they can.
Our openness to change doesn’t always suit everyone but it pushes us to seek God more and I don’t think church community was meant to be boring either!
Next time, I’m going to share why Teams are Better and how there are No Spectators Allowed!