It’s that time of year again. People are church shopping and church hopping. I love it. Autumn is full of possibility. God has already brought us some wonderful newcomers at CCB. He may have others in the pipeline. It’s terrific when people come and join us. But I’ve searched in vain for a verse that says CCB is their only option. And so I want people to make sensible decisions about where to go to to church. Even if it’s not us. So we wnat to help people know what to look for.
In Mark 12:28-34 one of the senior religious leaders approached Jesus and asked which of all God’s commandments was the most important. Jesus replied that there were two. He required people to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. And he required people to love God in the same way that they loved themselves. And so it seems sensible to go to a church that’ll help you fulfil those obligations. I think it’s worth making a distinction between others in the church and others outside the church. Therefore we could say that a church worth being a part of is one that’ll help us to love God, love God’s people and love God’s world.
Most churches will tell you that they’ll do that. And they may be right. But if we’re sensible, we’ll scratch under the surface and ask what they do to encourage us to grow and direct those three loves.
At CCB we want to help people love God and so we try to teach the scriptures so that everyone can hear God’s voice. As he speaks to us in the Bible about his Son and all that he’s done for us in and through him, he’ll awaken and arouse our love for him. Therefore we provide loads of different opportunities for different types of people, at all ages and stages, to come and listen to God speak to us in the Bible. We have Sunday sermons, small groups, one to one Bible studies, Women’s Groups, Men’s breakfasts, children’s ministries, and Christianity Explored and so on.
At CCB we want to help people love God’s people and so we try and equip and encourage people to get involved in serving. There are lots of opportunities to do things and participate in ministry. And so we want to train people and give them the opportunity to use their God-given ability so that others in the congregations benefit. What we don’t want is spiritually obese people who gorge themselves on fine teaching, music and fellowship but who aren’t engaged in any spiritual activity!
At CCB we want to try and help people love God’s world. And so we try and maintain our missional priorities. We’ll encourage unseen individual involvement and also visible congregational involvement in evangelistic ministries and social transformation ministries. We want people both to see and to hear of God’s love for them.
There are lots of churches that we could go to. Some of them are worth considering. Others are not. If we take Jesus’ words seriously therefore we ought to go to a church that’ll help us in our relationship with God, that’ll encourage us to get involved in serving and one that’ll stimulate our evangelistic heart.