Where you meet as a church is really important, because you are changing the lives of many people in the community and neighbourhood. You are preaching, praying, singing songs of praises to the God who called us to be a light in the dark and the salt of the world to transform the lives of many in our community and city. It is not a coincidence that you are where you are now!
I go to a church in Manchester called Ivy Church Academy which meets in the Student Union in a gig venue on Sunday mornings. We believe that it's NOT a coincidence that we meet exactly where students get drunk over the weekend, hang out or work through the week. It’s a real privilege to be there!
We have students who have come in to the church service just because they’ve heard the worship and want to see what’s happening, but then end up staying. Some of them have never been to a church before, not least a church like ours in a gig venue!
During freshers week, a Chinese student came to our church, sat at the back and enjoyed the church service. She didn’t believe in God, and she had never heard the Gospel or anything about Jesus. After chatting to her after the service and inviting her for a coffee, I asked her whether she’d be up for knowing more about Jesus and exploring faith for the first time. I simply started reading the Bible with her and taught her how to read the Bible and pray. She was here only for a couple of months, so I wanted her to know how to do a bible study with someone else when she goes back home in China.
It is also very important to recognise new faces and new people just popping in our church for the first time. If I didn’t sit at the back to see her coming in feeling lost, I’d never have had the chance to show her who God is and what he is like, and therefore she wouldn’t get to hear the Gospel etc etc. You don’t have to have a leadership position to welcome people or connect with newbies. I’m just a member of the church, like you.
Every Sunday, we get new people coming to our church for the first time and it is our responsibility as Jesus’ ambassadors to make sure they feel welcomed, whether they decide to come back again or not.
So, this Sunday think of who’s new in your community?
Can you think of someone now whom you can invite for a meal or coffee? What can you do to be light and salt in your community?