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What is the Church and what is it for? In the bible there is a description of the earliest church, in Acts 2: 42-47. It reveals to us what church was for this group of followers that emerged not long after Jesus died, rose again and then returned to his Father in heaven.
This passage has much to teach us about what church should be for us, and covers five main reasons for church:
These words may seem rather 'churchy' but no other words express their ideas as well.
Firstly, and perhaps most simply, we come to church to remember who God is and what he's done. And in response to this, we sing and we pray - this is worship. See the Sunday service outline for more details.
Secondly, we come to church to support each other. If you were the only one present at church on a Sunday morning the occasion would be very different from what it is, with the support of family and friends and the church family - this is fellowship.
Thirdly, Jesus took 12 people and called them his disciples. He asked them to follow him and he shared his life with them. We come to church to share with each other, to learn from each other and most importantly to learn from Jesus - this is discipleship.
Fourthly, we come to Church to serve others: those in the church, but also those in the community and further afield. We come to remember how fortunate we are and in response we remember our duty to look after the lost and the lonely - this is service.
Finally, we come to Church to remember who God is and what he's done and that we must not keep it for ourselves. We come to remember that Jesus brings Good News and we are challenged to share it - this is outreach or, to put it even more simply, 'reaching out'.
So you see, the church is not the building but the people, and it is for worship, fellowship, discipleship, service and reaching out, in equal measure. Most of all, we hope that whether you come to church for one or all of these reasons, you will find what you are looking for.