As part of moving cities there is always a lot of change which goes along with it. For many the prospect of a new city bears the stress of being away from family and friends, and the challenge of finding new friends to be in community with. However, for Gill and I, as we have no flesh and blood family in Adelaide the bigger focus is on finding a new community of believers to be a part of, and to really share life with.
In doing this move I have been challenged several times, by friends and by God, as to what I/we consider of most importance in a church, and what aspects can be left by the wayside. As such I have just jotted some of these thoughts down, not necessarily in order of priority, into this post.
1. Bible believing
First and foremost is a simple one, we were after a church which handled the bible well, one which treated it seriously as the word of God. Pretty simple, right. Now I know that within this category there is a fair spectrum of churches, but if they get the basics right, its a good start.
2. Community focused
A big part of what we believe goes into a church is the community. We are keen to get integrated into a community quickly so that we can keep on building the community and doing life together. It’s pretty important to us that we go to a church where community is a focus, both for the building up of believers and as an avenue of welcoming others into the Christian family.
3. Serving together
The job of living for Jesus is not just the job of those people who get paid to do it. The bible is pretty clear that in becoming Christians we are all to take up our cross and follow Him. We are keen to be a part of a community that emphasises the responsibility of all of us to serve together, not just paid people to do the majority of the serving.
We believe that the church is one of the main tools God uses to spread the news of himself around the place. So we’re keen to be a part of a church that is keen to reach out to the local community to tell people about Jesus.
We are pretty aware that Christians are not perfect. But sometimes churches like to look perfect in order to attract people. We are keen to be a part of a church that is full of human beings who are happy to share life together even if that means not having the perfect service layout, flashy music team and smiles on everyone’s face. It also means that we might be able to see how we can fit in a bit more easily.
We have been pleased to find a church in Melbourne that has all of these elements and more. There are heaps of great churches in Melbourne, but we have decided to be a part of the community at St Matthews in Prahran. It is a great community of believers and a place where we feel that we can be involved in the work that God is doing. We have enjoyed getting to know some of the members over the past few weeks and have already had a few invigorating discussions with the minister Shane. This week we will be joining a gospel community, which is a smaller group of people who meet together and aim to do life together. We are excited about the way God is working at St Matts and praying that he will use us there.
What do you guys value in churches, and what would you be looking for in choosing? Pop your thoughts in the comments below.