What to Expect
Here are some things you can expect:
1. Expect an open Bible at every meeting.
Nothing of any lasting significance will happen in Ilford without the word of God. Nothing of any lasting significance will happen in your life without the word of God. The word of God is the sword that the Holy Spirit uses to do his work. So, expect to be fed good, healthy spiritual food, Sunday by Sunday. Expect teaching to be backed up by chapter and verse and to answer the basic question: “What does the Scripture say?” (Rom 4:3).
2. Expect church to be both faithful and relevant.
Jesus has entrusted the church with his precious good news from 2000 years ago. We aren’t free to tamper with it, update or revise it; but we must faithfully pass it on to all we can (2 Tim 1:13-14). Far from making the church irrelevant, real faithfulness to Jesus’ gospel is what will make the church most relevant. So expect to find the age-old gospel speaking to your 21st century life and circumstances. We want people to be feel able to invite unbelieving friends and family to church, because they are confident they will hear the good news about Jesus explained to people living in the 21st century.
3. Expect church to be a loving family.
The whole point of the gospel is to produce “love” (1 John 3:11). The church is the one place you can come to that bridges the sinful divisions that tear our world apart. So, people won’t all look like me, talk like me, or be educated like me, but when Jesus Christ saved me, he joined me to this new family and I’m loyal to them. This is why it’s impossible to define a church on paper; church is made up of real, flesh and blood people, with real life-stories, and unique gifts and talents.
4. Expect to be stretched.
While the gospel is simple, it’s not simplistic. God is a big God, and the Bible is a big book, so we all still have lots to learn. Through a mixture of teaching, reading good Christian books, conversations, prayer and relationships with each other, we want to see each other progress from the milk to the meat of the word (Heb 5:12-14). So, expect to be stretched in your mind, and life, as God works in you through his word, and changes you to be more like his Son.
5. Expect us to be praying.
We are to pray both on our own (Matt 6:6) and together (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 4:24). We want to pray, because:
- it is Jesus who builds the church, not his people (1 Cor 3:6). All the organising and activity in the world won’t see a church either start or grow in Ilford, so we need to ask Jesus to build it.
- Christians who don’t pray are like musicians who don’t play their instrument. The best thing of all about being a Christian is knowing God. At the end of the day, we are made for worship. So, expect to find us praising God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isa 56:7)