Bringing Jesus to Antioch
Firstly, the big heads up. We’ve now moved our CCM:City Centre church meetings to a Tuesday at 7.30pm in our usual Costa underneath the food court. We’d love to see as many of you come along and check it out to see what we’re up to here.
Tom O’Toole kicked off our first Tuesday meeting looking at the church in Antioch. Antioch was the 3rd largest city under Roman rule at this time and was a major hub of trade and culture creation, but as well as that it became one of the earliest places that the Christian faith touched, to declare the gospel to not just the Jewish people but also Hellenists.
Acts 11 v 19-21 says:
19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
This was another new challenge and mission field that the early church had to step into, and it took creativity and bravery to question the norms of worship and gathering that they were accustomed to, in order to spread the gospel beyond their culture. God challenged so many rules and rituals that the Jewish people had lived by in order to empower His people to seek meaningful and personal relationships with Him and share the good news with others. The comfort zone is not something God calls us to hang out in.
So which communities within Manchester do we need to step out of our comfort zone in order to love and serve? Artistic communities? Religious groups? Immigrants?
When we gather together it is important to share in communion, but so many other parts of our worship to God could be adapted to make it more approachable. For example, if singing alienates people and makes church seem intimidating, is it fundamental to how we share God and the church with others?
When planting a church in a new place and to serve a new community, we need to pause and listen to see where God is leading it. We need to be flexible to the needs of the people, and not just impose our idea of how church is normally done. It shouldn’t be about asking outsiders to step up to meet us where we are at, but coming alongside others to make a family with them.
The city centre is so huge and diverse. Maybe God will call us to plant a very multicultural church within the centre, or maybe He’ll grow a number of more monocultural churches, that are more approachable for the communities we are called to serve.
Please continue to pray that God will continue to gather people together to shape how CCM:City Centre should grow, and that everyone who comes through will know how valued they are to the family that is being built here.
If you’d like to find out more information about us and to stay tuned of exciting updates for the city centre over the coming months, head to the CCM:City Centre page, contact Tom, like us on Facebook or come along to Costa at 7.30pm on a Tuesday evening.
We’d love to have you.