Our informal style may seem very new, but in fact it is very old and middle eastern! It’s the same as the very first churches (see the New Testament), two thousand years ago. There are hundreds of thousands of similar Christian groups like ours meeting in churches, community halls and homes all over the world today. It reflects a general growing trend to get back to basics and drop everything that prevents us from connecting more meaningfully with God!
‘Intimacy’ with God
Each one of us is at a different stage in our inner journey through life.
As Christians, we have a relationship with God that can look surprisingly personal if you haven’t encountered this before. However the relationship starts in the beginning, over time, it becomes more like a close parent-child relationship, (‘Abba father’, an expression used in the Bible, actually means ‘daddy’). This is reflected in everything you see and hear at Community Church.
As a Christian, one discovers through experience that God is actually able to draw good out of anything that happens, and that God can also change us for better in the process. This knowledge and tried and tested faith creates a sense of joy and peace. This celebratory sense pervades our services – it is a simple extension of the quiet joy that we often feel day to day.
As well as hymns, we sing many modern songs for their contemporary, meaningful words. As a service progresses, a theme can develop and sometimes a song that seems particularly significant will be sung several times to help people draw more out of the words and become more spiritually ‘open’.
Another type of singing is called ‘singing in the spirit’, when people feel inspired to sing their own simple song of worship simultaneously with others. During times of worship, Christians sometimes speak or sing ‘in tongues’ – this is a prayer language that Christians can feel inspired to speak.
In our church people can feel free to express creatively the way they feel. You may see people raising their hands in worship – an expression of openness to God (like opening your hands to receive a gift). People might even dance, sometimes with banners.
We believe that God is everywhere all the time, but sometimes we become very aware of his presence. When this happens, people sometimes feel a tingling sensation, which can happen when the Holy Spirit is at work. Some react to this by shaking and shouting out to God – if you haven’t seen this before it can seem pretty weird, but please don’t be alarmed by this. This is not ‘cultish’ behaviour – the person is still in control. It often happens when others ‘lay hands’ on a person while praying for them – this is an expression of loving concern and acts out the way that God is caring for the person (this is something Jesus and early Christians did).
There is no pressure on anyone to respond physically to what they feel. We just want you to feel comfortable being still or responding however you wish.
Like all groups of people who have something in common, a shorthand way of describing things has grown over years, (in the case of Christians – 2000 years). We’re sorry if the words we use sometimes don’t mean anything to you and make you feel excluded. We do try to be aware of this!