We are starting a new journey in this season. A journey of exploration, of listening, of wondering, of learning.

Of asking ourselves, what does it look like to be the church that Jesus calls us to be? What does it look like to be the Acts 2 church that “devotes itself to prayer” “eats and shares together” and sees “daily people being added to their number”?

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2

We want to be the church Jesus intends us to be, and we want to learn how to do that.

How? In this series which will take us up to November, we will look each week in all our services at different aspects of being church. The preacher at the 10.30 service will prepare questions which can be looked at by Life Groups but also by any of you. We want people to discuss the sermon and the ideas that come up, to listen to each other and learn from each other. We want people to feed back your ideas and observations.

How can I get involved?

  1. Pray. Pray before you come to a service or listen online. Pray in your times of stillness, ask God what he calls us to be as a church, where can we grow and develop our gifts and the effectiveness of our mission? Pray for the leaders and those sharing the message at services. Pray for all our teams.
  2. Turn up or listen up. Be there at the services and take it in. Listen online if you can’t be there. Take notes if that’s helpful or you; paint a picture, write a song, fashion a model out of icing, we don’t mind what works for you! Whatever helps you get in touch with the Spirit, gets the grey cells working and your heart warmed!
  3. Feed back. Discuss with your neighbour, with your prayer triplet, in your Life group, on your Twitter feed, with the guy sat next to you on the train who’s hiding behind his phone. Write us an email, compose a limerick, sketch ideas with ketchup. Send them to aidan@christchurchdownend.com …for less sticky feedback methods…

Link to Session 1 sermon and Questions below.

Session 1: What does it mean to be Christ Church: an introduction to the journey.

Questions following the Introduction: What does it mean to be Christ Church?

We really want to have an honest and candid look at where we are now and respond to the Lord’s leading for the future. This series is just the start of that exploration as a whole church together, feeding in insights, ideas and raising questions. Your responses are vital to this journey and everything you say will be valued. Thank you.   Jo

Foundational Text: Acts 2: 37 to 47

  1. St Luke in his opening words of Acts (Chapter 1; 1-8) wants his readers to understand that what he was about to describe is the continuing work of the risen Jesus, through his disciples, now filled and empowered by the gift of the Spirit.

Looking at the passage, and drawing on other stories in Acts, discuss how the life of Jesus is in evidence in and through the early church eg Acts 3; 1-10

  • In Acts 2, what characteristics of the community described can be seen in the life of Christ Church Downend? Where do we see this? What is rarely, if ever, true for us?

What other ways have you experienced the life of the Risen Christ in our church?

  • In his sermon, Jo quoted Bishop Graham Cray who said that the Kingdom of God comes as the seed of the gospel in planted in the soil of the culture. What words might sum up the culture or cultures of our area?

Where are we as a church connecting with culture and planting that seed? What needs to change if we are to do so more effectively over the next 3 years? Suggest practical ways that this could begin to happen. 

  • Jesus said, ‘I will build my church’. (Matthew 16; 18). There are both opportunities and threats to making progress as we seek to be responsive ‘living stones’ in the hands of ‘the master builder’. What would you consider to be some of the main ones that lie ahead?

A Prayer

You are Lord of the Church Jesus

and you are building Christ Church for the sake of the world you love.

As living stones, humbled by your grace,

take us, use and remake us,

what we have been is past, what we shall be still awaits.

Lead us on Lord, take us with you   AMEN