Church and Christian Faith
What it means to become part of the local church.
Becoming a Christian
Before becoming an active part of any local church, including Main Street Community Church, you might well first ask yourself if and why you call or consider yourself a Christian. There are a number of reasons why you might apply that description to yourself:
- Because you were born and grew up in a Christian country
- Because your parents took you to church when you were younger
- Because you believe in God and Jesus Christ
However, we want to suggest that, of themselves, those are not a full description of what a Christian is. The last of the three reasons above comes the closest.
At Main Street Community Church we believe in sharing the gospel, or good news, about Jesus.
At Main Street Community Church we are described as ‘Evangelical’ in our belief. Very simply that means that we believe in sharing the Gospel, or “Good News” about Jesus. Evangel comes from the Greek word meaning to herald or to announce, so being ‘Evangelical’ is simply to want to announce, by whatever means possible, the message of Jesus. So, what is that message?
You can read about the life of Jesus in the Bible.
The King James or Authorised Version of the Bible has been available in England for over 400 years and was the first widely available Bible in the English language. There are also Bibles in more modern language, such as The Message, NRSV at oremus.com (New Revised Standard Version) and NIV at biblegateway.com (New International Version).
The gospel according to Mark and the gospel according to Luke are good starters in finding out about the life of Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus came as a man and yet is also God; Jesus is our saviour and should be our Lord in all we do.
So what is the message that Christians want to share? Its key factors are:
- We have all failed to reach God’s standards (Romans 3 verse 23)
- God loves us, even though we’ve failed (John 3 verse 16)
- Failure to reach God’s standards means death is the end
- However God’s Son Jesus Christ has died in our place!
- Jesus couldn’t be held by death; he was resurrected
- So, we can receive Eternal life as a gift from God
- All that is required is to believe and accept Jesus (Romans 10 verse 9)
Essentially this means that we can’t save ourselves, we are sinners needing God to save us. By having faith in God, believing in him, we are put right with God. We thank God for his kindness to us. We can’t boast of our own goodness.
Jesus offers us eternal life: abundant life now and to be with him forever after death. There will be a day of resurrection and those who have hoped in Christ will be raised to life, into the life of the age to come, when God’s kingdom fully comes.
Yet Jesus doesn’t say that life for Christians in this world will be easy.
Jesus told his disciples, ’If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.’ (Matthew 16 verses 24–25, NRSV)
Being part of the church
Essentially this means that being a Christian is very simply a matter of believing and accepting — the Bible calls it being ‘born-again’.
- Do you accept that you have failed to reach God’s standards?
- Do you believe in Jesus Christ — that he is God’s Son and that he died for you?
- Have you ever asked Jesus to be Lord of your life?
You may have decided that you have never asked Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life. You might do so now with a prayer like this:
“Lord Jesus Christ, I recognise that I have failed to meet your standards for life. I cannot do this on my own. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross to make it possible for me to be forgiven. I ask you now to come into my life for ever and to make me your child.”
You don’t have to use those exact words but they may be a guide for you.
If you have prayed a prayer like that, you need to make contact with other Christians who will help you to learn how to live as a follower of Jesus.
Usually a local church will welcome anyone who wants to find out about the Christian faith.
So, you have made a personal commitment to Jesus. From that moment you become, the Bible says:
- Part of the church — that is the worldwide church — that is all those across the world who are ’born-again’.
- Part of the family of God — a true child of God!
- Part of the Kingdom of God here on earth
You are a member of the church by choosing to follow Jesus. You will also need to be part of a local church too. As a member of the church you are a part of the church family and sister or brother to other Christians. We are called to care for each other in Jesus’ name and to helping to “evangelise”, that is share the good news about Jesus!
Other things you will choose to do, supported by the local church and its leaders, include:
- Praying regularly with us and on your own
- Reading the Bible and studying it with us and on your own
- Living your life by the standards of the Bible with God’s help
You will also want to consider baptism and sharing in communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper. You can read more about these on our page on baptism, communion and church membership.
(This page originated from a leaflet written by Tim Coad when he was the pastor of this church.)