For us, “church” is those people who choose to say “this is my church; this is where I have found a place to belong”. Around GBC, people usually find that sense of belonging by being part of a congregation, a small group, or a team. This means that GBC is a family of all ages and backgrounds and our worship opportunities reflect that variety.
We believe that this reflects a biblical principle. The families and tribes of Israel gathered together for special events at festivals and celebrations. They shared a common land and nationhood but mostly they lived and worked together in extended households.
With a diversity of congregations and small groups, it’s important we know what unites and holds us together.
We belong to the same church because:
1. We have the same values in common.
2. We have programmes and learning in common (e.g. Week of prayer, Training, Social activities, Church weekend, Bible study and congregation teaching themes)
3. We use events to draw together all the congregations e.g. for Baptisms and Dedications
4. We have common ways to communicate across congregations (notice sharing, intercessory prayer needs, website, mail outs)
5. We support a common set of mission opportunities overseas
6. We have a common team of staff who serve across congregations. We share buildings and support resources and a common purse.
7. We share in a common membership covenant and church meeting.
Church and Membership
We will try to avoid thinking that “the church” is a subset of Sunday morning congregation. Or as people who are ‘in membership’ of an institution. Our sense of belonging comes from being part of a congregation and a small group. Therefore, people can be members of the church and belong to any of the congregations.
We hope that as people move into a greater sense of commitment to God and to each other this will be expressed in church membership. We regularly encourage people from all our congregations and small groups to consider believers’ baptism and church membership.