KING’S CHURCH BLOG


11th June 2015

The Alpha and Omega of King's

Can you remember the first time you came to church? Maybe you've grown up in a Christian family and have always been involved in church life. But if it's all new to you, how does King's help you make the journey from passer-by to part of the family?

It may seem obvious, but our first and most important way of reaching out to people is through our Sunday meetings. This is where we attract the most visitors, and both meetings have different appeals. While our morning meetings have plenty for families and have the largest number of people, our evening meetings are much more relaxed, taking place in Coffee Box with a more acoustic feel to worship and smaller numbers, which for many is a great introduction to church.

One person who was new to church and started coming to King's last year said, "From the moment I entered the doors I felt warmly welcomed and the atmosphere was great. I could immediately tell that I was going to like it. The preach that evening spoke so many words to me – I felt like it was chosen just for me. Everyone in the church was so lovely and wanted to speak to me and make me feel included."

The church also runs plenty of regular events throughout the week, whether that's our parent and toddler group Totz Klub or our lunch club for the over 55s, while the Hastings Centre hosts a range of activities, from mid-week fitness groups to film nights at our café, Coffee Box. With an estimated 2,600 visitors coming through our doors each week, excluding Sundays, there's plenty of opportunity for those who are new to hear about King's and join us on Sundays.

Plenty of new visitors are interested in exploring Christianity for the first time, and this is where our Alpha course comes in. Our last course started with a taster evening that attracted over 100 people. Hosted in Coffee Box, the night included a free curry for every guest and video testimonies of changed lives from members of King's. From this, nearly 30 people (more than we've ever had on one Alpha course) signed up for the course itself, which began a week later.

The Alpha Course is for anyone, even with little or no experience of Christianity. It's a setting to hear about some of the ideas underpinning the faith, explore different topics and ask any questions – nothing is too outrageous! Some of the topics we explored on the last course included: "Is there a God?", "Who is Jesus?" and "What happened at the Cross?" During the Holy Spirit Day, which was dedicated to understanding and receiving from the Holy Spirit, several experienced him for the first time; and in another session exploring the area of healing, we were thrilled to see guests healed of aches and pains there and then. But even more exciting was the fact that several had given their lives to Jesus for the first time during the course, which we love to celebrate! You can read about some of the testimonies of guests who were on the course here.

The Alpha Course was so popular this year that we decided to run three 'Alpha Plus' sessions after the main course had finished. These seemed to be the natural next step, and we were able to cover more advanced questions, such as "What is prayer?" and "What is the Church?"

A guest from our most recent Alpha course said, "I was healed during one of the Alpha sessions. The Holy Spirit day was mind-blowing, I've never witnessed or felt anything like it."

After the Christmas break, with plenty of opportunity for those finishing Alpha to visit us at our Christmas event the Greatest Gift, our Foundations course began. Taking a step forward from Alpha, our Foundations course aims to lay down the fundamental truths to Christianity. It's primarily for new Christians, although this year there was an opportunity for anyone who was ‘still looking’ after Alpha to join in the group discussion. The seven-week course followed a curriculum set by former lead elder of King's, John Groves, and this time there were short interviews with mature Christians on different areas of faith, as well as the chance to clear up Christian jargon and discuss the practical applications of living with this faith. The course was a success, as you can find out here.

Several people committed their lives to Jesus throughout the two courses, which is really exciting! This is our hope in running the courses, and we're so pleased to see people know Jesus for themselves. In Scripture we read that one of the first things we should do when we give our lives to Jesus is to be baptised (we see it in the gospels, even in the life of Jesus). In November, we had the privilege of baptising 12 people; in February a further six; and in June another nine. These 27 made a public commitment of their faith our wonderful Saviour.

Following the courses and baptisms, guests this year have been invited to join a small group specifically running for them. It can be easy to let people 'fall through the gap' when finishing these courses, especially when the next step is to join a church of around 400, which can be daunting, so small group life is an important way of integrating new people into the life of King's.

They've also had a flavour of church life through serving. This year is the first time we've invited people to serve on the back of a Foundations course, and it is so key in demonstrating the love that God has shown us and participating in our family life. There are plenty of areas to get involved at church, from helping on the welcome team (which for some echoes their first experience of church) to helping to set up meetings, and much more.

Those who have learnt about the basics of Christianity afterwards also have the option to take part in an Exploring Membership course, our most recent of which ran this month. This is a chance for anyone who thinks they might want to become a member of King's to explore, in two sessions, what values we uphold and what the vision is for the future. Exploring Membership gives people the chance to ask questions about this particular church and decide whether they want to commit to church life here.

There are so many other courses that King's runs, which are open to all: the Parenting Course, the Marriage Course, (which attracted non-Christians for the first time this year), and the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Money Course, which has been helpful in giving principles for effective money management and helping people to stay out of debt. Even for people who aren't Christians, these sessions are full of valuable teaching and principles that are applicable to various areas of life. Our aim is to practically equip anyone for day-to-day life, and in doing so we want to share God's love with them.

It can be easy to recognise the huge amount that King's does in the process of welcoming new people, but we don't want to forget that the reason for all of these courses, events and meetings are not just so that we can create a bigger club. We want to see people enter into a relationship with Jesus that goes from strength to strength! We're grateful for the opportunities God gives us to see this happen in numerous lives, and hope and pray that through us God will continue to grow his Church.


Sian Francis-Cox

Posted by Sian Francis-Cox
14:13

    

30th January 2015

Firm foundations

What does it mean to follow Jesus? New Christians have been exploring this question and the practicalities of living life as a believer on our Foundations course this month.

Running on seven Thursday evenings throughout January and February, the course is well underway, with over 20 attending regularly and learning about the practical applications of prayer, reading the Bible and developing a living relationship with God. Building on previous Foundations courses that have focused on laying foundational truths to the faith, the current sessions also have a strong emphasis on helping individuals to walk with God in a way that works for them.

Each session across these weeks includes a five-minute 'interview' with a member of King's, answering questions on a particular aspect of their faith – for example, prayer – and giving insight into the way that they've learnt to connect with God in this area. After this, there is a short teaching session, and there are follow-on sessions to complete at home to reinforce learning. (We believe that you're never too old for homework!) There is also space for questions and answers within small groups, making sure that every question, comment, and even each word of Christian jargon, is clarified.

Andrew Bunt, who heads up the course, says: "The Foundations course so far has been brilliant; it is so exciting to see how God is working in the lives of each person in the group and to be able to help them as they build their new lives with God."

To help individuals discover the best way of developing a daily walk with Jesus and to lay hold of the truths explored on the course, we also have a variety of resources available after each session, including books, CDs and pointers to sermons and online resources. Our hope is that these will encourage people to learn and know more of God for themselves.

We are instructed in Colossians 2:6-7 to "continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built in Him, strengthened by the faith as you were taught". In light of this, please pray that those attending would really benefit from the rest of the course, learning truths and principles that will set them up for the future. Please also pray that the team would continue to communicate these important truths effectively and with wisdom, and that from this we would continue to see King's grow.


Sian Francis-Cox

Posted by Sian Francis-Cox
15:23

    

6th January 2014

Building on solid foundations

How important are foundations? We’ve had many storms recently: torrential rain and strong winds. The subsequent flooding can cause huge damage but it rarely makes a building move. That is because our buildings are built on very firm foundations. A lot of time is spent making sure a foundation is solid and sure so that the building it is built upon will stand firm.

In Matthew 7, Jesus told a parable of two buildings being built: one on a rock; the other on sand. This was always a favourite story of mine when I was a small child. Its central point is simple to understand even for small children. Jesus said that His teaching was foundational; he said we would be foolish to build on anything else. Strong words!

It’s always exciting hearing new teaching that we have never heard before, but everything should be built firmly on the foundational teachings of our faith. With the huge growth of the internet and the readily accessible wealth of information at hand, it can be very easy to build on weak foundations. That is why we developed a revised Foundations course here at King's. The eight-week course doesn't include everything we believe, but it features the foundations that the rest is built on. We look at key subjects such as repentance, faith, baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit, the Church, grace and quite a bit more.

The discussion format of the course is very similar to the hugely successful Alpha course, where a 10-15 minute presentation is given and then there is an opportunity to discuss, ask questions and benefit from the experience of the discussion group leaders.

Just as we should have a regular health check with our GP, it’s a good idea to have a regular check-up of the foundational truths of the Word of God in our hearts. For this reason, anyone could do the course, whether just coming off the Alpha course or established in the church for many years.

Our next Foundations course starts on Thursday 16 January. Sign up here.
Foundations Jan 2014


Adrian Pursglove

Posted by Adrian Pursglove
12:49

    

22nd January 2012

An apostle's fatherly input

Our preaching series on 1 Timothy kicked off this morning with Paul Mann outlining the theme of this epistle: the gospel leads to genuine, tangible change in the lives of those who believe it!

1 Timothy is a letter from the apostle Paul to his "true son in the faith" Timothy, who leads the church in Ephesus, and it covers a wide range of issues, such as gifting, sound doctrine, sex, church leadership, money, the roles of men and women, poverty, eternity, purity, discipleship, eldership, growing in God, mission and the apostolic.

As an apostle, Paul strengthened and cared for local churches (including Timothy's), laying foundations and catching up the local churches into the global mission of God's people. True apostolic oversight has to be relational: Paul's apostolic input to Timothy is built on the foundations of their very strong relationship – Paul became a father figure to him when Timothy was still in his late teens or early twenties, so Timothy would've eagerly devoured the instructions in this letter and responded to Paul's charge to stay in Ephesus and build the church there.

Verses: 1 Timothy 1:1-2

Food for thought:

  • Who do you receive honest fatherly/motherly input from?
  • Who are you 'training up' and fathering/mothering in the faith?
  • What genuine, tangible changes have you seen in your life since you became a Christian? What about in the last 12 months?
  • What has God called you to do and how can you best serve Him here in 2012?


Paul Mann

Posted by Paul Mann
11:45

    

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