Starting out with God
Maybe you’re new to the whole idea of going to church and you’re at our site to see how this whole thing works. Well many of us here at WCC, (including our senior pastor and some other leaders who weren't believers until their adult years) were once in those shoes too! While we could write a whole book on what we've learned about how to go to church, we've also found that it’s pretty straight forward. Here's some quick thoughts:
First, in order for attending church to have any lasting value in your life, you/we need to be reconciled to God. Only when we are in fellowship with God, can His Spirit properly do its work in our lives. So how do we become reconciled to God? Well, that's what Scripture calls the "Good News" or the Gospel. Here it is in a brief form (If you’d like ever more information on what the Gospel is, we’d recommend listening to this sermon on the Gospel).
To understand the Gospel, let’s think about who God is and who we are in relation to Him. You may already know that God is loving, merciful, and forgiving but He is also perfectly holy. The tragic reality is that all of us have violated his holiness by rebelling against his commands (see Romans 3:23 in the Bible--or just hover over the link). The Bible says that the penalty for our rebellion is death (Romans 6:23)—not just physical death but spiritual death as eternal banishment from him in Hell (Isaiah 59:2). However, our loving and merciful God has provided the solution to this very serious problem.
How? He sent Jesus to live a perfectly holy life and die on the cross as the substitute and sacrifice for our sins, suffering the punishment that we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). Three days later He rose from the dead and is alive today! This is God’s gift to us, but unless we receive Jesus’ forgiveness, we are still under God’s wrath.
Have you received this forgiveness? To do so, surrender to Jesus as Lord of your entire life. Admit to Him that you have rebelled against him. Ask him to forgive you and enable you to turn from sin and live for him. The Bible says that those who trust Christ alone for their salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) are completely forgiven (Romans 8:1) and adopted into God’s family (John 1:12)! Once you are reconciled to God, get plugged into Him by spending time with Him in daily Bible study/prayer, and involvement in a Bible-teaching church (like WCC!)
If you’re just beginning your walk with Christ, it might seem like going to church is a huge shift in your lifestyle. Perhaps your Sunday mornings used to be primarily about getting errands done or sleeping in. We understand, we’ve been there too. We encourage you to keep on coming out. Make church a strong part of your life, not just every now and then, but pretty much every week. Think of it as an appointment with the Lord. Just like how you wouldn’t break an appointment with the president of the USA, in the same way, keep your daily appointment with God in your Bible reading/prayer and your weekly appointment by going to church and assembling with His people.
Also, as soon as you're ready, start getting involved with the church life. The church is like a living organism--we all have a role and place. You may find it amazing, but God has a place for you in His church family. Come on out to the social activities (we call them fellowship events). Join us for the holiday services like Good Friday and Christmas Eve. If you have children, get them involved in our childrens/youth ministries. Perhaps most importantly, get involved in a Small Group. Small Groups are a great way to get to know other Christians, be used by God, and grow in your walk with Him. As you spend time with God's people, He will guide and bless you. The progress in your faith may seem unnoticeable at first, but looking back you'll be surprised at your spiritual growth that was the result of consistent commitment to these important aspects of the Christian life.
Hopefully you have plenty more questions. We recommend you contact one of the pastors to set up an appointment to find out more about how to live out your new life in Christ.
Pastor Russ can be emailed here.