Category Archives: The Church

A weekend of celebration!

We have an exciting weekend ahead of us (at least 2 things).

1.) Tomorrow we will be celebrating 7 years of God’s gracious hand at work in and through us as a church. We will gather together at 4pm at Library Park. The Goodness (food truck) will be ready to serve food. You can also bring a picnic. We will provide Kona Ice (snow cones) and cupcakes for everyone! Please make every effort to join us. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and a lawn game if you have one, and come prepared to enjoy the family!

2.) Sunday morning we will be commissioning Sergei and Sarah Yepishin to continue the work of planting The Town Church / Greeley. This will be their last Sunday with us at The Town Church / Fort Collins. We will be sending them and their team out with prayer and the celebratory cupcake between services. This has been 4 years in the making. God is at work transforming lives with His gospel and we are grateful beneficiaries!

This weekend is a weekend of celebrating the fact that God is able to do far more abundantly than anything we can ask or think!! You won’t want to miss our gathering together as a family. Be there!

Is Church Optional for Christians? (guest post)

I remember hustling out of my little dorm room one Sunday morning. I was terribly late (per usual) for church, and it was always a touch embarrassing to show up late as a Bible school student. As I slipped on one shoe, I reached under the bed with a thrashing hand, hoping it would find the other (thankfully, that hand found a matching set and put those on instead). When I finally made it to the elevator, still pulling on my coat while holding my keys between my teeth, a girl on my hall was just climbing into a chair in the lounge, wrapped in a bathrobe, coffee in hand. “Are you feeling okay,” I asked. “Oh, yes,” she said confidently. “I just decided that I’m going to do Church right here this morning.”

I’m sure I smiled one of those awkward smiles that is one part confused and another part social pleasantry; thankfully, the elevator doors opened and I got on.

I have carried her words with me for years since. The image has haunted me in a way: a woman sitting alone in an empty room “doing Church” by herself. It is an oxymoron, a contradiction, because you cannot “do Church” on your own. Here are three reasons why:

1. Church attendance is a visible expression of an invisible reality: that you are a member of Christ’s Body.

In early church writings you’ll find the Latin phrase extra Ecclesiam nulla salus scattered throughout. This phrase, translated “outside of the Church there is no salvation,” makes us Protestants rather nervous. We get a bit uneasy when we start tying the Church to salvation. But what this phrase means is this: you cannot become a member of Christ without also becoming a member of His Body, the Church. This phrase doesn’t mean that salvation only comes from a priest, pastor, or the pope, but that no one is joined to Christ in salvation without also being joined to the people of God.

To be a part of the Church is precisely to be one member of a much larger people; no one believer can be the Church on their own (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). The Body of Christ is a universal, physical reality; Christ looms through Creation by His Spirit that inhabits believers across the globe. And if you claim to be a member of that Body then we will find you within the Body, doing the things that the Body is doing, going the places the Body is going (Ephesians 4:16). If you claim to participate in Christ, it would very naturally follow that you would also be participating in His Body.

2. Church attendance is a physical practice that forms us.

We live in a culture that preaches “you are what you do.” That’s why when you go hiking you take your picture and post it on Instagram; as you build your online identity, you document what you are doing, because that is how we define ourselves as a culture. If a girlfriend really like to run, we say, “She’s a runner,” because what she does embodies who she is. Also consider that, the more she runs, the more her life is shaped by her running habits. She’ll buy the clothes, change her schedule, and her body will literally change as she grows more and more into a “runner.”

Ironically, as Westerners we have bought into this idea in all kinds of social media areas, but when it comes to church attendance, we change our tune. “No, really, I am a Christian, I just don’t go to church.” But identity and practice are too intrinsically linked for that. Like our friend who runs, we, too, develop our identity and are formed by what we do. As Christians go to church we embody the identity with the Body of Christ that we claim. As we sit in the pews we are taught to wait patiently for the coming of the King, as we kneel for confession we remind ourselves that our God is greater than we are, as we listen to the sermon we are reminded that His Words are our authority, and as we rub shoulders with other believers we are reminded that we are not in this alone. For Christians, church attendance is a physical practice that forms us into the identity that we claim.

3. Church attendance is Christian obedience.

In the West, we have adopted a church culture that is heavily based on preference. If I don’t like the worship style at the church, I’ll attend another; if our congregation doesn’t agree on worship style, we’ll offer two different styles of worship services. And while this is not entirely bad, it certainly isn’t a foundation we want to build our theology or our churches on. Because, like it or not, I have yet to find a church that meets my preference of staying in bed on Sunday mornings in my PJs. Preference can (and will) only carry us so far.

Participation in the Body of Christ is not optional for believers, but is a matter of obedience. The Word of God makes it imperative that we don’t neglect the gathering of believers (Hebrews 10:24-25), and reminds us that faith festers in community, in the gathering together of believers (Colossians 3:16).

While verses serve as an encouragement to believers, I recognize that they do not adopt the tone of command or a call to obedience. But Christ does adopt an authoritative tone when He calls believers to the sacraments. Regarding the Lord’s Supper, He commands that, when believers meet together (the Text assumes that they do) they receive the elements of communion. Jesus goes so far to say that those who do not participate in the Supper, those who do not receive His body and blood through communion have no life in them (John 6:53-58). Likewise, the Word of God commands believers to be baptized and to baptize (Matthew 28:19, Galatians 3:27, Acts 2:41, Acts 22:16). The grace that is extended in the Supper and baptism cannot be received in isolation. You cannot give yourself communion or baptize yourself; they are primarily and fundamentally acts of community. Commanded to participate in these means of grace, believers must participate in the local church as a matter of obedience.

[Of course, there are those who cannot regularly attend a local church due to health constraints, or other limitations. This is the case for friends and family members who I love dearly, who work hard to participate in church life to the extent of their abilities. This article does not aim to discount these efforts, rather to provoke initiative from non-church going believers for whom this is not the case. ]

This is a guest post by Amy Gannett. Amy is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, is a covenant member at The Town Church, along with her husband, Austin. She writes about church life, practical theology, and Christ-focused womanhood on her blog, Word and Craft.
You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @amycategannett.

Preparing for Worship – December 6, 2015

CALL TO WORSHIP

This week, we will begin our service with a call to worship God from Isaiah 12.

Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation. – Isaiah 12:2

What Child Is This

 

 

ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING & READING

This week marks the second week of Advent, where we remember that through the gospel of Jesus, we can have PEACE with God.

Sing to the King (purchase)

 

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (purchase)

 

 

PROCLAMATION

SingToTheKing2

This Sunday, we continue our Advent teaching series, Sing to the King. Each week, we will look at a traditional Christmas hymn to see the Biblical truths held within. This week we will look at O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

O come, O come Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people You will save
And give them victory o’er the grave

O come, O come Thou King of David, come
And open wide Your heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads us on high
And close the path of misery, O light

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

RESPONSE

We will then participate together in communion and rejoice in Jesus, our salvation.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel (purchase)

 

‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus (purchase)

 

Angels We Have Heard on High (purchase)

 

Learn the songs. Meditate on the scripture. Come worshipping to church.

See you on Sunday.

Are you a part of the body?

one body main slide (increased contrast)Over the past four weeks we have been looking at God’s Word to us about the church. We began with Paul’s words to the Colossian church about Jesus – “He is the head of the body, the church.” (Col. 1:18)  If Jesus is not central to everything we do and say as a church, we are off and it’s time for you to start looking for a different church. (You can listen to this sermon series here.)

After setting the foundation we answered the questions – What is the church? Who are her leaders? Who are her members? We looked at Paul’s words to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).  Each person who is a part of the church is a necessary part of the body. When you disengage from the body, you are an amputated limb. You miss out on being with us and we miss out on being with you.

So often we look at our connection to the church family in self-centered, pragmatic ways.  How will this be good for me? How will this benefit me? Those kinds of questions may come from a selfish heart. What is a better way of thinking about our connection to the body? Scripture does not give us laws about how often we should be around other believers. We can look at the descriptions in passages like Acts 2:42-47, but those are simply descriptions. Where Scripture doesn’t make laws, neither can we – so how do we proceed?  These kinds of things often become questions for our hearts to determine if we are in sin or not.

Below are some questions that may be helpful to ask yourself in an effort to see where your heart is in relation to your connection to the body.

  1. Does my occupation prohibit me from regularly being around other Christians from our church?
  2. If so, is it possible to change jobs/hours?
  3. Do my hobbies prohibit me from regularly being around other Christians from our church?
  4. If so, is it possible to find a different time for my hobby? Is it possible to find a different hobby?
  5. Are my hobbies more important than Christian community?
  6. Have I intentionally distanced myself from people who may challenge me on my thinking about the church?
  7. Have I intentionally chosen to circle myself with those who have the same view of the importance of the local church?
  8. Is my love of community itself greater than my love of what my church community prizes most (Christ)?
  9. Does my calendar reveal a heart that longs to worship God with the gathered body?
  10. Is it possible I have deceived myself into thinking my views and priorities regarding the church are correct?

There are probably other questions to consider as you think about your involvement in the body. If you don’t know the answers to the questions above, have someone in your church answer them with you.  Whether you know it or not, if you are a believer, you are a necessary, valued, loved part of the One Body with many members.