Why are there different churches when we should all believe the same thing?

Ever wondered why there's so many different kinds of churches?  They have all sorts of names too:

Church of England (or Anglican)

Pentecostal

Baptist

United Reformed

Catholic

Free Church

Brethren

Methodist

Elim

Assemblies of God

Newfrontiers

And there are loads of others too!


And what about Bright Idea Church???  What kind of church are we?  What do you call a church that meets in a pizza restaurant, does blogs, sings action songs and scatters more than it meets?  

You want the fancy name for it?

We are an INDEPENDENT EVANGELICAL church! 

INDEPENDENT means we're not officially part of a bigger group of churches (like the Church of England) but we ARE friends with lots of other churches in the area.  Other church leaders know about us and what we're trying to do and lots of them are very supportive and pray for us too. 

EVANGELICAL means we believe the Bible is God's words and we're trying to help everyone get to know Jesus.  Same as lots of other churches. 

So now you know!

 

But why are there so many different ones then?  

Well over the centuries, not surprisingly, Christians have had different ideas about the details of what following Jesus really looks like in practice or about how to do certain things, or about particular parts of the Bible and what they really mean.  They've usually agreed about following Jesus but disagreed about other things.  

This is a normal part of exploring and discovering the adventure of being God's family together and most of the time it leads to brilliant discussions, stronger faith, better understanding, greater impact and more people coming into relationship with God through Jesus!

But not always!  

Sometimes, over the years, Christians have totally fallen out and there has been sin, pride and lies too.  Not good!  But like all messed up situations, God is able to bring about something amazing and new, despite our failures.  And when churches or groups of churches have split, God has provided new opportunities for brilliant discussions, stronger faith, better understanding, greater impact and more people coming into relationship with God through Jesus!  

For one example of this, check out Martin Luther - Game Changer

 

Listen to what the Bible says about the church (all the followers of Jesus in the world).  It says the church is like a BODY, a BUILDING and a BRIDE...


The Church is like a BODY!  Each part (each Christian) united and joined together, playing a vital role!

Ephesians 4:16

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

The church is like a BUILDING!  Each member of God's family is like a brick in a temple where God himself lives, with Jesus as the Cornerstone who make sure the bricks are in alignment with him so we're strong...

Ephesians 2:22

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

 

And the church is like a BRIDE!  There's just ONE church in the world really.  ONE family of Jesus-followers who know God's forgiveness and love.  And this ONE church is like a bride in the biggest love story ever!  We're engaged and getting ready to be united to God forever in a world without sickness, suffering or death.  Better than any human marriage!  

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

 

The church is also a FAMILY.  God's family.  And like any family there are arguments but like any family, we're kind of stuck with them too and (as long as it's safe and possible) we have to learn to love one another, forgive one another and mend relationships when they break.  

That's what a healthy family does.  And in THIS diverse, mixed up family of Jesus-followers, we have God as our Father, Jesus as our Big Brother and the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  We'll be family together in heaven one day and loving it - so we may as well start practicing now!  

If you're a Christian, let's learn to love the family of God - the "Universal Church" that we're each a part of.

And if you're not yet a Christian, you're invited and welcome to hang out with us and we pray that one day you'll belong to the family of God too by trusting in Jesus!

John 1:12-13

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

 

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