A New Old Church!

54In her book, The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church, Diana Butler Bass speaks to the ways in which the church continues to change and reinvent itself.  Growing churches are those in which the leaders have reclaimed and embraced age-old Christian practices. Our leaders understand the importance of practicing the spiritual disciplines and creating church together. Ours is a faith of symbols deeply lived.  We experience life in community as disciples of Jesus Christ.  We are an active “new old” church!

We realize that belonging to a faith community such as ours—that place you call your “spiritual home”—doesn’t typically happen overnight.  For those who have been a part of the church for years, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be an outsider looking in.  Because of this, we take it upon ourselves to bring our care, concern and love to people in our community.  Having a nice, historic building on the corner of Plandome Road and Northern Boulevard in Manhasset, NY is quite convenient and helps us “do” ministry.  A building and a location, however, can never replace the invaluable experience of one-on-one relationship building.  This is why we put a strong emphasis on people reaching people.

The Book of Acts sheds much light on the vibrant church of the 1st century.  Take a moment to read Acts 2:42-47 Clearly, those early Christians turned the world upside down through their passionate worship and uncompromising commitment to God.  They demonstrated a contagious love by working together for a common cause, reaching people who were in need.  Many were attracted to Christ because of these efforts.

With those early Christians in mind, we seek to help people experience God’s presence, learn (and live!) Christ’s ways, and serve others in need. Our mission statement gets to heart of everything we are trying to do together.

We are also active in the following ways:

(1)    We Meet Often
Like the early Christians, we do not consider the church to be a social club.  We meet weekly on Sundays for two purposes:  to worship God and to build each other up in the faith.  Some of us extend our fellowship beyond Sundays by meeting for prayer or study throughout the week.  It’s important to note that during the 1st century many new Christians would frequently meet in their own homes (“house-churches”).  Their homes became schools of theology—places for devoted fellowship, worship and valuable instruction.  Meeting frequently in such settings affords the connectivity, accountability and comradeship we all need to grow spiritually.

(3)    We Look after our Members
Like the early church, we believe it’s crucial for us to share food, clothing, and housing with each other.  The Scriptures remind us again and again to care for all people.  This may involve writing a check or placing some cash in the offering plate.  Or, we might bring extra food and clothing as a donation.  Some of us may sit with someone and give the gift of our time.  Caring for one another isn’t optional.  “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).

(2)    We Study the Scriptures
The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) This teaching covered Jesus life and ministry and would eventually become a significant portion of the gospels we have today.  In his book, Discipleship Essentials, Greg Ogden writes, “Because the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the uniquely inspired revelation of God and the standard of truth in all matters of faith and practice, a portion of each day should be set aside to read, study, and meditate on God’s Word.  The Bible is to the spirit what food is to the body.”  We study the Scriptures after every Sunday morning worship gathering.

(4)    We are Passionate about Outreach
We strongly believe serving others is necessary and spiritually rewarding. Our outreach initiatives, like those of the early church, simply flow from our desire to bring good into the lives of other people.  We also enjoy sharing the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness with others.  Our message and actions echo that of the early church—where people feel valued, are considered important and are shown compassion in their time of need.

These are just a few areas our church is committed to.  As you talk to people here at the church they may share something else that is just as important.  The best way to learn and discover that we are an active “new old” church is to join us for worship or any other event we have coming up.

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