Updated: Mar 2, 2020

As we prepare to become an independent church we're in the process of drafting the Village Church Handbook. The purpose of this Handbook is to give people the information they need in order to decide whether they can commit to the Village Church. Here is an excerpt about our theological convictions...

True churches - and true Christians - will hold different theological convictions. Agreeing with our theological convictions isn’t necessary in order for a person to become a member of the Village Church. However, it should be noted that the Village Church holds the following theological convictions:

We are reformed. Christians believe that a person is saved in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.. However, Christians differ on their understanding of God’s part and humanity’s part in salvation. At the Village Church we place the emphasis on the activity of God in saving sinners. God acts so that we can act. ‘[We] were dead in [our] transgressions and sins … But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead … For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…’ (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 8-9).

We are complementarian. Christians believe that God created men and women entirely equal: ‘So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27). However, Christians differ on their understanding of the roles of men and women. At the Village Church we believe that men and woman have different roles in the home and in the church, concluding that leadership in both is for men (Ephesians 5:22-25 and 1 Timothy 2:11-13). Although the role of leader is for men, we believe it is essential for everybody to use their gifts in the church: ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms… To him be the glory … for ever and ever’ (1 Peter 4:10-11).

We are baptist. Christians believe that Jesus commissioned his followers to baptise. However, Christians differ on their understanding of baptism. At the Village Church our position is credobaptist and we practice believers baptism. We believe that baptism is for those who have responded to Jesus in repentance and faith. Baptism is a sign that salvation has already taken place - it is a sign that a believer has been united with Jesus in his death and resurrection: ‘We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life’ (Romans 6:4). However, we do operate an ‘open membership’ policy, which means we warmly welcome Christians who are convinced by the paedobaptist position.

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

We're really encouraged that Simeon has applied to become a member of the Village Church. In his own words, here is his testimony of God's grace in his life...

I had the privilege to be brought up by strong Christian parents, and so from a young age I attended church and heard about Jesus. My parents also read the bible and prayed with me on a daily basis. I can remember one evening, when I was around 5 years old, my mum was praying with me and thanking God that he sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins, to take our place. I think this is the first time I really grasped the Gospel, I realised that I was a sinner and needed a saviour and saw that Jesus came to be that saviour. I prayed that night that Jesus would forgive my sins and change my heart. Although this sounds like a simple prayer, and I was very young, I believe that this is when my faith in Jesus began. At this time I didn’t understand everything, and I still don’t, but I knew enough.

But being raised in a Christian household, I wasn’t exposed to so many of the temptations of the world and my faith was rarely tested. Growing up through school though, I soon became a ‘Sunday Christian’. I knew all the answers in Sunday school and acted in a Christian way around home and church, but at school and around my friends I got distracted and didn't have the courage to stand out as being different for Jesus. As I grew older this distinction became more obvious. Most of my friends at school knew I was a Christian, but no more. I knew that Christ had made a change in my life, but I never really understood the significance of this change, that following Jesus meant surrendering my whole life to Him, that he might work through me by his grace. I still wanted to be in control of my life to a certain extent. But I was growing as a Christian, through going to church weekly and things like summer camps, I was able to find out more of what it really means to be forgiven.

I’ve heard it said that University can either make you flourish or flounder as a Christian, and it’s certainly true for me that when I had the opportunity of a new start with new people around me, I changed massively for good. I think the main change was that I got more stuck into the Bible. I had always read the Bible and learnt from it, but when I came to university I started to love and cherish it. Through reading God’s word, his Spirit pointed out areas of my life that needed to change and gave me the power to defeat sin that still resided within me. This is an ongoing process.

As I look back on all that God has done in my life, I am grateful to him that I have done none of it by myself. With all my efforts I couldn’t change my heart in the slightest. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that I could have even heard about him! I also thank God that because of what he has done for me in the past, I can trust him for my future. I know that he has a plan for my life and even though it isn’t easy, I know that it ends with him, forever. In the meantime, he has given me his Spirit as a guarantee of what’s to come, so that I can be changed to be more like his Son and to help me share what’s been given to me with others.

Members of the Village Church only really have one real responsibility, and it’s this: …love one another. Jesus said: ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35). This is a command. If you’re a Christian this isn’t an optional extra. This is a duty. This is a demand. And it doesn't mean love one another half-heartedly. Jesus said: ‘As I have loved you – whole-heartedly - so you must love one another.’

But loving one another isn’t easy; loving one another is hard. Love is an attitude and an action. 'As I have loved you - as I have served you – as I have sacrificed for you – so you must love one another'. There are one-hundreds-and-one ways that members can love one another, but here are at least three...

The first way to love one another is by meeting together. The author to the Hebrews says: ...let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25). We meet together not first and foremost for what we can get, but first and foremost for what we can give. I think about how I can spur you on; you think about how you can spur him on; and he think about how he can spur her on. At the Village Church we meet together on Sunday morning for preaching, on Sunday afternoon for prayer, and those two times are a real priority for members. We also say that Home Group is a real priority. It can be easier to spur one another on in a Home Group, to encourage one another, and to love one another in a more personal and a more practical way. If we love one another as Jesus has loved us, even when we’re tired, even when it's tough, we’ll be at the Sunday Service, we'll be at the Prayer Meeting, and we'll be at Home Group.

The second way to love one another is by serving. In a previous post we noted that the church is the body of Christ and that Christians are members of the body. We’re all different members. I need you and you need me. Without us the body is weaker. With us the body is stronger. You might be an unappreciated member – like a finger. Seven weeks ago I fractured a finger. When you fracture one, you really appreciate each and every functioning finger. It might be that you serve in an unappreciated way, but that doesn’t mean you’re not important. You really are! Or you might be an unseen member, like a lung. But like a lung, you might breathe life into the Village Church. You might not do that in a public way. You might not be at the front on a Sunday morning preaching a sermon or playing a solo. But week after week, you breathe life into the Village Church in a private way. Maybe it’s not in a formal way either. You might not have a role but you might have relationships, and week after week you're loving people. For example, if you open your home to people at the Village you will be breathing life into our church.

The third way to love one another is by giving. In 2 Corinthians 8 the apostle Paul says to the church in Corinth: I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love... And he goes on to say that a test of their sincere love is their giving. If we really love Christ, and if we really love the church, we’ll give. The apostle Paul says we’ll give generously, and as much as we’re able, and it will be our privilege. In fact, he says we’ll have a desire to do so, we’ll be eager, we’ll even welcome the opportunity to do so. We won’t give grudgingly, or reluctantly, or under compulsion, but cheerfully, abundantly, and thankfully. We’ll thank God that we have the opportunity to give.

As members of the Village Church, there are one-hundred-and-one ways that we can love one another. Meeting, serving and giving are just three of them.

Sunday at 10:30am

Mangotsfield Primary School

Emersons Green

Church Farm Road 

BS16 7EY

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