Meeting with a new group can sometimes be daunting, and church is no different. You may be used to certain ways of doing things, or maybe you’re not used to church ways and are wary of them. The aim of this page is to try to explain how we see being church, and what you might expect when you meet us for the first time. In fact, we should probably start with that word, ‘church’.
What is church?
These days, people usually use the word ‘church’ to describe a building. Yet, ‘church’ really just means a group of people gathering around Jesus. So, we don’t go to church, we are the church. The early church (a few centuries after Jesus’ time) had no buildings – they would meet wherever they could.
What about The Bridge?
The Bridge is very much about being ‘church’ in many different ways – and, hopefully, different to most churches you’ve experienced. We’re not just trying to be different for the sake of it, and we know that many people are happy with a regular setting – but we set out to reach people who, for one reason or another, haven’t found that they’re happy with a more traditional church.
The Bridge has always met in various ways; not just on a Sunday, and not just in the hall at Hastings High School. We meet in different groups and for different reasons.
How we meet
When we do meet, we try to overcome some of the barriers that many people perceive that sometimes stop them becoming part of a church. For example:
- We have no premises. Often, people can see a traditional church building as a kind of barrier to the church itself; so, we meet on neutral territory to overcome this – in a school hall; during the week in homes, coffee bars, pubs and more.
- We have no paid staff, and we run The Bridge via the Bridge Community Meeting, which meets roughly once a fortnight. The meetings are open, and minutes are freely available.
- Our Sunday Gatherings have a flexible format – and, because we set up fresh each time, we lay the room our to suit what we’re doing. Perhaps facing a screen if we’re watching a video, or in a circle if we’re having a discussion or praying together, or at coffee tables to discuss the recent news and events.
- We try to avoid as much of the jargon and preconceived ideas as we can. We use bible versions that use modern and accessible language (such as The Message and the New Living Translation), and we do try to explain why we do what we do. We try our best to assume no prior knowledge or experience of church or the bible.
- At Sunday Gatherings, we always have food to share as part of the time together. We make sure there’s enough to go around, so that you will be welcomed without feeling pressured.
Above all, we try to be as simple and authentic as we possibly can.
We hope the above is useful, but if there’s anything else you’d like to know, please just ask!