Catz Christian Union - Churches

Catz Christian Union - Churches

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Catz CU has members who attend many different churches across Cambridge ‑ we at Cambridge are in a really fortunate position to be in a city full of Bible-believing churches! This page is designed to show from the Bible why church is supremely important for Christian believers to attend regularly, and what we should be looking for in a local church.

If you have questions, want more info on Cambridge churches or want to chat about church in general, do email the reps! We'll have a chat in over email, in person, or match you with someone else who can answer your question.

Why bother with church?

1) Church is like an embassy of heaven (Hebrews 12:22-23)

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly [or church] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

The writer of Hebrews is making the point that Christians are far better off than the Israelites in the Old Testament ‑ Christians, having accepted God's forgiveness, are free to have a relationship with Him. We're also shown that, although we're not there yet, the local church acts as a sort of outpost for heaven, and when we gather on a Sunday we experience a little of what heaven is like.

2) At church we encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25)

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

The writer's point is clear: church is critical for building up and encouraging Christians to keep going in their faith, and this becomes more and more important as Jesus' second coming nears: “the Day”. If we think we're OK on our own without Church, perhaps listening to a sermon in bed on a Sunday morning, we're in danger of making two mistakes:
  1. a) Arrogance: thinking we don't need encouragement from other Christians to thrive in our walk with God
  2. b) Selfishness: denying others the encouragement they would get if we were stuck into a local church.

What does a healthy church look like?

1) Jesus‑centred (Ephesians 2:19-20)

19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone ‑ without him the church would fall apart! A faithful church is built on Jesus: his sacrafice for us in the past, and his assuance of our future redemption, so it is a big problem if he is not preached at a service you go to.

2) Bible‑driven (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

A good church preaches from God's word: the speaker isn't communicating what they think the congregation should hear that week, but instead clearly presenting what can be seen from God's primary way of communicating with us ‑ the Bible. This also means that it is irresponsible to skim over parts of the Bible that people might find controversial, and that part of the job of the preacher is to correct the behaviour of the church members ‑ “reprove, rebuke, and exhort”. If all you ever hear at Church reinforces and affirms the way you naturally live your life, something is wrong! We're all sinful (Romans 3:23).

3) A place to serve (Ephesians 2:19-20)

19 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 20 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

The purpose of Bible teaching in a church is to equip the members to serve and encourage one another ‑ we've already seen how important this is in Hebrews 10:24-25. To use an analogy, church is more like a battleship than a bus ‑ everyone has a role serving one another (whether it's preaching, leading worship, stacking chairs, serving coffee or initiating encouraging conversations after the service), rather than passively sitting in the pews, letting a ‘bus driver’ preacher drive us along and leaving afterwards with no interaction with others.

4) A place to bring friends (2 Timothy 4:5)

5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Paul tells Timothy to do the work of an evangelist: we can all do this work by bringing out friends along to church! So, when choosing a local church, consider whether it's somewhere you would be able to bring their friends to hear God's word ‑ are the services welcoming and understandable to those who may not have a Christian background?

How to choose a church

There's no single answer to this, aside from using the passages above to inform your decision. Most students will make a shortlist of two or three churches they want to try and go to a variety of services in the first three weeks, while others will have decided on one church before getting to Cambridge and stay there for their time at university. To begin, have a look at this list of Cambridge churches compiled by CICCU. To help inform your decision, most colleges run a ‘church search breakfast’ for the first three weeks of Michaelmas (first term) and Catz is no exception ‑ the 2019 breakfasts are on the 6th, 13th and 20th of October.

At these breakfasts you will be introduced to Catz CU members who attend each church: they will tell you a little about the service, and offer to walk with you to church. This is something we're happy to do all year round ‑ even if you don't start going in freshers week, do send one of the reps an email or message someone who you know attends a Cambridge church, and they will be delighted to go with you to a service!