Okay. So these might not be frequently asked questions, but they may be questions you have about our new church. Here’s a little info about ourselves and what you can expect at our Sunday gatherings.
1.) When did Mount Hope Church start? MHC is a community that has been prayed for and anticipated for several years now. In short, we began meeting as a core team in September, 2015. We were commissioned by our sending church the following January. We then covenanted together as a church and began public worship gatherings in February, 2016.
2.) Is MHC part of any particular denomination? We are a kingdom-minded church that affirms the importance of diversity in the larger body of Christ. We believe denominations are a good thing in that they can preserve unity in the gospel amongst different churches, while simultaneously ensuring that Christians can worship God according to their conscience in regard to Scripture. For the sake of mission and a few key distinctives, we are in friendly cooperation with the Baptist Convention of New England. Our convention is not a denomination, but a network of churches who partner and give towards the work of international missions and church planting.
3.) If MHC could be described in one sentence, what would it be? We are a community that follows Jesus together as we seek to declare and display His good news.
4.) What exactly does that mean? We believe that no Christian is supposed to follow Jesus on their own. The church is a community that submits to one another as they also submit to Christ. It’s a community of interdependent relationships seeking to do life together in organic and spiritually intentional ways. We believe that the local church is the context in which we both display and declare the good news about the love of God in Christ (John 13:35).
5.) When does MHC meet on Sundays? We gather for worship on Sundays at 10:00am at the Colt School Auditorium. (574 Hope St.). Later, at 5pm, we gather in a home setting for a time of prayer, mutual encouragement, and brief meditation upon Scripture to close out the day together.
6.) What can I expect at any typical Sunday gathering? Our service is usually 1hr. 30min. It consists of singing, prayers, Scripture readings, an offering (don’t worry, we don’t expect visitors to give), an expositional sermon on biblical text (usually 45-50 min.), and partaking of the Lord’s Supper (communion). We also think it’s important to allow time for silent prayer and reflection. We open and close each gathering with a time of silence.
7.) Do your Sunday gatherings have anything for kids? Though we are still getting our bearings, we have supervision and a special program for kids 0-10 every service. Kids 5 and up can stay in the worship service and will be dismissed just prior to the sermon. We use The Gospel Project curriculum, which shows kids how the whole Bible points us to Jesus. Our volunteers are members of MHC who have been interviewed and gone through a proper background check.
8.) What should I wear? Preferably clothes! Wear whatever you would wear normally and in whatever makes you comfortable.
9.) Is your service contemporary or traditional? We really don’t want to waste time on what’s been called “the worship wars.” Our goal is to keep the gospel at the center and be a place where worship preferences are set aside for what’s really important. Our music is a blend of both traditional hymns and newer songs. We value content over style and congregational singing over musical performance. We also don’t want to pretend like we came up with our order of service yesterday. We stand in a long line of worshipers who have carried on a similar “liturgy” for thousands of years. We aren’t consumers who show up to get their fix, but a community seeking to be formed by God’s Word. Though the forms may change, the elements do not.
10.) Is there time to connect after the Sunday service? Yes! After the service we always have a time to connect with one another. Hospitality and fellowship are two things that go together and we desire to provide that to all who come to our gatherings. Coffee and light refreshments are always provided.
11.) What happens during the week? During the week, we seek to live as intentional Christians in our neighborhoods and workplaces. We seek to do life together in organic ways – like a family (e.g. eating together, helping one another, praying and reading a good Christian book together). That means taking seriously the words of our church covenant. In short, our approach is a “de-programmed” approach. Though there will come a time for community groups and structured times for discipleship, our goal is never to clutter people’s schedules, but to free them up to love and serve creatively and intentionally.
12.) How do I get plugged in? The church is a community, not a machine. We want to emphasize that your primary ministry in the church is to just be you. We’d much rather care for your soul than have you busy “doing stuff”. Every church has work to be done, but the most important work is the heart of every Christian. We ask that new members don’t serve in any specific ministry for the first 4 months, and to just focus on loving and being loved as they get connected to others in the church.
Do you have any other questions? Ask us at MHCBristol@gmail.com.