Not Just a Sunday Morning Thing

There's a lot to like about being here.

The seats are polyester upholstered and worn, they have this homely familiar feel. So do the round coffee-stained tables, each plastered by dried sticky rings from the thousand or more coffee cups that have at one time or another sat on them. Just like the one I'm sipping from.

Then there's the dark panels of wainscoting, the open plan space, the broad, wall-height window looking out onto the busy street.

It almost feels like this shouldn't be a church building - there's no spire, no pews, no pulpit. Just people.

But then isn't that what it was always about?

In the bible the word they'd use to refer to church was ecclesia - which literally meant 'the called out.'

I've always liked that word. Perhaps because the term was not strictly a noun. The church was not thought to be strictly a thing. Back then the church was thought of as a movement. And one who's impetus was to be called outward, not inward.

And so the goal then was not to bring people in, it was to extend the Kingdom of God out.

And so they met in one another's homes, they met in the city courts, they met in the marketplaces and promenades - in short, they gathered in venues and spaces that were public, social, and in the middle of things, places where people could be seen passing by on the street.

And so I guess that's what excites me about being here, in this coffee shop, having 'church' on a Sunday evening. Because it reminds me that a church is not a building, it's not a thing, and its aim is not to gather people - the church is people. People who choose to respond to God's voice, who choose to listen when they're 'called out', whether from their comfort zones, their schedules or whatever else to affect the world around them.

People like the ones in this room, setting up sound equipment, playing instruments, singing in worship, sharing life, and doing it all whilst being slap bang in the middle of the vibrant city streets of south Manchester.

It's our Christ Central evening meeting, coming together to spend time with one another and Jesus, every Sunday, 6.30pm.

We do it because we love God, we love His gospel, and we want to be part of seeing both affect the city we live in.

But as for why we meet in a coffee shop? Well, I guess because we like it. They serve good coffee. But more importantly we do it because although it may not seem all that traditional, it is very, very biblical. Just like the early church was. And just like Jesus is.

Maybe you should come along and see for yourself.