I joined Bishopbriggs Free Church in June 2017 with my wife and my two kids aged 2 and 5. Coming from a large City Centre congregation, this was a big move for me and the family to make. So what's it been like? Well if you are thinking about visiting for the first time or coming here regularly, here are 5 discoveries I've made in the short time we've been here that I hope will give you a little bit of insight into what Bishopbriggs Free Church is like.
1. The Word is Central
One thing that is very evident as soon as you attend a service at Bishopbriggs FC is that the word of God is the central focus point of everything else that goes on. The Pastor often preaches through whole books of the bible which means every aspect of God's word needs to be explained and applied from that book. The result is that challenging truths that are not commonly preached in churches are presented. I have been challenged and encouraged in equal measure since joining this church and have experienced a deeper understanding of who Jesus is, what His free grace means for my life and how I can live in a closer relationship with God.
2. Age Doesn't Matter
Some of the searching questions my wife and I had before we started coming to this church were 'how easy is it going to be to get to know people' and 'are our kids going to settle in well?'. Naturally we were expecting this to be easier with folk of a similar age to us and likewise for our kids. What we have soon come to realise however, is that age really doesn't matter. There is such a diverse range of people, backgrounds and ages in Bishopbriggs Free Church, which has made it very easy to form relationships and find common interests with lots of different people. Clearly this is still a work in progress however I am no longer thinking about who I'm closest in age to, but rather who I can encourage and be encouraged by and learn from in the ups and downs of our Christians lives. I've found the same to be true with my kids. Sure they love to run around causing havoc with the other kids in the Sunday School, however one of the most enjoyable times they've had so far since joining the church, was an evening spent playing building blocks with two of the oldest members of the congregation. I see Bishopbriggs FC as a family, where people of all ages use their various skills, talents and experience to serve one another.
3. Opportunity to Serve
Another area which has been really encouraging is the many ways you can serve. Bishopbriggs Free Church has been growing steadily in recent years and with it comes a growing need of people to get involved in the day to day running and upkeep of the church as well as ministry and missional work. The Kirk Session (who are a group of men elected by the congregation to lead and teach) are always open to considering new ideas to improve the building work, social or outreach activities and are always on the look out for people with skills or talents to serve, or even just people to roll up their sleeves to help get things done.
4. Community Spirit
As most of the people who come to BBFC are from the local area and nearby surroundings, there is a strong sense of community spirit. Church life is interwoven with weekly life and is not just confined to a Sunday. This can be simple things like families meeting up together to have dinner during the week or church wide social and fellowship events in the evenings or weekend. There is also a real heart for the surrounding community that have physical or spiritual needs. The church building is used by various charitable organisations however we are praying for God's guidance to open doors to help us meet with and serve people in the community more and more.
5. God is at Work
The fifth and final observation in this blog (there have been many others) is that God is clearly at work. I'm not talking about flames of fire coming down from heaven and an outpouring of the Spirit like the Day of Pentecost (although wouldn't that be a wonderful thing), however slowly and steadily God is building up Bishopbriggs Free Church which once had a modest attendance and now has a wealth of men, women and children coming along every Sunday. The growth has not just been in numbers, God has richly blessed the congregation with the provision of a passionate gospel Pastor who preaches powerfully from the word every Sunday and challenges and encourages us to grow in our faith and love of the Lord Jesus. The journey is far from over for Bishopbriggs Free Church, in fact in some ways it feels like it's at a new beginning which is all the more exciting. I am eager to see what God has in store for this church as it prepares for the road that lies ahead.
Hopefully these 5 points have provided a useful insight if you're new to the church or are thinking about coming along for the first time. These are just my observations, if you want to know what it's really like, probably the best thing to do is to come along and find out for yourself.