Sing and Sing Loud!

We all know that singing always has and always will play a central part in our worship of God.

“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5v19)

We love singing at Rock Baptist Church.  We might not be the best singers, but we’re certainly enthusiastic.  And Spurgeon would approve.  I was reading his thoughts on Ps 51 and enjoyed this closing comment…

We must sing of the finished work of a precious Saviour; and he who knows most of forgiving love will sing the loudest.

Let’s sing to our Lord.  And sing LOUD!

Welcoming Church

We are not a perfect church, but I have to say that I think we are pretty good at making guests feel at home amongst us.  But, as in all things, we could do better.  To that end, Mike Houle’s wonderfully practical top tips are good to read and reflect on.  Here’s my favourite:

8. Just Don’t Stand There, Talk to Them! All of our welcome people and leaders are instructed to not just say hi to those entering, but to talk to them. Ask them questions, for example, how are you today or is there anything we can answer for you about our church? Or even ask them about the weather or the Packers. (I am from Wisconsin. Trust me it makes a difference.) The point is to engage them in conversation, even a brief one. Imagine being invited into a home, walking into the home, and being ignored. Too often we miss this simple fact of treating people like we want to be treated. So, go ahead and talk to them!


Rock Baptist Church is an evangelical church.  That’s where we begin as we define ourselves to guests.  We are very aware of the problems with that term – most notably that its definition has become somewhat broader in recent generations than it used to be be.  Perhaps we need to add terms like ‘classic’ or ‘historical’ to our self-defined term ‘evangelical.

When we use the term, we mean that it is the ‘evangel’, the good news of Jesus Christ, which defines us in the first instance.  At least that is our hope, our prayer and our intention.  It is the good news of Christ, revealed in the Scriptures, of the Triune God’s plan to save a people from sin and death and judgement for himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  That’s a lot to pack into a single sentence.  Perhaps you’d rather view of more comprehensive ‘Statement of Faith.’  This wonderful good news from God for all of humanity is the foundation upon which we build, it is the flag around which we rally, it is the fence by which we promote truth and refute error.

But, whilst we are never less than evangelical, we are more than evangelical.  As with every congregation, we seek the Scriptures and reach conclusions about how God would have us structure church life to his glory.  To that end, we are a deliberately, thoughtfully, decidedly, joyfully Reformed, Independent, Baptist church.

We say so because we believe that unity is best fostered in an atmosphere of doctrinal clarity rather than ambiguity.  It is by defining the doctrines which shape us as a Christian community at Rock that we see clearly what holds us together and where the limits of toleration lie.

To further this drive for clarity, and more importantly to edify ourselves in God’s Word as we considered these key parts of our worship, we have recently enjoyed a short sermon series on the Sacraments – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  These are now available for download here and here.

In addition to these ecclesiological distinctives, we are also sometimes asked about our understanding of what the Scriptures teach about unity with other churches and about women’s ministry in the church.  If you want to find out more, this sermon on 1 Tim 2 will help you better understand our position on women’s vital role in the congregation.   Furthermore, on matters of unity and women’s ministry in the church, we share a common position with our fellow FIEC churches articulated in documents here (on unity) and here (on women’s ministry).

For guests wanting to find out more about Rock Baptist Church, we hold regular church membership classes.  Do ask Mike Partridge or Sarah Ackroyd for details of the next course.

Idolatry in Corporate Worship

You will have perhaps seen the new banner on the front page of our website.  We are finally going public with our vision for church planting in the new housing developments near Trumpington, Cambridge.  It’s an exciting time for us as a church.

Part of the process of considering the church plant involves, for us at least, weighing up the impact such a project will have back at base.  Who might we send?  Where will the gaps in our various ministries be?  Can we cope with such a sacrifice and will God provide for our needs?

God has always proved faithful to us in our previous church planting endeavours.  We thank God for His provision for us and our sister congregations – Grace Church in the north of the city, and Hope Community Church in Teversham, south of the city.  Yet still, we want to carefully and prayerfully consider the costs for this new adventure.

One important area of church life that has been impacted by each church plant, and may well be again, is our corporate worship.  When we gather as a church on Sunday mornings and evenings, we aspire to preach, pray, sing, and do all things as well as we can for the glory of God.  We want the Bible to shape all we do; we want to honour God by being orderly in all we do; we want to ‘fix our eyes on Jesus Christ’ in all we do.  Yet to do these things in practice, we are dependent on good folks participating, good folks some of whom may be sent with a church plant.

It is into this mindset – the above seems to dominate my thoughts and prayers at the moment as perhaps they should – that I came across this great article by Bob Kauflin, Director of Sovereign Grace Music.  Reading it helped me see afresh where those idols in my heart are with regard to our corporate worship at Rock, and helped me fix again on what really matters to God.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” John ends his first letter. In other words, don’t see anything but God’s glory in Christ as the source of your greatest joy, deepest satisfaction, and highest authority.

Idolatry can be active in my heart even when I’m gathered with the church. Whenever I think I can’t meet with God unless “X” is present, I’m making a profound statement. If “X” is anything other than Jesus Christ, and his Holy Spirit, I’ve moved into idolatrous territory.

We move forward in considering church planting trusting that God will provide, and prayerful too that God will impress upon us afresh just what really matters in church life and corporate worship.  Soli Deo Gloria, as the old Latin-loving saints used to say.