Our Sunday Services
What to expect
Our weekly worship gatherings are intentionally different in style and ethos. We describe our church as “multiple-congregational” and “multiple-campus.” In other words, we gather at differing times and in different locations, but one church community. We recognise that one-size doesn’t fit all, or to use a retail analogy, we have multiple shop-front windows. Think of a large shopping mall, where there are large stores and small boutique stores operating alongside each other and catering for different niche markets. Feel free to check out what we have on offer, as you may have the contribution we are currently missing!
Visiting a church for the first time can be intimidating so here’s a few pointers on what to expect:
WHAT WE DO
Ministries and Programmes
As a local church, we do most things typical of churches. There’s a lot more to who we are than those we call “core ministries” and ministries and initiatives rise and flourish according to available people, along with their passions and sense of God’s call. The following are what we will probably always do and represent the “core” of our enterprise:
HOW WE ARE GOVERNED
As a Baptist church we are governed by what is known affectionately (. . . and sometimes otherwise!) as “congregational government.” In short, this means that the ultimate human authority for our church is the congregation of members who meet to collectively discern the mind of Christ. As distinct from other forms of church polity, our church is not subject to the direction of bishops or dioceses or a wider presbytery, or even the direction of a national headquarters.
Congregational government means that every congregation (or local church) is competent to discern the will of God for themselves, rather than being told what to do by a higher authority.
In theoretical terms we prefer to say that we are led or governed by Jesus Christ as the head of His church. But that is what all forms of church would claim also. In practical terms it means the highest decision making (discernment) body is the membership as a whole, who have meetings from time to time throughout the course of a year.
Major decisions are voted upon as a means of testing the congregations consensus around a particular course of action, having brought to bear our best sense of prayerful discernment. This process is sometimes incorrectly perceived as being purely democratic, and therefore prone to opinions and the will of the people. We prefer to think of it more in terms of a spiritual discernment process, and that every member of the church (i.e. the priesthood of all believers) is capable of discerning God’s will and having a voice in our decision making process.
Congregational government, however, does not mean the leadership of all, or the management of the church by every member. It also does not infer the leadership of none. We believe the Bible speaks clearly about the appointment and follower-ship of appointed leaders. In our context one of the most important decisions a church meeting makes is the appointment of a senior pastor and the election of elders. Having carefully processed these appointments we expect our leaders to lead.
In effect our elders (of which the senior pastor is a member) give functional governance or oversight to the affairs of the church, and also accountability back to the members. Major decisions around issues like property or significant capital expenditure, and the approval of an annual operating budget (i.e. vision) are brought before the members. Thereafter the business of running or managing the church is delegated to the senior pastor and the staff team (paid and volunteer) who carry out the various ministry responsibilities. Effective congregational government has been described in these terms: The congregation owns (under God); the elders govern; the senior pastor leads; the staff and ministry leaders manage; and the congregation members minister.
We also like to say that the defining constitution for our church is the Bible. The Bible offers parameters for acceptable practice and direction, and if there is ever anything the Bible prescribes that we are not doing we assume the Bible to be correct and we amend our practice.
Of course, the Bible sometimes speaks more in terms of principles than exact practices, and so a Baptist church is typically governed by its adopted constitution. This document defines a number of practical issues around things like when and how members’ meetings are conducted, processes for membership and appointment of leaders, and other significant policy decisions that define our church and its charitable status. A church’s constitution is a living document and can change from time to time.
If you would like to read through the constitution for Hamilton Central Baptist Church please contact the church office (E: email@example.com; Ph: 07 838 0375 ext. 200) and we will forward you a copy.
COMMITMENT TO SERVE
We are committed to serving our community in the name of Christ and expressing the practical “hands and feet” of Jesus to the people we live amongst. Ministries and services to our community arise and flourish according to the availability and passion of people within our church who sense God’s call to a specific action. We’re always looking for new ideas and ways to serve our community. Contact the church office for further details on how you can become involved (E: firstname.lastname@example.org; Ph: 07 838 0375, Ext 200). Some of the current community ministries are:
Te Whānau Pūtahi
Commencing in the mid 1990’s, Te Whānau Pūtahi (The Family Centre) is a dynamic ministry outreach from HCBC, with a focus on bringing the good news of God’s kingdom amongst the communities of Fairfield and Enderley. It is like a combination of a Christian community development centre, a community “marae” and church fellowship – all rolled into one. Te Whānau Pūtahi services include an Early Childhood Education Centre, food parcels through the Combined Christian Foodbank Trust, aid with food insecurity including a weekly ‘Kai Time’ community meal, financial mentoring, family support and advocacy, drop-in centre, pastoral care, subsidised summer family camp, affordable table, chairs & trailer hire services, community events and also Sunday worship gatherings.
Shiloh – Flats for the Elderly
Since the early 1980’s HCBC has had a commitment to providing low cost housing for the elderly. Thirty-two units are located adjacent, and over the road, from the church campus and managed by a committee from the church. Residents live independently and enjoy a sense of safe community under the pastoral care of the church.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
HCBC became a CAP Debt Centre in 2013 offering structured support for people caught in the grip of financial debt. Our debt coaches and assigned “befrienders” help clients manage their resources according to strict and personalised budgets, negotiate with creditors and development of workable plans to regaining financial freedom. CAP is part of an international movement.
For more information or to see how you can join this ministry contact Glenda Caradus, HCBC’s Debt Centre Manager (P: 07-838 0375 ext 210 /0223184540.
Struggling with debt? Make an appointment to see the CAP Debt Centre team.
Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank
Along with a large number of churches in Hamilton, we have a relationship with and support the Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank. This service provides food for people in financial need who, regardless of their ethnicity, religious belief, gender or relational status, are referred by the participating churches and social service agencies. Members of our church donate food (a box in the foyer each week) and also facilitate access for those in special need. For more information please contact them directly on: 07-856 2521.