Going to a church for the first time can be a pretty daunting experience, so the purpose of this page is to try and answer some of the questions you might have.
- What is 'Church'?
- Why is our church called 'Providence'?
- Why is it described 'Baptist'?
- Do you have to be a 'member' to come along?
- What happens in a church service?
- Will I have to pay anything?
- Will anyone speak to me?
- Do I need a Bible?
- What if I don't understand what is said?
- What should I wear?
- What does our logo represent and why do we have one?
What is 'Church'?
Generally, whenever the word 'church' is used, people tend to think of the building, but in the Bible the word is used to describe not the building, but the group of people who gather. So the church, strictly speaking, is not bricks and mortar, but a community of people whose lives have been touched by God's love through faith in his Son Jesus Christ. So, 'going to church' is joining up with those who confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and collectively worshipping their Creator and Saviour.
Why is our church called 'Providence'?
Churches often have names, and ours happens to be Providence! According to the dictionary, the word 'providence' describes the 'foreseeing care and guardianship of God'. Back in the 1850's when this church was first formed, our founding fathers felt that the word 'providence' perfectly captured the amazing pre-vision and provision of God in providing the wherewithal to get this venture off the ground. Since that day God has continued to guide and provide in a wonderful way right down to this day, and because of that, we feel that the word 'providence' perfectly describes our situation.
Why is it described 'Baptist'?
It is a 'Baptist' Church because we baptise people by total immersion in a 'pool' upon their profession of faith. We do it this way because we believe that baptism is intended to be a visual illustration of what has happened spiritually and we see that in the fact that as we go down into the water, it represents our 'burial' - that is our break from our old way of life by the washing away of our sins, and then as we come up out of the water, that represents our 'resurrection' to a whole new life. We do not believe that there is anything magical about either the act of baptism or the water in which a person is baptised. The key thing is not the act of baptism, but the faith in Christ as Saviour that precedes it; baptism is the outward expression of an inward change.
Since this is our belief, it is not our practise to baptise babies, however we do hold thanksgiving services for babies in which we, as a fellowship, give thanks to God for the new life and pledge our support to the family and pray for God's blessing upon the life of the child.
Do you have to be a 'member' to come along?
No, everyone is welcome. You may be 'just looking', wanting to know more about the Christian faith; you may be wondering about whether there's more to life, or about whether there is life after death. Jesus said that those who seek will find and so we want Providence to be a place where you can feel free to just come along and see.
What happens in a church service?
We follow a simple order of service; it usually begins with the singing of a hymn, followed by a time of prayer, sometimes a children's talk and a scripture reading, followed by a further hymn before the main message, in which a passage of Scripture is explained and applied. The meeting usually closes with a final hymn and prayer. After the service there is a time for conversation. Typically the service lasts about an hour and a quarter.
Will I have to pay anything?
No! the church is supported by offerings made freely by those who attend. We take a collection during the service but you are under no obligation to contribute to the church. You would not be alone in not giving.
Will anyone speak to me?
One of the advantages of being a small church is that newcomers don't get lost in the crowd! We try to make everyone feel welcome without being overbearing, so if you want to stay and chat or simply leave right after the service it is entirely up to you.
Do I need a Bible?
We have a good supply of Bibles and hymnbooks that are available by the door when you come in, including large print versions (please ask).
What if I don't understand what is said?
Even the most experienced Christians are constantly learning new things, so it is quite normal to feel a little overwhelmed! However, please feel free to ask the preacher or church leaders about anything that is said or done and we will do our best to explain things. We are here to help!
What should I wear?
Some of those who attend will wear smart clothes, even the occasional suit and tie; others will wear very casual clothes. We would be glad to see you, whatever you are wearing. 'Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart'(1 Samuel 16:7).
What does our logo represent and why do we have one?
To establish and maintain a recognisable presence on the internet, social media, and in print, we have a logo, which represents Providence Baptist Church and what we stand for.
The logo itself is a monogram of the letter P and the cross symbol ✝. This combination represents the Providence of God found in the cross of Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind.