The Crowded House
It’s about time I tell you all about the wonderful church we have been a part of in our time here in Sheffield. What a true blessing it has been to be part of the Crowded House, a community that is so welcoming and on mission, driven by what they know to be true in Christ. We have felt so loved and cared for by the people who attend this church, whether it’s through providing meals, washing machines, or teaching from the Word, the members of the Crowded House have been a constant encouragement and support throughout the summer. Last week we had a training session with two of the elders from the church, they talked about three words that are at the center of the church-- Word, Community, Mission. The ideas behind these words are played out in the way they meet, and as a congregation.
Our team was able to join different life groups within the Crowded House for the summer. Life groups have about 10-20 people in them and are separated into ‘ministry targets’. My life group is called Nations and it focuses on reaching international students as they come from all over the world to take classes at the university here. Other groups focus on ministering to Muslims, families with young children, young professionals, college students, etc. They spend time weekly eating meals, studying the Bible, and spending time in community with people they are ministering to. One thing that has been really cool to see is that Christian community plays a huge role in showing people who Jesus is. How are people to understand that Christians are broken, weak people, if they don’t see it in the day to day life of a believer? How are people supposed to understand forgiveness if they don’t see it played out before them between believers? The Crowded House really emphasizes the importance of relational evangelism, and our team has really seen the benefits of it. My life group hosts a potluck lunch every Sunday for international students to come and eat after church. It has been a great way for us to get to know both international students and the people in our life group.
The first time we went to a Sunday gathering (church service), our whole team was blown away by the worship. Maybe it’s because the building has really good acoustics, or maybe everyone is just singing their hearts out-- but it is definitely one of my favorite parts of the service. Also, the very distinct British accent while singing is a nice touch. Most people get there early, or stay late to chat over a freshly brewed latte or americano (they have their own espresso machine). One thing that stuck out to me from the Sunday gathering is the way they talk about the Bible. Instead of asking what someone thought of the sermon?’, they ask ‘how did God speak to you in the sermon?’. This simple word change helps to show that the word of God is living and active, and that God truly speaks to us directly through his word. This even affects the way that they worship; many of the lyrics to the songs we sing are taken directly out of the bible. And throughout the service scripture is read as a congregation to meditate on the truths of the word. We have loved observing and learning from the Crowded House and worshiping with believers from across the world.