Reading City Church comes together in large gatherings for the purposes of alignment (hearing from God’s word & moving towards the same spiritual goals – Proverbs 29:18, Ephesians 4:11-15), equipping (Ephesians 4:11-15, 2 Timothy 3:14-16) and celebration (Psalm 107, Luke 15:23-24, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-11, Colossians 1:9-14). Presently, this main gathering happens on Sunday mornings.
Reading City Church recognizes that we are still the church, even when we are not in large gatherings. We are the church when we come together for Missional Community groups, disciple relationship & service (see below for both). We are the church when we are in our homes, our neighborhoods, on campuses and at our places of work. In short, church is not something we go, to but is intimately tied to our identity. Church is who we are, as the body of Christ, living all our lives, for His mission (1 Corinthians 3:16, Ephesians 2:19-22, Matthew 5:13-16, Matthew 25:35-40, Matthew 28:18-20, Isaiah 6:1-4). The Gathered Church becomes the fuel to live as the Scattered. Take either one away and we are not functioning as the baby church did in the New Testament nor can we realize our purpose. Both are needed.
The one thing Jesus asked His church to do before He ascended was to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). We believe that discipleship does not come about automatically as a result of programs or correct doctrinal teaching alone, but takes intentionally relational action. Discipleship cannot be boiled down to one thing (such as scripture study, working on behalf of the poor and rejected, prayer, evangelism, etc), but rather is a way of life in which we come to trust Jesus as our Lord and live out all He said to do. For Reading City Church, we ask people, when they are ready, to be a part of a one on one relationship for 8 weeks using a book that covers the major attributes of a Disciple, emphasizing mutual transparency & accountability (think “friends” rather than “mentors” or “spiritual coaches”). No one person makes disciples to themselves, but both are learning what it means together to be a disciple to Jesus. The disciplee then is encouraged to take others through the same 8 weeks. We believe if a person comitts to these one on one relationships, is a part of a Missional Community and comes together with the rest of the Gathered Church – they will be on the path of learning what it means to live as a Disciple of Jesus.
Reading, PA is a great city with much potential. She is also though, a broken city. Financial difficulties, crime and neglect have scarred what was once a very prosperous city and favorite travel destination. As a church that chooses to gather in this city, we are called to serve & pray for her (Jeremiah 29:7, Isaiah 58:9-12). In addition to the work of our Missional Communities, Reading City Church has been working to restore and beautify a park in the city, replace and repair roofs of long-time residents, and volunteer for various service organizations in the city.