What is an Acts 2:42 church?
If you were to ask us what type of church we are, we would say, “an Acts 2:42 church.” This short phrase sums up our vision for what we believe a church should be, and it points to what we must value to maintain a healthy community. But what does it mean? God has always taught that for something to be spiritually successful, it has to be done to His plan. And we at LifeChurch believe we can see much of God’s plan and pattern for successful church in the pages of the book of the Bible called Acts. But more specifically, we believe that Acts chapter 2:42 and the few verses that follow it provide insight into the necessary attributes of a successful church.
An Acts Two-Forty-Two church is one that consciously builds itself on the way we see the Christian community is gathered, governed and grown in Acts 2:42 and the following verses, but also draws from the rest of the book of Acts to understand how God wants to further the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. This is not to the detriment of the rest of the Bible. This merely recognises the role Acts plays as an accurate historical overview of how churches can thrive in a challenging world, where Christian teaching is woven into the stories of faith to help distil timeless truth in a very relatable way.
The following seven attributes of church taken from Acts 2:42-47 detailed below are the ones we feel are of fundamental importance. These are the principles the text says the first church “devoted” themselves to.
The very first Christian leaders were called Apostles and they taught about who Jesus was, how Jesus lived, and what Jesus said and did. And at LifeChurch it is this same “Apostles’ teaching”, as revealed in the Bible, that provides the foundation for our beliefs and our practices today. We believe that if we keep our teaching anchored in the teachings of Jesus, like the very first church, that we will experience God’s blessing on all that we say and do.
At the centre of the times that the first church came together was a simple meal that the Bible calls “breaking bread.” This meal provided the opportunity to teach about Jesus’ death, his resurrection, and his promised return. Today we call this Communion, and take the opportunity regularly to replicate these moments in an authentic, life-giving and instructional way.
Church was never meant be a solo performance. But for many years, the most important ministry and leadership roles have often only ever done by one or two specially trained people. At LifeChurch Warrington however, we seek to engage every member of our community in the running of LifeChurch and in the amazing privilege of ministry to one another. We believe that every Christian is called to operate in a priestly way in the church.
The way we use our money and our resources provides an insight into what we value. And because at LifeChurch we value God’s plan to reach the world with the good news about Jesus and to support the needy and the vulnerable, we use 50% of our income to achieve these things. So half of our total budget is outwardly focussed.
The church that does life together grows together. At LifeChurch, we not only delight ourselves in God and His teaching to us, but also in our relationships with His people. The church community seen in the pages of the Bible was one of authentic, committed and loving friendships, and this is the type of church we purpose to be.
Christians have incredible spiritual power available to them when they pray. And we at LifeChurch believe that, like the first church experienced, when we pray for our own needs and the needs of others, it involves God into our situations in a spectacular way. For this reason, prayer is of the highest importance to us and is woven into everything we do.
The very first church grew dramatically not only as a result of Christians talking about Jesus as the saviour of the world, but also because of the love of God the Father in their hearts and their experience of the Holy Spirit’s power in their lives. And at LifeChurch, we not only want to be growing in our relationship with Jesus as our Lord and God as our Father, but also in seeing the miracle working power of God the Holy Spirit at work.
“Good conduct arises out of good doctrine.”John R. W. Stott
What we believe about God directly influences how we relate to Him and to one another. So it is important that what we believe about Him is accurate. And that what we believe is rooted in God’s primary means of disclosure, the Bible. We can come to know Him by personal experience, too. But our experiences must always come into agreement with God’s character and with the teachings of the Church as revealed in the Bible. Therefore to communicate what we believe it is to know God as he wishes to be known, we have provided a brief explanation of the basic Christian teaching from our knowledge of God’s words to His people, the Bible, but in simple language.
God The Father
We are a church that teaches that God is a loving, compassionate, and protective father, someone who is passionately committed to guiding, guarding and being good to his people. God the Father is of equal status to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but He is the initiator, maker and sustainer of all of things and governs supremely over everyone. (1 John 3:1-2; Romans 8:15; Matthew 7:11; Psalm 23; Psalm 145:8; Matthew 5:48; James 1:17; Psalm 91)
God the Son
We are a church where Jesus is worshipped as God’s Divine Son and proclaimed to be the World’s only Saviour. And it is only by following in Him that we can find hope, life and forgiveness from all wrongdoing. We are a community that believes all of His teachings should be obeyed, His whole way of life be put into practice, and that the full range of His miracles should still be expected. Jesus is the Messiah that was expected by the Jewish people, but came as the hope for all people. And one day he will return to bring justice and judgment to all mankind. (John 5:18; John 15:14; John 5:23; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:9; John 14:6; John 20:28; John 9:38; John 14:10)
God the Spirit
We are a church where the Holy Spirit is given His full status as God and freedom to act among His people. We are a community where He is not misrepresented by hype or excess, nor rejected because of fear or tradition. We simply believe that the Holy Spirit is to be relied upon to continue what he began in the very first churches. It the Holy Spirit who reveals to a person their need of God’s forgiveness. It is the Holy Spirit who gives clarity to the Bible’s claims about Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who then dwells in the forgiven to mark them out as true followers of God. It is the Holy Sprit who is active in the lives of Christians to empower them to pray for healing and to do the things we saw done by Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit helps us to effectively declare the good news about Jesus. And it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to our refine our lifestyle and character to be like Jesus. (1 Corinthians 13; Mark 3:29; John 14:26; Romans 8:9; Acts 1:5; John 14:16; Acts 5:9; 1 Corinthians 12:7; Revelation 3:6; Acts 2:17; Acts 6:3)
We are a church where the Bible is believed to contain the actual words of God, although written by human hands and woven into the historical stories of His people. It is timeless and unequalled as a means to understand His nature and conduct and His plans and purposes, and contains the teachings to which we must submit every human experience. We are a community where the Bible is relied upon for lighting the path and guiding the steps that every member takes in life, and for providing deep, spiritual nourishment for our souls. (2 Timothy 3:15-4:4; 2 Peter 3:15-18; Galatians 1:11; John 14:15; John 6:60-68; Revelation 22:18-19; Psalm 119:105)
We are a church that teaches neither good deeds nor religious practices save a person’s soul. We are a community that believes salvation is received by turning to God with a repentant heart, trusting Jesus paid the penalty for sins which we each deserve, and choosing to faithfully follow Jesus for the rest of our life. When someone does this, The Holy Spirit then presences Himself in the life of the person, which cleanses their spirit and makes them holy, and removes them from the need for God’s punishment. (Matthew 4:17; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 3:19; Romans 2:4)
We are a church brave enough to describe some things as right and some things as wrong. We are a community for whom morality is not relative nor principles changeable. Rather the ethic of each thought, word and action is established by the Bible and the conscience is filtered by the Holy Spirit. And the Bible teaches that sin is more than the actions we do or the failure to take the actions we should; sin describes the state of our spiritual person, that non-physical part of our being that is our quintessential identity, which needs to be purified and made holy by the work of God’s Spirit, a process the Bible calls being “born again”. (Malachi 3:6; Matthew 5:18; Proverbs 14:12; 2 Timothy 3:16)
We are a church where heaven is acknowledged as a real place, the ultimate destination of a Christian’s soul. We not only teach that heaven is for the future, but also its reality is to realised in the present through miracles, signs and wonders, that the culture of heaven is to be present in the church, and God’s literal heavenly presence can be revealed to our senses at His choosing. (Matthew 6:9; Matthew 12:28; Matthew 16:19; Matthew 13:44-46; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 21; Mark 1:15)
We are a church where hell is not patronised as a myth or a fable. Rather it is understood as the necessary consequence of God’s love and justice. We are a community where God’s punishment is spoken about openly, but so too is how to avoid it through His abundant mercy and willingness to forgiveness. (Revelation 21:8; Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Peter 2:4)
We are a church where the reality of a spiritual realm is acknowledged and defined, not rejected as fantasy and fairytale. But not everything that is spiritual is from God, not even if it is seems to offer help, healing and enlightenment. We are a community who rely on the Bible and God’s Spirit to discern the difference between angelic and evil activity, remaining alert to the unseen spiritual world around us, aware that the unseen must be factored in to truly understand what is visibly going on around us, and offering hope and deliverance to people who have become spiritually bound. (Ephesians 6:12; 2 Kings 6:17; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Mark 1:23-26; 1 John 4:1)
We are a church where mission is more than taking the Christian message to a distant land. We are a community for whom mission happens wherever and whenever we move beyond our comfort zone to live-out God’s values, demonstrate his power, and communicate the amazing news about Jesus to those around us. We do not believe in side-stepping our neighbours to witness for Jesus in foreign places. (Acts 1:8; Matthew 25:35-40; Micah 6:8; Luke 4:18-19; Luke 17:21; Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 6:10; Acts 17:10; Matthew 9:35)
We are a church where every member is able to explain what we believe and defend why they believe it. We are a community who communicate God’s message fearlessly but always with respect, where what they say is matched by how they live, and all that is said and done is motivated by love and spoken with respect. It is the responsibility of every Christian to tell others about the life and message of Jesus. (1 Peter 3:15; Romans 10:13-15; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 10:3; Acts 4:19-20; Acts 23:5)
We are a church where God is worshiped by much more than music and singing. We are a community where to worship and praise God also means living a holy life and following Him obediently, where to honour Him is to help the needy, contend for the weak, and serve one-another. (Romans 12:1-3; John 4:21-24; 1 Chronicles 21:24; Isaiah 1:11-20; Genesis 4:2-7; Revelation 14:6-10; Matthew 2:11; Acts 10:25-26; Matthew 14:32-33; Romans 1:25; Matthew 4:9-10; Matthew 8:2; John 9:35-38; Luke 24:52; Hebrews 1:6)
We are a church that believes it is God’s will to heal, deliver and restore. And even though there may be delays and disappointments, we are a community who will always persist to pray, seek and trust God while he works things out, submitted to his plan and timing. (1 John 5:14-15; James 5:13-18; Psalm 103; Acts 4:30; Luke 4:18-19; Luke 5:12-17; Matthew 4:23; Acts 3:1-12; Mark 8:22-26; 1 Corinthians 15:12-29; Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 53)
People We are a church where every person is recognised as a bearer of God’s image, always having value, always treated with respect. We are a community where people can come as they as are and are loved no matter their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, wealth, or age. The church is to be a place where everyone is equally welcome, even if not all their ideas are equally embraced. (Genesis 1:27; James 2:3-6; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 4:15)
Lukas and Sarah Dewhirst
Lukas and Sarah Dewhirst are the senior leaders of LifeChurch Warrington but as Congregational Leaders they take responsibility for our South Warrington congregation in Latchford and our East Warrington congregation in Lymm.
They have been married for 20 years and have 5 children, Abigail, Lois, Phoebe, Elizabeth and Levi.
Lukas undertook his theological training at The Bible College of Wales in Swansea and more recently completed a MA in Missional Leadership. Sarah is qualified secondary school music teacher and has been in the teaching profession for 18 years.
Sarah has a particular passion for worship and leads one of our Sunday worship teams.
Lukas is a keen supporter of Chelsea FC, and Sarah patiently tolerates this!
Graeme and Elizabeth
Graeme and Elizabeth Baird are congregational leaders at LifeChurch West.
They have been married for over 30 years, have two children – Debbie and Charlotte, and two grandchildren. Graeme is a retired manager in United Utilities, and Elizabeth is a Senior Psychotherapist in the NHS.
Elizabeth is a native of Trinidad, and Graeme originates from the less tropical Corby in Northamptonshire. They moved to Warrington from the East Midlands in 1994 and have now become naturalised northerners.
Graeme enjoys cricket and following Kettering town F.C. Elizabeth loves singing as part of Warrington’s Rockchoir, and they both enjoy good food and walking.
Dave and Nicky
Dave and Nicky Akerman lead the west Warrington congregation in Great Sankey. And as a Congregational Leader, Dave also helps lead input into the congregations in Latchford and Lymm.
Dave has been married to Nicky for 6 years and they have two young boys, Noah and Isaac.
Dave qualified as a Counselling Therapist with CWR and the London School of Theology before graduating with a B.A in Theology from the University of Wales while achieving a diploma in Christian Leadership from Mattersey Hall Bible College. Dave then went to complete an MTh. in Contextual Theology at the University of Oxford.
Nicky graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and then qualified as a primary school teacher and also worked in Pre-Schools. She is a devoted wife, mother and fitness enthusiast.
Dave and Nicky are fans of Liverpool Football club and A.F.C. Monaco and enjoy travel and frequenting coffee shops.
We encourage New Testament giving at Life Church. Giving financially to the church should be done from the heart, not under pressure, but cheerfully. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.
“For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT)
We do not take an offering on a Sunday but encourage people to be generous in their financial giving to the church either by placing offerings in the box provided on a Sunday or by giving regularly through the bank via Standing Order. You can download a standing order mandate here or collect one from the information point on a Sunday.
Click here to download a copy of our Standing Order Form.
Alternatively you can use the bank details below to set up a regular payment through your bank account. If you are a UK tax payer please download a gift aid declaration here or collect one from the information point on a Sunday. Completing a Gift Aid form allows an individual to increase the financial benefit to the work of the church at no extra cost to themselves.
Click here to download a copy of our Gift Aid Declaration Form
Please complete the form and hand it in at the information point on a Sunday.
Name of account: Life Church Warrington
Bank name: Lloyds Bank
Branch name: Warrington
Sort code: 77-51-01
Account number: 65868360
Our trustees team is made up of our congregational leadership team as well as committed members of Life Church who were appointed to provide best practice for the leadership of the charity and great stewardship of our resources.
A list of the names of trustees is available on request.