Welcome to a new year and all the promise which that brings. Every New Year brings its own hopes and expectations, promises and perhaps fears. What are your hopes for 2013? In some ways 2013 has its work cut out for it. 2012 was such a momentous year in so many ways that we can only expect 2013 to be an anticlimax. After the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games provided us with so many opportunities to celebrate, there’s not much to anticipate this year. Add to that our own experiences with the opening of the new Centre and we might feel that 2013 will be a bit of a let-down. If that’s how you are thinking now, then let me give you some words of advice: Stop it!
Firstly it is not true to say that there’s nothing significant happening in 2013. In London, 2013 is the year of an important mission – Crossing London – organised by London Churches and led by former BU President Stephen Gaukroger. This involves the Billy Graham Organisation and Franklin Graham will be the speaker. It looks like an important opportunity for Christians in London to stand together and evangelise. It is possible that there are things happening that we may want to support, but in any case this campaign is worthy of our prayers.
Secondly I believe that 2013 will be one of the most significant years in the church’s history. What we do in this year will set a pattern for the years to come. The hopes and dreams that have built up over the years without our own building must now be translated into something real. All the talk of the potential of the new building; of the resource that it provides; of it making us more able and not just more comfortable; all of this talk has to lead to something concrete over these next twelve months. Friends this is where the rubber hits the road.
If we do not seize the opportunities that are before us then all of this will be in vain. Have no doubt that the stakes are very high. The temptation for us is always to relax into being a nice comfortable place with nice middle class values where everything just goes on. God’s call is to follow, to walk with Jesus (incidentally reflected in our new Sunday morning teaching series Walking with Jesus), to keep in step with the Spirit.
This is indeed Paul’s call to us as we seek to live mature lives allowing God’s Spirit to grow His fruit in our lives. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)
Your task for 2013 is to keep in step with the Spirit. God’s call to us is to be a pilgrim people; to keep moving forward with Him and into the places He takes us. Where does God want to take you this year? What dreams has He put in your heart? What frustrations has He given you to keep you moving in the direction He wants you to go? These are not rhetorical questions; they are questions for us to ponder very seriously and prayerfully.
Can I ask you to pray about one thing in particular? We have a great concern to take pressure off our Office staff. We would like to appoint some volunteer receptionists to deal with callers and enquiries. Do you feel that this might be a role in which you could offer some time? Secondly please be gentle with our office staff. They don’t like dealing with people being difficult any more than you do, and they don’t like being interrupted all the time for a chat. They don’t want to be antisocial but they do want to make sure that they are using their time in the best way to fulfil the tasks that we have asked of them. So you don’t have to ignore them but it won’t be rude of you if you don’t pop in to see them for a chat.
Finally I should mention one important change. As from January we will no longer have Family Celebrations on the first Sunday of each month. We will have them on special occasions and we will have different arrangements for the summer months as before, but all of these will be clearly advertised in the Church Diary and on news sheets.
Wishing you all God’s richest blessings in 2013.