Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015.
Can I begin by thanking everyone that contributed to our Christmas celebrations. Whether you welcomed people, made mince pies, served coffee, played, sang, put up decorations or worked the PA or projector, many thanks for all that you did. It was wonderful to see so many guests and I hope it was a blessing to you.
What blessings does the Lord have in store for us this year? Well of course, I don’t have an answer for that. My prayer is that we will see people growing deeper in their faith, building stronger relationships with one another and that we would see many coming to know the truth of God’s love for them and experiencing his hope for the first time. This of course is our mission as a church: to help people grow deeper in the relationship with God; closer in fellowship with one another and wider in influence in our neighbourhoods.
It’s the latter part that we have been thinking and praying about quite intensely. Those of you who were able to attend the day conference on the future of the new site will have heard about this. Hopefully if you were not able to attend you will have picked up a copy of the vision that we shared on that day from the Stewards’ Table. If not then please do so, so that you know what we are praying about.
The Church Centre has given us tremendous opportunities to build relationships with people and organisations. The new site gives us the opportunity to take that to another level. But all of this strikes at the heart of an important question – what is the Church for?
John Lydon (better known perhaps as Johnny Rotten) once said that the church is a place with stained-glass windows to keep the world out and the hypocrites in. He couldn’t have been more wrong – and not just because we have no stained-glass! We believe that the church is here for 5 purposes: to glorify God in worship; to help people grow closer in their relationship with God (discipleship); to help people grow strong relationships with each other (fellowship) and to introduce people who don’t know Him to the Lord Jesus Christ (Reaching Out) by serving them in His name (Service). This is the rounded Gospel message lived out. That God loves the world so much that he sent His one and only Son to die for us all so that the world could be released from the pain and suffering of evil and we could know Him as our Lord and Saviour. Our responsibility is to live that out.
The vision that we believe that God has given us for the new land is about living out the Good News. It’s about building a place where we can live out our community and invite others to be part of that. It is about recognizing the needs of our town and district and standing in the gaps. It is ambitious because we don’t know exactly where it will take us but it is not reckless because we cannot commit resources that we don’t have. Simply it is about us making a collective decision to echo the words of the prophet Isaiah:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ – Isaiah 6:8
We would all like more flesh on the bones but we need to agree the principle first.
Please join us for our next day of prayer – 31st January from 10am -3pm so that we can explore this together.
Yours in Christ