Pastor’s Thoughts – June 2015

Dear friends,

Mission has been much on our hearts over the last few weeks. Our Mission Sunday with Roland and Carolien Smith and family was a great opportunity to hear about the work that they are doing in Holland which you support. Hopefully some of you that have never met them before now understand much more about the way that they work and how the Lord is using them to support the Church in Holland.

Following that we heard from Steve Hook and the work of Open Doors as they seek to support, encourage and be advocates for the persecuted church.

This month we will be celebrating the contribution that the International Ministry makes to the life of our fellowship. Last time I counted we had 21 different nationalities that were part of the fellowship here. There may be more or fewer now but it is still a reminder that we are an international church that belongs to a worldwide Church. We are invited to a Hog Roast afterwards but you will need to get tickets for this.

At the end of the month we will have Rev Edwin Penman with us from BMS World Mission. Many of you are new to Baptist Churches so may not be aware of the work that the Baptist Missionary Society does. It was the first missionary society formed in the modern era. William Carey founded the society in 1792 and since then we have been at work in many ways and many places. I say we because this is our mission. We send people in Jesus’ name on behalf of our churches. Today BMS has over 350 people working in 35 countries on 4 continents amongst some of the least evangelised and marginalised peoples of the world.

Hopefully many of you will remember that at harvest last year we focussed on the work that Ben Francis is doing in West Bengal. You may remember the boat that he uses to travel among the many villages dotted throughout the islands of that area. Since he began his ministry a few years ago, Ben has planted over 14,000 new churches in that area. Yes, 14,000 that’s not a misprint! It reminds us what God can do when we give Him the opportunity.

I really want to commend BMS World Mission to you. It is doing amazing work and deserves our support. If you would like to know more about what they are doing you can visit the BMS World Mission website.

The BMS mission statement says:

“The highest goal of all we do is to bring people to faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and an experience of the abundant life that only He can provide.”

Our desire to see people becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus is an expression of the same idea. Our mission is to support the worldwide church and whilst we know that the spiritual condition of the United Kingdom is very different from many of the situations in which BMS is working, we are serving the Lord who is the same everywhere and for all time. So we have an expectation that the God who does amazing things in West Bengal can and does do amazing things here.

Each of us has opportunities to be involved in mission that are part of our daily lives but in addition to those we want to develop ways in which we can all have a part to play in mission together. Through the new project and in other ways we will be seeking to give you those opportunities. Maybe some of you might feel called to go and do a short term project with BMS. These days it is not just gap-year students that can do that.

Incidentally, I am on holiday for much of June which gives others the opportunity to lead us. If you have a pastoral need during that time please contact one of the Elders or the Pastoral Team.

Yours in Christ
John