Pastor’s Thoughts – November 2015

Dear friends,

This is the time of year when we have to make decisions that will affect what we do in the year to come. Most of us don’t like to talk about money and it can be a tricky subject in church life. When Rick Warren realised that The Purpose Driven Life was going to be a best seller he knew he had to tackle the profit that it was bringing in. He set up 3 charitable trusts to look after any profit and to pay back all the stipends that he had ever received from Saddleback Church. The next week his book went to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. In the first interview that he did after that, the first question he was asked was, “So Rick, what are you doing with all this money?”

Many people seem to think that church has an angle when it comes to money but we are completely transparent about our finances. Anyone can look them up on the Charity Commission’s website. We are not in the business of collecting money; we are in the business of releasing resources. Everything that we give goes to the Kingdom. When you give, you are giving to help people in need through our mission partners; you are giving to enable Eric and Claire to bring hope to people whose lives have been devastated by events in Rwanda. You are giving to enable us to reach out to people in this town with a message of hope; young and old alike. So I don’t apologise for the fact that we will be talking about money at the next Church Meeting because we are working as hard as we can to keep up with what God is doing here and that takes resources.

At the last Church Meeting we introduced some ideas that all relate to the vision that we have for what I’m going to call Phase 2 of the development here. By Phase 2, I mean the development of the rest of the land which we purchased last year and the associated vision that we shared for it. It is important to remember that we are not just looking for something to build in the physical sense but something that expresses our belief that we are being called to extend our community life to include others who are not yet part of this community but who need to hear the good news of Jesus. We sense a call to reach the hurting and the hope-less; the lost, the least, the last in our society.

To make that possible we need not just buildings but the concept that leads us to the right buildings. We all agreed last year that we couldn’t wait for the buildings to be here before we moved on in that vision. So we have been working developing ideas and examining how we can make this come into being.

Part of that has been to send people out to see what the Lord is doing in other places. We are currently putting those results together and expect to begin to see this take shape very soon. One of the clear messages that I have received from what we have done so far, is that what we want to do may not be unique but it is unusual. I believe it will also be significant for other churches too. This must not be just a social action project but it must express the life of the church in our relationship to the Lord Jesus. In connection with this we shared two things at the last Church Meeting that are of great significance.

The Missional Model is something that Garry felt was a great plan for the youth ministry but when the Elders heard about it we immediately saw that this is a different way of thinking that could involve everyone in the church. We all know that mission is something we should be involved in but what if we were to provide a way in which everyone could get involved through small mission groups in doing mission?

The plan is to bring people together – perhaps for a limited time – to get involved in a mission project, perhaps locally or perhaps further afield – even overseas. Mission would not only be an idea but we would see our faith growing as we saw what God was doing among us and with us. Garry has been tasked with developing this and we will see the first plans in the New Year.

Exchange is a way of helping people to share the things that they have with others who may need them. If you weren’t at the Church Meeting and haven’t picked up the Briefing Paper about this then please do, and see Julia Horner if you can help with this exciting plan.

Yours in Christ