Pastor’s Thoughts – May 2016

Dear friends,

At our Annual Church Meeting in March, we called Richard Jones, Jonathan Kisenyi, Tracy Moreton, Wendy Shipperlee, Barry Tallintire and Mark Wheeler to serve us as deacons and Robin Baker and Geoff Gosling to serve as Secretary and Treasurer respectively. We also affirmed Garry as an Elder and reaffirmed Trevor in that same role. Please pray for each of them as they serve us.

In my report at that meeting I said this:

In my report last year, I spoke about the sad demise of Mars Hill Church in Seattle that fell apart because of a pastor who was unaccountable, and because of a drive for growth that left the people of the church floundering and feeling uncared for. I’d like to speak about another church this evening. It was founded in 1999 by a husband and wife and a team of four other people. Their vision was to bring Jesus to people in a way that changed the culture in which they were living. God’s vision for them was to influence their community. They felt God say: “You take Jesus to the people and I will take care of the Church.” They serve a town of about 25,000 people. Since they began, over 5,000 people have given their lives to Jesus because of this ministry. If you are thinking that this is another American megachurch let me tell you that you are quite wrong. This church is Causeway Coast Vineyard, the birthplace of Healing on the Streets, and the founding pastors are Alan and Kathryn Scott and it is based in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. If Kathryn’s name sounds familiar it may be because she is the writer of several worship songs that we sing including ‘Hungry’ and ‘At the Foot of the Cross’.

I mention this because Peter Vincent from the Community Church was telling me about his recent visit there. One of the things that has changed in the last year is that we have begun to host a monthly prayer breakfast for local ministers. We come together to pray for the churches in Bishop’s Stortford and specifically to pray for revival. These are amongst the most exciting times of prayer that I have known for 30 years. As we think about the life of this church and consider how God has blessed us in 2015 we want to reaffirm that we trust in the promises that the Lord has made to us through several prophecies that this town and this church will see a significant move of God’s Spirit that will have an influence beyond our boundaries. Peter reminded me that the Lord had given him a similar vision a few years ago. So if God can use 6 people in Northern Ireland to reach 5,000 others, what can He do through us in this town?

I concluded by saying this:

For some of us moving out of our comfort zones is a natural thing to do because we have experienced God meeting us there and giving us the security we need in unfamiliar situations. For many of us we are very uncomfortable with new and different things. I invite you to trust the Lord for where He wants to take us in 2016. In the familiar words of Jeremiah 29:11 the Lord challenges His people to give up their plans and trust His: For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. There will be many exciting opportunities but it will be up to us whether we take them. Maybe that’s one of the keys to the way that God works in a church like Causeway Coast Vineyard. Maybe a willingness to do anything he asks of us is the key to allowing His Spirit to work in even more amazing way.

For Garry and myself I can say that we long for Jesus’ saving power to be released on our community and I believe that this is the desire of us all. 

Even so, come Lord Jesus, pour out Your Spirit we pray. 

15 May is Pentecost Sunday – Whitsun – the day when we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and believers gathered together. Let us pray together that the Lord will release His Spirit afresh on His Church for the sake of this town and the neighbouring communities in which we live, so that we might have boldness to demonstrate and to speak of the power of Jesus’ name.

Yours in Christ