Pastor’s Thoughts – September 2016

Dear friends,

To me, autumn always marks a new season in the life of the church. Perhaps you have only recently begun attending BSBC, if so you are very welcome and we hope that you will soon feel part of the family here. For all of us, this represents a season of challenge and opportunity.

As we bid farewell to Garry and acknowledge the way that the Lord has richly blessed us through his ministry here, we also look forward to all that the Lord has for us in the future. We do not yet know who will come to take up the position of second minister but we do know that the Lord has big plans for us all. This is a time for prayer and reflection and a time to listen for the Lord’s call to each one of us.

That call is a call to be and to do. We are used to expressing our faith in action but that action must come from a heart of love for Jesus Christ, not a desire to prove ourselves to Him. It is true that as we put our faith into action He will meet us and encourage us. In fact, we cannot grow in our relationship with Him if we do not take our knowledge of Him and do something with it. We are called to be part of God’s Kingdom and to be the ones through whom the Holy Spirit brings transformation to the world, not just to sit and enjoy what we have through Christ’s death for us.

So the challenge for us is to be listening for what God is saying but not just to be sitting back and waiting for something to happen. After all we already know much of what the future holds.

We know that our mission is to grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord; closer in fellowship with each other and wider in our influence in the neighbourhoods around us.

We know that Phase Two of our development here will take us into serving in a more profound way; giving us the opportunity to introduce Jesus to those who lack hope, opportunity and meaning in their lives.

We know also that we are to encourage each other to grow in discipleship through mission opportunities as we develop the missional model of discipleship that Garry has led us into. My hope is that all of us can be involved in this in some way or other. As we draw in others who are at an early stage in their relationship with Jesus that will lead to other opportunities to deepen our faith.

To help with this we are starting a new discipleship group. This is not a one off course but a new way of helping people who are new to faith or are still coming to that point of deciding to become Jesus’ followers. It will follow on from Alpha and will be suitable for anyone who wants to understand what their faith means and how God is calling them to live for Him. If you would like to know more about this, please speak to me or to Francis Savill. We are aiming to start this in early October.

The other thing that you might consider doing this autumn is joining a life group. Life groups are the place where we can ask the questions we can’t ask anywhere else; develop deeper relationships with others; experience pastoral care and fellowship; and have a forum for receiving prayer and interceding for others. The Elders want everyone to be part of a life group because we believe that life groups are the place where we can take the truth of God’s Word, experience the blessing of His Spirit and see our lives touched by Him. Now maybe you have been a member of a group and you think that it is time for as change or you’ve not been attending the one of which you are already a member. It’s amnesty time! Come back or move on with no penalty!! Just find the place where you can grow in love with each other.

Finally, please pray for Garry, Jenny, Emily and Noah as the Lord leads them to new service and new opportunities to continue Garry’s studies at Spurgeon’s. I owe a personal debt to them as a family. It has been a privilege to serve you with Garry. He has challenged me and blessed me and for that I want to say thank you. I know that many of you can say the same thing.

We pray God’s richest blessings on them all as they move forward in serving Him.

Yours in Christ
John