Pastor’s Thoughts – March 2020

Dear friends, 

One of the themes that we felt it was important to develop this year is remembering to count our blessings. We’ll be starting March with a special Sunday to celebrate one of the most important blessings that we have – the time that many of you give to the ministry of the church. We wanted to do something to say thank you to everyone that contributes to our life together. 

The reality of church life is that it is what each of us brings in service to our Lord Jesus that makes a difference. I could be preaching the most amazing sermons; we could have the most inspired worship but without the service that people give to the life of the church, it would be a waste of time. 

At Saddleback Church they have a quite complicated discipleship process at the end of which every new member gets a card that says, ‘I am a minister of Saddleback Church.’ I don’t think it entitles them to a space in the car park, but it does emphasise that the church is all of us. It’s not the ministers, Elders or Deacons, it is all of us. We are all called to fulfil the ministry that God has given to us and to serve him. That’s why Paul wrote: 

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 

1 Corinthians 12:27

We believe that everyone has something to contribute to our life together. You are a unique combination of genetics, experiences, abilities and gifts from the Holy Spirit. The Bible is clear about what we can contribute to the work of bringing in God’s Kingdom. Ephesians 2:10 says: 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

So thank you, to every one of you that contributes to our life together. Without your service we couldn’t achieve anything of value. 

This month sees our Annual General Meeting – the Church Meeting at which we present our Annual Report and Accounts, and at which we elect church leaders. This is not an election like any other. At the recent General Election people voted for the candidate that they felt would represent them and their interests best. In our Leadership Election we are seeking to understand calling, not popularity. This is not a poll of those that we like most, it is a poll to agree whether someone is called by God to serve. This is the principal of the Church Meeting. It is not about what we want but about what we believe that God wants. 

So I would like to remind all Church Members of the importance of being at the meeting on 19 March. You cannot vote unless you are present and we need your participation. Please pray carefully about the candidates. What we are seeking is to know what God’s will is for the candidates and for the church. There will be new candidates standing for the Eldership and the Diaconate, so please pray over the names and seek God’s will for them. 

In addition at the Church Meeting we will be bringing an exciting new plan for work in Rwanda – a new project in partnership with Compassion that will complement our existing work there. It is my intention for Gustavo and I to visit Rwanda to see our work in Huye on 24 August. I have a small number of places available for anyone that wants to accompany us. Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested. 

Yours in Christ,
John