Are you ready?
It’s been a long time coming but we are nearly there. Nearly where? Nearly at the start of some things that, we pray, will transform Bishop’s Stortford Baptist Church.
The Bridge is nearly ready and waiting for us to take possession of it and complete its transformation from a dilapidated industrial building to a community hub. The Bridge will be the place where we are able to encounter people as never before. It will be a place of friendship; it will be a place of worship; it will be a place of prayer. The Bridge will be a place where we can show Jesus to the people that come through the doors by the way that we act, speak and care. We want people to experience Christ as they meet with us. Does that sound a bit pretentious? None of us can claim the perfection of Jesus but because the Holy Spirit lives in us he can shine through us, and all of our imperfections, to touch people’s lives. That’s what The Bridge is about.
Now, of course, The Bridge will provide a home for all of the activities that we have begun in anticipation of it being available. So Exchange, Breaking Bread Café and The Pantry will finally have a proper base from which to work, but this is just the beginning. The Prayer Room in the Church Centre has always had to be used as a room for our children’s work and as a resource centre. The new Chapel will replace this and provide a space where people can seek prayer and meet together in small groups to pray thus expanding our prayer ministry. Rooms that we have available will provide space for smaller meetings as we offer help and mentoring to others. We have volunteers who will offer advice in all kinds of areas.
The Bridge, like almost everything we have begun, will start small and grow. I believe that there are things that the Lord has for us that we have not even envisaged yet. The key is to be aware and available. The Elders have a vision for ministry to the people on the riverside but we don’t know how that will work out yet. We have resources available that they may find helpful such as a laundry, but it remains to be seen how it will develop.
Over the next weeks we will begin to bring The Bridge into operation.
The Grand Opening of The Bridge will be on Saturday 17 September.
Initially I expect the café to be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays to coincide with Exchange being open, but I would like to expand that gradually until we are open six days a week. Other events will fill the schedule as we go along. Celebrate Recovery will operate from there but at present I need to rebuild the team that leads that, following the loss of some key people.
In addition to this, Gustavo and I will operate out of The Bridge two days a week enabling us to be available to people that want to talk, ask questions or have issues.
Speaking of Gustavo, that’s the second thing that we have almost arrived at, which I believe will be transformative: his ordination and induction as our second minister. 26 June is the date when this will happen, and I’m sure that Gustavo will support the idea that it’s been a long time coming. Gustavo will commence his ministry and then we’ve given him some time off to prepare for all that lies ahead. Normally there’s some time when you finish college to get into a new frame of mind that is about ministry rather than study, so we decided it would be a good idea to give him a mini sabbatical to enable him to prepare. We have been blessed by Gustavo’s ministry among us already, but I know he is looking forward to being able to be much more engaged with everyone. So he will be around for the first couple of weeks of July and then off until September.
After all this time of uncertainty, flux and change we stand ready to launch and I want you to be ready to be part of this. Please make the most of every opportunity. I cannot volunteer you to get involved only you can do that, but I believe that if we take the opportunities that lie ahead we will see this church making an even bigger impact in the future than we do now. We have three great resources:
- The Holy Spirit who empowers us
- Us – God’s people ready to follow where he leads
- Our buildings that support us in our desire to see people come to know Christ.
The buildings are useless without the people, and we are useless without the Spirit’s presence and by God’s Spirit.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus said: ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
Yes, even in Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted, Thorley and wherever you live.
May the Lord bless you,