Sunday, 21 November 2010
Time to pray and a time to plan
I managed a rare night away the other day
With the other church leaders we went to Shallowford House, a diocesan retreat centre,not far from Stafford, which I had first visited on the Fresh Expressions course. It makes an excellent venue because it is in a beautiful location,serves excellent food,has comfortable meeting rooms,and even its own bar.It must be said though that the main railway line is rather close to the house.
The purpose of the 24 hours we spent together can be summed up in 2 words Praying and Planning
It was good therefore , away from the demands of busy lives, to have the opportunity to talk about the joys and the challenges we face,and to be prayed for individually.It was good too, to share communion together and to experience Gods presence .There appeared, to me at least, to be an authentic hunger to know God better alongside an acknowledgment of our own weakness.
I wont go into great detail here about decisions we made, but we certainly recognised that 2011 is a vital year for our church.
The new town centre building is being built, and meanwhile we have the chance to lay solid spiritual foundations for our new church.
Among other things this means
We need to deepen our prayer life
We need to be prepared to be not just believers but disciples.
We want to put down deep roots in to the two communities we feel God has given us a particular responsibility for.
We are all totally determined to put mission at the centre of all that we do as a church
There is no doubt these will be big challenges but we feel they are not so much our priorities but Gods
We can so easily be distracted from keeping the main thing the main thing but we have not merged two churches and founded a new church in order to empire build, and we are not building a new church building to make ourselves more comfortable
This must be about building the Kingdom of God
We were very tired when we left Shallowford on Saturday afternoon but we sensed Gods leading,and aware aware of just how much work there is to be done, but also very hopeful for the future and determined to lay strong foundations.
These are challenging days for churches but also days of great opportunity