Tuesday, 15 March 2011
The church and change 1
I have been a church leader for 28 years.
I can still remember my first Sunday as Associate Pastor at Ross on Wye Baptist Church.
The church had endured a painful split,during the early days of charismatic renewal
.A split which divided Christians and also divided families ( I am delighted to say that since those days there has been complete healing of those broken relationships)
I remember being approached by a confident young man at the end of the evening service that day who told me" "I am surprised you have come here- God has laid aside this church!"
It was a fairly unnerving experience and happily subsequent events proved that despite being a very imperfect pastor trying to lead an imperfect church, God had not finished with the church yet and indeed the work continues to this day.
It would not be true to say I have loved every minute of church leadership.Some of the most painful moments of my life have happened in churches. There can be no doubt that some of it was my fault but I bear scars from those conflicts as do other church leaders.As I have been reminded the phrase "The church is for hurting people " is double edged!
However leading a church is for me an enormous priviledge and a very enriching experience.There can be no greater joy than seeing God at work in peoples lives bringing them to faith,giving them peace and purpose,comfort in their sorrows,and watching them grow as Christians.
It goes without saying that the world has changed since 1983 in so many ways, and though the gospel never changes the way the church operates to bring that message of Jesus Christ into the world has had to change as well.
Interior of church 1979
I thought over the next week or two to write a few posts about some of the significant changes that have happened in English churches and the way they have impacted the church , its leadership,its ministry and mission.