N.B. A quote from Rev Peter Thomas (MA MA) - "You don't have to have a great faith, just faith in a great God!"
We had a church meeting tonight. And to tell the honest truth - it was dead exciting! The church really knows how to get a church meeting going - coffee and cakes at the beginning, and everyone sitting around little tables in groups. We started off with worship and praying with our group. And then we launched into the agenda.
Phil spoke for a few minutes about how even faith as small as a mustard seed can be used to do great things (can move mountains...) The church is moving forward, and how we cannot expect people to come to us, we must be prepared to go out to those who need our presence, especially among the local communities and wards to whom we are appointed. Part of that is the idea that we employ a second part-time minister(s) who are focussed on the pastoral care of the community. And so came the financial report.
It was positive! As always, it is concluded that we all need to up our giving. [Always true.] The treasurer also concluded with a final choice that each person must decide - are we a church that does things, or aren't we? (I think we are) And then we launched into discussion. This bit was the most exciting! How revolutionary and reassuring is it, when 98% of the members are completely confident in the church leaders visions and decisions! Comments were made about how we must take risks, in order for us to go anywhere. About how in the past, God has provided for the church when they most needed it. About how the generosity of people is not to be disvalued. About how we must believe that God will provide because God has called the church into this decision. About how if we ask Jesus for blessing on the money the church receives, then he will multiply it.
And so the church members voted... (unanimously) for Rev Jim and Rev Juliet Kilpin to come and start working part time with Avenue. Upping our community care levels. Setting up something for people to come to who may not be part of the Sunday morning crowd. Getting stuck in to the local community work and caring for people one-on-one, investigating new possibilites about how we can take care of those who need our help. Is that an exciting church meeting or what! =]
During the notices at the end of the meeting, it was mentioned about how discussions have been had with the local Costa Coffee, and they have agreed to let us in one evening to sing carols in the corner, and lead a time of worship. The church often talks about its plans to set up a service in the other ward to service the local community - which is run down and in desperate need of being shown the love of Jesus. There is a mission team going the Philippines in April, and another one to Romania the year after that. This is what I became a Christian for. Not to hide in a church building planning bible studies and youth clubs. (Although that is an important part of my job) But to get my hands dirty - to reach out to those who are searching in all the wrong places for God. To talk and love and care for those society rejects. This is not just me dreaming. This is reality. This is this church, at this time, going places. And I am so pleased to be a part of it. =]
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
Matthew 13: 31-32 (NIV)