2016 September

September 2016

Dear Friends,

In his reflections at the end of the 2016 Methodist Conference, the Secretary of the Conference, Rev. Gareth Powell said the following:

“We are the church of Jesus Christ and therefore we have immense confidence and endless imagination because we are resourced by the love of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Our only tasks are to worship God and proclaim the Gospel. If you begin from that premise, you have the possibility to shape all that you do in ways that are radical and faithful, honest and true.”

As we start a new church year, how strong is our confidence and how active is our imagination?

To answer these questions, we perhaps have to ask in whom our confidence is placed. If our hope is placed just in the minister or in the group of people who attend our church, and nothing more, our confidence is only as strong as our own strength. If you are like me, often we feel quite weak and tired, and if that is all we rely on, our confidence may be found wanting.

But Gareth reminds us that we are not church in our own strength. We rely on the love of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

My mobile phone, while being a technological wonder, is only of use when there is charge in the battery. Many has been the time when I have looked ruefully at the 3% left of its battery charge or at the one bar of reception that is shown. At such times, I may be able to make that all-important phone call, but my confidence in it is wavering.

Plug the phone into its charger, however, and the same phone bursts to life, inspiring confidence in its ability to get my message through. Instead of questioning its ability to communicate, I can call or text to my heart’s content.

Our confidence is not just in ourselves. It is in the love of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is as we plug ourselves into these and put our faith in the desire of God to love all people in all situations, and in the power of the gospel to transform us and others, and as we listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that we find our confidence soaring.

In Numbers 13, Israel’s spies, having explored the Promised Land, came back with the report of how good it was. Eleven of the spies, based on their own capability, said, “We can’t attack these people, they are too strong.” Caleb and Joshua said, “We should go up and take the land, for we can certainly do it.” Caleb at the age of 85 years said, “Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day.” (Joshua 14:12)

Over the last year, the church council in particular, but also the church have been looking at five practices of fruitful congregations – radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and extravagant generosity – and are imagining what it is to be church in our area.

Over the coming year, our Circuit Leadership Team is imagining what it is that God is calling us to be as God’s Methodist people in this area.

By focusing on the love of the God of mission, the gospel of new life and salvation of Jesus Christ and being open to the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, may find that our confidence is placed in God and not just ourselves, and may we find our confidence and our imagination soaring as we follow God.

May you be greatly blessed as you put your trust in Jesus, our Lord.

David


Page last updated: 1st November 2016 4:57 PM