March 2010

“To know Christ and to make Him known.”

 

Dear Friends,

When I look at the number of people actively taking places of responsibility in our church I am much encouraged. About 75% of members’ names appeared on the ‘Church Appointments’ list and a number of those people were taking on several responsibilities. There are also many jobs done, such as welcoming us at the door, which are vital and covered by volunteers on rotas which do not appear on that list.  A very big “Thank you” to all of you.  You are all vital parts of the working of Christ’s body.  We are very blessed at Bookham.

When we look around the URC denomination the picture is very varied.  Some churches seem to be alive and growing in their faith, others seem hardly to be surviving.  I preached to a congregation of 4 at one church recently!  It was interesting, then, to read a challenging article the other day which was looking at why churches stall. Some of the reasons put forward you may not agree with, but here are some of the suggestions.  (i)  The church forgets who we are and what we are for. Mission becomes one of many activities rather than defining the vision of who we are as a community.  (ii)  People get satisfied not to grow spiritually and are happy with the comfort and warm company on offer rather than radical sacrificial living.  (iii)  When a large percentage of the congregation become passive receivers of ministry rather than taking responsibility for their own spiritual growth. (iv)  People confuse Christian activities with discipleship. We do many good churchy things but are these the same as living out the Gospel ? (v)  Not understanding the need to use spiritual gifts and want the leader to do everything !  There were other suggestions in the article!

In their beginning all churches were adventures in faith.  No-one actively decided for comfort over risk, but for some there has been a point where the mindset has shifted from uncomfortable faith and passion to a more comfortable church lifestyle.  Steps of faith are always uncomfortable.  Our church in Bookham has an amazing history of the grace and blessing of God and the vision of its members over the years and many in the current congregation can recall how they have been blessed by the ministry of God’s faithful servants.  It is good, though, not to be complacent and to take stock as to where we are and where we think God is leading us.  On Saturday March 27th we will be having a Church Day during which we will be prayerfully considering what our mission is and we will also be looking at the Feasibility Study ideas to see whether any of them match our aspirations as a church.  Please make this day a priority if you possibly can.

Let us continue to pray for each other as we seek the way forward under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

With my love,

David


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