November 2010

“To know God and to make Him known”.

 

Dear Friends,

We are living through important times of change.  There are political and economic adjustments affecting people’s life styles and maybe their prospects and I believe that there may be changes in our church life too. I have found the book of Ephesians very challenging.  It challenges us to grasp what God has done for us in Christ, bringing us from death to life, bringing us reconciliation with Him and with each other as He builds us into a Temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells and in which Christ is the cornerstone.  Since Pentecost, the church has built structures, organisations and hierarchies as we have become more and more institutionalised. This is despite the URC hoping in 1972 that it would subsume its own identity for the greater good of the Church and pioneer the removal of denominational sectarianism.

I believe Paul’s letter is calling us back to our spiritual roots. He pictures a church made not of a rigid inflexible structure but of a people with an intimate relationship with the living God exhibiting a spiritual vitality in the power of his Holy Spirit. To consider mission, to modify structures, to change how we do things and to respond to God’s leading, the church needs to be made of living stones that have Christ as the foundation of all they do and is thus able to respond to the Spirit’s leading. The temptation is to want the future just to be more of the past, but we need to move from ministry that leaves all to the ‘minister’, to an every member ministry team with every stone playing an important part. Paul prays in Ephesians 3 that the church will be strengthened by God’s power, that Christ will dwell in our hearts and that we become rooted and established in love as we make God’s wisdom known and bring glory to Him by means of the power of Christ within us.

You may remember the famous statement during a space mission “Houston, we have a problem”.  I think we can say “Bookham URC we have a problem”.  We have a hard working, loving and friendly congregation who are an absolute delight, and I continue to thank God for each one of you, but the demographics of our congregation do not have the seeds of growth in terms of numbers. We all, I am sure, would love to see more families joining us. If that were to happen it would mean a change in culture in terms of the amount of work we do, maybe even changing roles for some of us. There would also be new relationships to establish, but God can enable things to happen way beyond our dreams and imagination as he walks that path with us.  It could be a challenging and exciting time as we seek to be about the King’s business rather than our own and grow as a family. Let’s keep praying.

With the onset of financial austerity and government ‘cuts’, many people are fighting the changes as they affect them and are pessimistic about their future.  Change often instils a feeling of insecurity because of the unknown. We are in a different position in the church for we are partners with Christ in His work and He equips and empowers us.  He knows what lies ahead and invites us to recommit ourselves to Him and His service and He will equip us for whatever He has in store for us as we grow into maturity in Him together. There is no limit to God’s power, it’s our thoughts and beliefs that are limited.

My love to you all,

David


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