This bloggage is based on a leaflet that will be shared with our church this weekend.
On 1st September I shared a 2020 vision in my sermon in the morning service. We are seeking to see clearly what God’s vision is for us as a church, and looking at 2020 as a point in the future towards which we can aim.
The key thought behind this 2020 vision is that God intends churches to grow. That is what we see in the New Testament, and it is inherent in many of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God. God has not changed his mind about this and that he still intends churches to grow – including ours.
The growth that God intends has two dimensions. One is growing deeper in our relationship with him. The second is growing in numbers because people are becoming followers of Jesus through us. Those dimensions are reflected in these arrows. There are two sets of arrows: each dependent on the other to exist. The white arrows pointing inwards (deeper) are defined by the red arrows pointing outwards (new Christians) and vice versa. If we are to grow as a church we need to think about both dimensions. It is important for us to remember that this is not something we can manufacture, and it is not a programme to be followed. It is our response to God’s initiative, empowered and encouraged by his Spirit: it is his work in which he invites us to participate, not our work that we ask him to bless.
In my sermon I mentioned the Engel Scale, which shows stages in a person’s journey of faith. (See earlier bloggage here). The Engel Scale helps us to consider how we are growing deeper in our own relationship with Jesus and also how we can help others to grow closer to him.
We need to consider the depth of our relationship with God. Our Membership Covenant encourages us to engage in personal prayer and Bible study, and also to support and encourage one another in this. Part of the 2020 vision will be a response to God’s love and seeking his Spirit’s help to walk closer to Jesus. God wants us to continue to grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus throughout our life.
If we are a fervently prayerful people we believe we will not only grow closer to Jesus, but we will also see spiritual fruit in the lives of others.
The challenge of a vision for growth through new Christians is that we may need to do things differently from the ways we have done them before. A number of big questions emerge:
We have a prime location in the middle of Colchester, a gift from God through our predecessors. How can we make better use of this location to share the Good News about Jesus with those who use these premises weekly, who live and work around us, and with those who pass by the premises?
What does the 2020 vision mean for the different activities we run at the church?
How can we use the opportunities that God gives us through those activities in order to help people in their journey of faith?
How can we make the most of opportunities that he gives us when we are not at church?
We need to be ready to respond to what God says to us, however challenging it may be.
We’d value your prayers!
Be blessed, be a blessing