One of the privileges to being Deputy Chair of District is to be found in the different roles it’s given me. Amongst the busyness, the hustle and bustle, there are moments of pure joy; working alongside Michelle Sims, our District Fresh Expressions Enabler, visiting and sharing in Worship at various District Churches, getting a glimpse of the wider District work, being a part of the Regional Learning and Development Forum.
Today has been one more privilege; serving on a Connexional group looking at and preparing a Good Practice Guide for Fresh Expressions and Pioneer Ministry with Revd Graham Horsley and two others Kate and Matt (both of whom know far more than me).
So often we imagine Church in decline when the reality is that Christian Faith is simply re-imagining how things are done. Faith hasn’t gone away, it’s simply that it’s re-expressing itself in more culturally relevant ways. In many ways it’s in the stories of new Church models that we find people returning to faith or finding it for the first time; we find people whose faith is reinvigorated and encouraged
And, WOW, what a joy to hear those stories.
But the challenge is to how I, as a Superintendent, both hold the traditional model of Church (which nurtured me and which still speaks to some today, alongside giving permission to others to imagine a different Church.
Worship in a coffee shop, Bible Study in a secular setting, discussion and questions in a pub, sitting in a bench in Burton talking to anyone who sits down and building relationships. These are only a few of the ways in which Church is taking its faith into new areas, and today I’ve heard of plenty more. I want to release Churches, people into dreaming big, challenging perceptions and bringing the love of Jesus to the world once again. However, I don’t want to decry all that’s gone before, nor the faithful commitment and witness of those who’ve brought us to this point and place in time.
And yes it’s time consuming, it’s painful and at times very uncomfortable, but I believe passionately that God is calling us to place our desires on the cross and allow Him to resurrect them as His own desires.