empowered by the spirit for mission

I Am So Pleased With My Church

It is great to be part of a church that is based on relationships – a group of friends who enjoy each other’s company and enjoy God together and who I know are continually reaching out to others. I am so grateful for the prayers of people in my church while I’ve been coping with the shock of my mother’s death. It was great how people have been praying and have prayed specifically with laying on of hands a couple of times over coffee at our church meetings. It’s just great how we realise that God is with us then just as much as in our worship time. In fact we’ve got such a sense of how God is with us all the time.

It’s great to be part of a church based on relationships

You see church is not a building. The term ‘going to church’ in fact makes very little sense. For us the building we own – the Ledbury Centre – is in fact too small for us to all meet in. For our big weekly meeting most Sundays we hire rooms in Ladywood Community Centre which is adjacent to our building but even going to meet there is not really ‘going to church’. We are the church.

Neither is the church isn’t an institution or a denomination. We are not part of any traditional denomination but we are connected by relationships to other churches across the country and across the world through a network we call Lifelink. It’s great to feel part of something bigger and to be working with ministries like Alan Scotland who we recognise as having an apostolic role towards us.

It’s great when people will drive over from the other side of the city to be with us. It’s great to have church in our homes, which we regularly do in the form of weekly home groups and recently these have been an oasis of normality to us as we have been coping with our bereavement. I’m also thankful for church on facebook where I’ve been able to share points for prayer. The list could on. Though it is good for the whole church to meet together regularly these other things are not little extras on top of ‘going to church’– these all are part of us being church.

It’s great to be part of a church that is continually reaching out…

As a church we are active in the local community of Ladywood, where our building is and where a number of us live. People often comment that for our size we do so much.

Reaching out to those on the margins

I was sad to have missed the recent Prayer and Awareness Days but I just didn’t feel up to it. I understand it went well with presentations from different organisations that are working with the homeless and destitute as well as stories from people whose lives have been touched by these ministries. This is co-ordinated by a friend of mine who is also part of our church, Paul Atkin, who regularly reaches out to the homeless. With a small team he goes out into Birmingham city centre distributing food to the rough sleepers, praying for people’s needs and having conversations about Jesus.

I am also looking forward to going back to the Ledbury Centre Drop In.  As well as rough sleepers we have people come in from the local area to hang out drinking coffee and chatting about Jesus. It is a place where people feel safe and feel they are listened to and where they can talk about Jesus or practical issues in their lives. It’s also great that there are people from other churches that come and help. Relationships are built between those on the margins and Christians not just from our church but from other churches too.

Reaching out by being good neighbours

It’s great that we are linked in to the wider church in our area as well as those in our network of churches. I’m now looking forward to getting back to helping in the little work club that we have established that works closely with Karis Neighbour Scheme and the Church of the Redeemer in whose building Karis are based. Our church has a long standing relationship with Karis from when they were first established over a decade ago. But Karis has many other links with other organisations and with churches including Church of the Redeemer where they are now based. Karis basically seeks to be good neighbours especially to people in the Ladywood area. It offers practical help to people as well as befriending people and acting as advocates for them. It’s great being part of a church that is reaching out to our neighbours – chatting with them and getting involved in our local community.

Reaching out to all ages

I am just very pleased to be in a church like this. As a church we also run a kids club that my wife is very involved in and my daughter goes to. Recently they’ve extended this very simply by offering coffee and cakes to the parents to build relationships with them. Also each term we have a bigger event that we call Family Church that runs on similar lines to Messy Church – with craft activities, and a short time with songs and talk followed by a meal.

I know I’ve been a bit out of circulation lately but I’ve still felt very much part of the church. We all live very busy lives and don’t always find it easy to find time to do the things we would like to do as a church. Nevertheless I am always amazed how people give generously both of money and time volunteering. It is great how as a church we are finding opportunities to serve our community – particularly the people on the margins – and be like Jesus to them.

It is great being part of a church like this.

November 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

Where are the Spirit-filled Missional Churches?

One of the main reasons that God gives us the Holy Spirit is to fulfil his mission. So you would think that a church being missional – reaching out to others, serving them in Jesus name and having conversations about faith – would be great evidence that a church is filled with the Spirit.

Charismatic Churches?

Many charismatics have thriving missionary organisations and are some of the fasting growing churches in the world. They certainly are reaching out to others.

Gifts of the spirit are rightly used to build each other up, pray for each other and encourage one another but God’s intention is that our experience of the Holy Spirit should overflow to others and sadly that isn’t always the case.

Missional Churches?

There are also many non-charismatic churches out there with a missional emphasis. For example there appears to be a growing missional emphasis in many emerging churches – who have tried to get their heads around things such as post-modern thinking, creativity in worship and being culturally relevant.

A number of key people from these emerging missional churches have been disillusioned with the charismatic movement and so this movement appears very different from charismatic Christianity but still has a passion to reach out to others.

CharisMissional Churches?

Wouldn’t it be great if this new missional movement that is growing out of the emerging church got back in touch with their some of their charismatic roots? Of course they would need to deal with the issues and excesses that led them to leave in the first place but as I discussed in the review of ‘Post-Charismatic?’ I don’t think that would be a bad thing. What do you think?

November 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)