From the vicarage March 2011
On 6th March an invited group of church members will be gathering to think and pray about forming a nucleus of small groups. Please be praying for us as we start on this journey, faithfully stepping out to fulfil the mission of the church in West Bromwich through the vision of a small group on every street in our parish.
Our aim is to do mission where we live, establishing a vibrant network of small groups each with a healthy rhythm of group life. This rhythm will draw people in to read God’s word together; love, accept, care and pray for one another; teach new believers (the next generation) and bless the the people on our streets in the name of Jesus. Can you imagine the impact of such a mission in our community? Don’t stop at dreaming about it, we want to see the reality.
Establishing the nucleus is the first step. Next we’ll ask others from church to join us and aim to see everyone in church committed to a small group, or adopted by one. Then we’ll seek to grow from there. At least that’s the theory. It will not be as clear cut as that.
At my interview for this post, God established in my mind a pattern for church ministry which we find in the book of Acts.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Holy Trinity church is part of the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city. “Judea” is community around Holy Trinity where its people see the church at the heart of the community. “Samaria” is the local area beyond Judea, where there are other ministries we might be involved in which are not as high priority as the community of “Judea”. And “the ends of the earth” are the places we send our missionaries, like Tommy, Simon or others.
When I arrived here two years ago, I spent lots of time and effort trying to reach Judea. I got to know people in the area, did one-to-one bible studies, ran Just for Starters and Christianity Explored. We hosted “A feast for all nations” with Calvary Church and WBCC. Looking back, I rushed ahead of the pattern God had given me. I had not spent enough time preparing New Jerusalem, Holy Trinity church family, for mission. I realise now that to be effective in mission we need to work together towards the same goal. There’s no point in me steaming on ahead.
In a Peanuts cartoon (Snoopy and Charlie Brown) the strong minded girl Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels. She threatens to punch him if he won’t do it. “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” asks Linus. “These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.” “Which channel do you want?” asks Linus and, turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
The church of God is his weapon to overcome evil with good. On our own we can do very little, we are weak and can’t achieve much good. But united in mission, with a clear vision, and as we receive power when the Holy Spirit comes, the church of God is an invincible force for good. May God bless us and unite us in mission.
Your brother and servant, Neil