Monday, 30 April 2007

continuing the conversation

Over at Simon's blog he's written a good summary of the church conference last Saturday. No doubt he'll be adding to it at a later date.

In the meantime it's fallen to me to type up the discussions and reports that were generated by the small groups and the plenary sessions. A quick glance (through the clear plastic wallet - I haven't been brave enough to open it yet) reveals a lot of discussion that has been faithfully recorded. That's fantastic and will generate material for future discussions and ways forward. While I'm processing that, it'd be great to hear your thoughts here...

If you'd like to post rather than just comment then please email me and I'll get an invite sent out to you - just bear with me if it takes a few days!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Picking and choosing

In preparation for this weekend's conference which is entitled 'missionary journeys...' we have been reading through 1 Corinthians 3 - it's the chapter entitled 'On divisions of the Corinthian Church' in the NRSV which is a tad disconcerting.

Notwithstanding I have found it useful, challenging, thought-provoking as well as forcing me to look at what I'm doing to build God's temple, dare I say even correcting and reproving me? Sounds like another well known Bible passage? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that 'All Scripture is inspired by God' and is useful for all the above. Some commentators manage to translate this phrase 'Every inspired Scripture' which insinuates that not all Scripture is inspired or at least some is more inspiring than the rest and hence not all Scripture is useful.

It is tempting when faced with a challenging passage like 1 Corinthians 3 to pick out the comfortable bits and ignore bits like 'If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person.' But I believe we do this at our peril - the final bit of 2 Tim reminds us what it's all about - that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for God's work.

Now that's God's word so I'll leave it there.

Monday, 23 April 2007

where's God taking us?

I know both Simon and Jonathan have blogged about Kate Coleman's word to us as a church yesterday but I wanted to add my voice as I too was challenged by her.

In her introduction, she talked about how she visits many churches around the country in her role as President of the Baptist Union to get a feel of what is happening. On the positive front she talked about a spiritual hunger not only in churches but in the wider community but that on the negative side she felt churches seemed to have lost a sense of the power of the gospel, instead being content to just be 'nice'. The gospel has the power to transform lives - that's what we need to share with our friends and neighbours.

She went on to challenge us to be prepared to get out of our comfort zone. She warned that is possible to fail and miss what God wants to do - that is really frightening. Many of the barriers to growth come from within and she said we need to seek God and deal with the issues both individually and as a church. She also warned to expect criticism but to be heartened rather than threatened as it is evidence that God is moving.

We've got our church conference this coming Saturday and I believe God wants to move the church to the next level - that's really exciting and we need to be open to hear him and expect change.

Pray for us...