A fact of life: living things grow
In 2016 I went to a conference called “Leading your Church into Growth”, and it was a really helpful experience. The conference didn’t present a one-size-fits-all approach to Church growth, it helped us to see how each church community is unique and to consider the unique gifts that God had blessed each of us with – and how our gifts might be a blessing on the community we live within.
Do what you love, but do it for God
What are the gifts that the people of St Bartholomew’s, St James’, Shred and Home Church have to offer? It has been clear to me that Christian hospitality, gracious generosity, prayerful spaces, and Christian hope are all found within the people who gather together. How can we extended these gifts to our wider community in a meaningful way? How can we offer sacred spaces for prayer? How can we be hospitable in the era of social distancing?
There are many ways in which the Church can be a blessing on the world around us, and it isn’t always about getting people through the doors. If we have gifts of cake baking – can we offer those gifts to the businesses around us? Instead of hoping the world will come through our doors, can we go out into the world and be Christians where other people are? We can, because we already do.
We spend only a small proportion of our time inside the Church buildings, but the rest of our lives are spent among others we love.
Example: In 2017 and 2018, I organised two long distance cycling events from the church where I was an Assistant Curate. I did this mainly because I love cycling and wanted to share some great long distance cycling routes. The joy I had for this was unmistakable, and everyone who came along took part saw church life in a different way, many hadn’t been in a church building before and were wow’d by the beauty. Our church community found a whole new group of people to share the gift we had for delicious cakes!
Could you offer your joy as a gift to God?
In October 2021, Sara, Val, Joanna and I will be going to the Leading your Church into Growth conference in Swanwick. Please pray for us.