Vision

A little while ago I wrote this… It gives an idea of what kind of direction I hope the church is heading. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Richard

Put simply I want to lead a church that I would want to belong to even if I wasn’t the leader of it. I want to belong to a group of people that are so committed to each other and to the kingdom of God that I would be willing to give up everything to share life with them. I want to live this one life well. I don’t want to sound judgemental but in 15/20 years’ time I do not want to belong to a church that looks like any church I currently know.

I don’t want to spend my life on growing a church that is full of programmes but that lacks real community. I don’t want to belong to a church that loves the liturgy more than it loves people who don’t know the liturgy yet. I don’t want to belong to a church that gets people ready for heaven but leaves them desperate here and now. I want to belong to a church that is authentic, charismatic, passionate, dynamic, sensitive, relaxed, accessible, rooted, secure, enjoyable and transforming.

150jewelsWhen I close my eyes and dream of what church I would like to belong to I see the following things: I see people; people in each other’s homes, laughing, talking, crying together, praying for each other naturally, reading the scriptures together as families and small groups, acting out the story together, or making up songs together. I see old and young together. I see parents and children working together. I see brothers united and fathers giving a lead. I see women respected and children nurtured. I see people gathering for worship because they can’t wait to get together to learn and worship and praise. I see people being baptised and people breaking bread together. I see them smile. I see people study, and pray and take time off. I see people relaxed on their Sabbath enjoying God’s grace. I see people experimenting in their faith – trying things out, learning and questioning and exploring. I see people helping each other and disagreeing with each other and agreeing with each other.

I see people hungry for the ‘words that lead to eternal life’. I see people getting up early to meet in pairs or threes. I see people getting together over lunch with the bible open. I see people fasting and seeking God. I see people maturing. And I see people out in the streets and in their neighbours’ homes, and in the clubs and in the pubs and in the old people’s homes and in the schools and hospitals. talking with people, praying for them, seeing God at work. I see people coming to faith for the first time – young people, old people, disabled people, dads.

I see people walking together around the streets praying and asking God to protect the people. I see some people giving up their normal work to set up projects that respond to particular problems, and others helping them. I see people using their money to make a difference to people – taking them out, buying them holidays, giving them a car, remembering their birthday. I see people sticking with addicts through the ups and downs of their recovery and praying for them in the power of the Spirit. I see people transformed by meeting Jesus and tears turning to dancing. I see people being healed in Jesus’ name. I see parents who have adopted children who would have been aborted. I see a group of people putting on a wedding for nothing for a young girl and a grandparent taking her under their wing. I see a party in honour of a single person who has no family to celebrate their birthday.

I see this happening in Shophouse Road and on the corner of Day Crescent. I see it happening in the flats off Poolemead Road and in the homes of people in Cleeve Green. I see young people from Long Valley Gardens becoming leaders and agents of transformation. I see people in the Market gossiping about what God has been doing and telling the butcher that God loves him too. I see people at work, builders and engineers and cleaners and hospital staff and schoolteachers and occupational therapists and dinner ladies and housing officers and receptionists and chefs animated by the spirit of God taking the news that the kingdom of God is available for others too …

I see a movement of people, animated and alive. I see people who know what they are about, passionate about joining in with what God is doing in a multitude of ways. I see ‘mission oriented communities’, all different, all alive, all focused and vibrant, changing the community one day at a time, one person at a time, one child at a time, one young person at a time.

I see a church of ordinary people living extraordinary lives. And I see a church leader, thanking God for all that he has given him and wondering how on earth all this happened.