My Last Post of 2015
I am so grateful for 2015 and all that has happened during this year, it has been an incredibly exciting year. I’m also grateful and excited for all that we have ahead of us in 2016. As I was thinking about the new year I really felt that for Churches to continue moving forward it is essential that they focus upon the following three things. I hope that you find these thoughts helpful.
Oh Yes…Happy New Year
1. WE MUST ENGAGE CULTURE LIKE NEVER BEFORE
Most people continue to find Churches disconnected from the culture that they live in. They often find that the Church they know is irrelevant to the things that they enjoy and the realities that they struggle with. Contrast that with the fact that the good news message that the Church carries is as relevant and powerful as ever, but I believe we must do more work on the way we present that message. We need to be constantly refining and reinventing, using everything that is available to us to reach the generations alive at this time and in a way that is fitting for the times and regions in which we live.
Fuelled by prayer and empowered by the Holy Spirit the message of Jesus still changes lives. As the church the way we live, act, love and communicate provides the platform from which our message can be heard.
The Church is still and will always be God’s plan to reach people and influence our world, therefore cultural awareness and relevance must be forever our default position.
2. WE MUST BE OPEN TO CHANGE LIKE NEVER BEFORE
We are creatures of habit, no doubt about it, and that means that everyone finds change difficult. Wholesale change is not something that we should be undertaking every few months or even every year. However, the ability to respond quickly to changes in our World is vitally important.
Culture today changes far quicker than I have ever known it and my experience, in my own Church and others that I have worked with, it is that things can become outdated and outmoded faster than they ever have before. Change, it seems to me, used to be more incremental but the pace of change today is nothing short of rapid.
Some Churches have decided to settle on a mantra of “We’ll just pray,” or “We’ll just rely on the Holy Spirit.” Now, I want you to know that I feel that both of those things are vital, absolutely essential and prayer along with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit needs to be intrinsic in every Church. At Christian Life Church we will be undertaking a 21 day fast in Jan to seek this very thing. However, I am concerned that these statements are often, at best, a cover for our not knowing how to read the cultural upheavals that are taking place and, at worst, expressions of laziness, expressions of our unwillingness to change.
Constant prayerful evaluation is the key to staying on course when it comes to change.
3.WE MUST BECOME LESS SELF-FOCUSSED THAN EVER BEFORE
The Church must make the sacrifices necessary to reach its community. This does not mean that the pastoral, teaching, relational and spiritual needs of its members will not be met. But it does mean that we cannot demand that our own needs and preferences are the priority of our church life.
Our priority is to be engaged in the mission of Jesus via the way of Jesus and for me both of those things are very clear. The mission of Jesus is to Reach People, Build His Church and Equip People to flourish in life. The way of Jesus is equally clear, he brought his Kingdom not by force but through sacrificial, self-sacrificial love. We, I suggest, must do the same!
I’m so excited that we are having this conversation, here’s to an incredible 2016 – Your best year yet!