What do you want to show?

All churches are full of culture, personality, vision and character. Church is a living, breathing organism of people from all different backgrounds, jobs, ages, and even old age “social classes”. We all bring something with us and each member has their own talents and gifts to enrich their church family.

But what do we look like from the outside? What do we show the local area?

Every church has a vision, and a statement of how they want to fulfill that vision. When was the last time your vision statement was updated? Is it still a valid vision for your area? Has there been a change to housing, new estates been built or knocked down? Has there been a big drop in the local economy, a loss of jobs, a number of jobs created? Has the number of families increased or decreased since your statement was created? Has your church grown or seen a number of people left? Has the leadership changed? These will all have some affect on the vision of the church in some way, even if the change is a positive one.

Does your church want to be relevant to the local community? Then from leadership down, it must been shown and lived out. Devotion? Be devoted. Live what you preach and teach, live and breathe the Word.

St Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words”.

Actions speak louder than words, so what we live and communicate is vitally important. We can be watched by our communities, and if we are living different to our vision and teaching, then how do we differ from the world? How do we show ourselves to be the Bride of Christ in a world that lives the opposite of what we see in the Bible.

Think about how our fellowships are coming across to the outside unchurched locality. Welcoming? Accepting? Bible believing? Christ filled? Empowering? Devoted? Loving? Teaching?

Advertisements

The ancient ways

Reflecting back to March, when on a very cold, snowy day, we travelled to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and the Priory with the kids to show them where Christianity was first lived out in our area. With the weak sunlight desperately trying to push through the freezing clouds which were heavy with unshed snow, we went to the old priory ruins.

As we walked round the old walls, its not hard to wonder what St Aiden or St Cuthbert would think of modern day Christianity. It is so different from the Celtic Christianity, based around fellowship and communion with God throughout the whole of their lives. Their prayer times were near constant as was their love of the poor and needy. The cutting themselves off from anything that would distract them from their Lord, meant that St Cuthbert went to live on an island all by himself. No one to talk to but his Lord, only his Lord to help him make the island liveable for himself, including sowing and reaping vegetables and corn.

How would we cope if everything was taken away from us? Would we know how to live, and to only live for God?

In some ways over time, the old Celtic ways of living and loving God have been watered down and weakened. Was it right in the first place to only live for God, and cut themselves off from everyone? I don’t know, but I do know that in a lot of ways, it would focus our attention and stop the life distractions from stealing the time away that we give to God.

I thank God for all the early Christians who gave their lives for what they believed.