I am convinced that ministry in the 21st Century has to be about more than just caring for those people who are already within the church, and keeping our current activities going. We have to be reaching out, engaging with the local community, seeking to communicate the love of God in Jesus Christ in whatever ways we can. And this week has been great as I have had many opportunities to get “outside the church building” (not that we have one!) and into the community.
Last weekend was the National Prayer Weekend, and our Sunday service included prayer stations to bring before God the needs of our community and the prayer requests which we had received from people living on the estate, local councillors, local businesses, and our MP. A great opportunity to do something for our neighbours that has the power to change situations.
On Wednesday morning I was at the Primary School where our church meets, to give a 5 minute talk at their Key Stage 1 Harvest Assembly. Different groups of the children sang for us, and I used the parable of the mustard seed to encourage them that however small they are they have the potential within them to do big things for the Kingdom of God.
On Thursday the “Beverley Guardian” came out, and I contributed this week’s “Views from the pews” column, writing about something that I really care about and I believe God cares about too, the refugee situation in Europe. I used the Parable of the Good Samaritan to encourage people that we must help, even if we might differ on exactly what form that help may take. I’ll publish the full text of my piece here in due course.
And tomorrow I will be conducting a funeral, for someone who I’ve never met but who used to be a member of another Baptist Church in the area. A privilege to support a family through difficult times, and to speak of the assurance we can have that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In some ways it’s been a difficult week, as family illness has restricted the time I’ve been able to work. But it’s weeks like this that I went into ministry for, as in all these varied ways I seek in God’s strength to enable his Kingdom to be extended and lives to be changed through encounter with him.