Onwards and upwards! Part 1: Team

We had a great ‘Vision Focus’ evening on Wednesday at The Coign Church. During the evening we highlighted a number of changes we’ve made and are continuing to make, and we also looked at our goal of helping people to …

“… Belong … Believe … Become”

Thank you for all the positive feedback on the evening

In this blog I want to mention three team changes:

Darren and Lois Forsdyke

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It’s a Petch – Forsdyke reunion!

On the evening it was my privilege to introduce Darren and Lois Forsdyke. Darren starts with us full time as Director of Operations from January 1st (although we might give him that day off as a Bank Holiday! 🙃)

Darren will be taking responsibility to lead and manage all the operational aspects of The Coign Church, which is a role we have a huge need for. He’ll also provide a ‘PA’ (Personal Assistant) function to me so I can be more effective in my role. So from January, or very soon afterwards, if you e-mail me … you’ll actually be emailing him! You have been warned …

Darren is taking on a huge role, and I know he’s well up to it; we worked together for the last 11 years! This will be a huge blessing for the Coign Church and we’re totally delighted to have this wonderful couple on board.

Nathan and Jules Silvester

During our evening we announced that Nathan Silvester will be leaving us at the end of this year. He and Jules are moving to Alton where he will be joining the team at Harvest Church in Alton as Associate Pastor.

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Nathan and Jules: we’re sure gonna miss ’em

Nathan has served us faithfully for more than nine years as our Youth Worker, and is ready for this new challenge. He will be missed! Harvest Church is another Commission Church; its good to remember that we are in mission together as a family of churches.

Their last Sunday at the Coign will be January 14th, so don’t miss the chance to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ to them both.

That leaves us with a question of course …

“What will happen with the youth work?”

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Ben and Nancy Martin – exciting times!

We answered that question too:

With immediate effect Ben Martin, who has been our children’s worker for a few years now, will be stepping up to a new role as

“Youth and Children’s Pastor”

This will be significant change of role for Ben and he will need to work differently; he’s also going to need extra operational support … so maybe Darren is arriving in the nick of time!

Ben will be working through lots of other people within the Church to make sure our children’s and youth work are as fantastic as they can possibly be. I know he has a heart full of passion fore young people and ahead full of exciting ideas.

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Becca and Ben Corbett – youthful always

Two very key players in all this will now be Ben and Becca Corbett, who will be taking on the primary leadership role for the youth in particular.

This is not an employed position, and they will be doing this as volunteers while still doing their day jobs. It was great to hear from Ben Corbett all about how they want to move the youth work forwards, building on the past and taking us into the future. Exciting times are ahead for our young people!

One more thing:

I want to say, “Thank you Coign Church”

Thank you for being receptive to change.

Thank you for your commitment to our future.

Thank you for coming on this journey together.

One thing is for sure:

We are a church that handles change well!

And in my next blog I plan to talk about where we’ve got to with our building plans, so look out for that.

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Our Newest Signing

It takes a team to build a church!

The Coign Church employs a fantastic team of people; it’s a joy working with them. On Sunday evening I announced our newest team member, joining us from January 1st – here is the info again, just in case you missed it or need a reminder:

Running light

One of things Malcolm Kayes said to me on handing over leadership of The Coign Church is that the team has been running “one person light” for a while. Malcolm chose not to fill that position before I arrived, to give me the chance to work out who I wanted. I seriously appreciate that!

As a team we’re now clear about who The Coign Church needs, so from Jan 1st Darren Forsdyke will be joining us as “Director of Operations”.

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Darren and Lois Forsdyke (He’s the one in the church leader’s shirt)

Why do we need this role?

Large churches often find they need roughly a 50:50 split between pastoral and operational people employed; currently we lean much more towards the pastoral. As a result this impacts our church life – for example:

  • Our event management is often done by elders
  • Our administrative people are flat out busy almost all the time and often work beyond their paid hours
  • Our trustees carry more practical operational responsibility than they might
  • Our church volunteer involvement in administration is low
  • There is no “PA” (personal assistant) to support me in my role
  • Our equipment, buildings and facilities could sometimes be a little better managed and a little better maintained

Additionally, we’re about to embark on a significant building project which has practical, financial and spiritual implications affecting everything!

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Time for a building project!

A genuine need

So there is a genuine need for someone extra, with a high level of experience and expertise in operations, and Darren is lined up to join us.

Darren has worked alongside me at Grace Church for the last 11 years, directing our operations and helping the church grow from a tiny church plant into a large and thriving multisite church. (He’s also had various other roles in business management and church employment over the years … but you can ask him about that yourself!)

We anticipate Darren taking responsibility for the whole of the operational side of our church life … all of it. He will be leading and managing a team that will include the other operational people – both employed and volunteer – and we anticipate that team growing and not shrinking! We need more resources in this area, not less!

A personal call

Darren has his own story to tell and his own sense of calling to The Coign Church. He feels led to move here and work with me and the team. Feel free to ask him about that when you meet him, and to send him friend requests on Facebook!

Family wise, Darren and Lois have two daughters. The eldest is married, lives in Chichester and leads the youth ministry at Grace Church along with her husband. The youngest lives and works in London and is part of a Newfrontiers Church there.

Do keep the whole family in your prayers as this moves forward, and Darren’s house is now on the market too – so we have two house sales to pray for!

And for those keen to meet Darren …

He and Lois will be joining us for our Vision Focus evening on Wednesday 6th December, 8pm at The Coign. See you there!

Pioneers Wanted!

Since starting at The Coign Church I’ve been asked a lot:

“Are we going to change to one Sunday meeting?”

People have talked about the effort it takes to hold two meetings (9am and 11am) and about a desire to be ‘together’ as a church.

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Pick a time!

Let me answer the question: We are NOT going to change to one meeting.

The reason is simple:

we are too big to fit into one meeting

… which is a nice problem to have 😃

The only way to make it work would be to turn the hall around (long ways), put the band on the stage (which is very high) and stop having tea and coffee after our meetings ☹️☹️☹️

None of these changes would be good, and we would also be so full that it would be like saying (please forgive the strong language):

“We’re okay; Woking can go to hell!”

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Yes I do!

And that’s not who we are!!! So two meetings is here to stay. I’m praying for a third.

Here are some stats to consider:

  1. Our 11am meeting is smaller than our 9am meeting, yet still bigger than most churches in the UK – even most Commission churches
  2. The 9am meeting is pretty much full – which is unusual for a 9am meeting
  3. The vast majority of children and families come at 9am (90 – 95%)
  4. The majority of guests come at 11am (inviting guests for 9am on a Sunday is a tough ask)

So when families visit us at 11am – and they do visit us – they’re left wondering where the other families are! It’s a genuine problem and could even stop people coming back!

But most of all, 17 years of church planting has taught me this: Sunday morning is the most evangelistic moment we have! I have seen more people respond to the gospel on a Sunday than at any other time, so in summary:

11am on a Sunday is our most evangelistic moment each week …

… and we’re not maximising it … yet!

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(Booking not necessary 🙂)

If we were starting a church plant or a multisite, some of us would make a personal sacrifice. We would move to start the new thing, saying goodbye to our friends and putting our family into a new context. This is the sort of pioneering opportunity we now have for families at our 11am meeting.

Pioneers wanted!

Leaders wanted!

Trail blazers wanted!

We need to grow the number of families at our 11am meeting – which I say again is already bigger than most churches in the UK! It’s a great meeting already, with kids work and youth work running each week, but we need to increase that. Why?

For the sake of the gospel!

For the sake of our town!

For the sake of reaching new people!

We have an opportunity to pioneer something as a church; to grow something that could give us even greater gospel impact. After all – the church exists for the benefit of it’s non-members.

One more thing to be clear about:

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Great to see you!

We are not trying to diminish or minimise the 9am meeting

It’s a fantastic meeting! It’s great to come to our 9am meeting. For many people that is the optimum time to be with us, and guests come at 9am each week too.

Ultimately, whatever time works for you:

JUST TURN UP! ITS GREAT TO SEE YOU!

Come when you can – Come as you are

And some will read this and feel stirred to make a change, and if that’s you then I look forward to seeing you at 11am. And if we need to make a few adjustments to the kids work to make things work, we can do that.

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Any questions? Just ask!

Yes You Can!

One of the (many!) roles that falls to me as the Lead Pastor is setting the culture for my church. Culture is so important!

Someone said it like this:

“Culture is king!”

Obviously Christians believe that Jesus is king 😀 but whoever said it still made an important point. Perhaps it was better phrased like this:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

The simple truth is this: we can make all the plans we want and devise all the strategy we  like, but the culture of our church can hinder our best intentions. For example:

  • We could devise a system to welcome new people, but if our culture is not inclusive and welcoming, new people will not feel welcome.
  • We can create a strategy to train more leaders, but if our culture is not releasing and empowering, new leaders will not emerge – (or they will emerge and leave!)
  • We can earnestly desire to be ‘a more creative church’, but if our culture is not open to new or fresh ideas, creativity will be stifled.

So what culture do we want?

In our preaching over the last three weeks I’ve highlighted two culture areas (and more will follow in the months ahead). We need to create:

  • A “Come As You Are” culture
  • A Culture of Grace

“Come As You Are” is about how we treat people coming in to our church.

It might be best summed up in the three ‘B’ words: Believe, Belong, Become

I explained on Sunday how ‘Become’ is better than ‘Behave’; Christ-like action flows from our new identity in Christ.

One implication of ‘Belong’ being first on the list, is that we don’t require someone to be a church member before they belong to a neighbourhood Group or join a serving team in many areas of church life.

Can I get involved? Yes you can! (Just ask)

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Flip That Switch!

A “Grace Filled Culture” is about how we treat people within the church

This flows out of our new life and identity in Christ; it’s the outworking of the gospel in our lives and our church.

Jesus gave us a new commandment: love one another (John 13v34). We need to show the same grace to each other that God has shown to us (see Matthew 18v21-35).

How could you show more love and grace to someone in the church today?

 

 

 

Belong … Believe … Behave

I’ve enjoyed our recent preaching series called, “Why I Love The Church”. Each week has served as reminder to me of the beauty of God’s awesome church.

 

Come as you are

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One concept we looked at was creating a “Come as you are” culture in our church. That’s huge! As people who have received grace and mercy from God, our church should be the most loving, accepting and welcoming place in town!

This will have some huge implications for how we do church life together …

Think about our mission as a church. We want people to …

  1. Believe: We really do. We want them to believe in Jesus: John 3v16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whoever believes him might not perish but have eternal life”
  2. Belong: We want people to belong to our church family: 1 Cor 12v27 – “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” 
  3. Behave: It’s not an ideal word, but it starts with a ‘B’. We want to help people become more like Jesus – we want every believer, as Eph 4v1 puts it, to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received”

But what order do we put these three words in?

This is more important and challenging than its ever been!

UK culture has changed a lot in the last ten years!

The gospel hasn’t changed, Jesus hasn’t changed, people haven’t changed, the Bible hasn’t changed, truth hasn’t changed … but culture has changed.

So we need to consider our approach!

If we went to another nation with a mission agency they would give us cross cultural training … I think we may now need cross cultural training to reach the UK!

Some churches do it this way: Behave … Believe … Belong

socialexclusionSo, if you’re the right sort of person: reasonably wealthy, with an outwardly moral lifestyle and a stable family, someone might invite you to church. If you come you might hear the gospel. And down the line, if you commit your life to Christ and get baptised, you might be allowed to belong to the church family.

The trouble is, we won’t see many come to know Jesus that way!

Other churches do it like this: Believe … Behave … Belong

Im-a-Mess-T-Shirt-Worn-Free-Tee-Black_1024x1024They reach out to anyone, regardless of their background, and recognise that we can’t expect people who are not yet Christians to live a Christian lifestyle.

And once people decide to follow Jesus discipleship begins. Once the big issues are sorted out in their lives they are ‘allowed’ to get baptised and ultimately to join the church.

This is better, but it’s less effective than it used to be, because people with messy lives are still going to struggle to connect.

We also run the danger of teaching people a set of Christian rules, instead of teaching them to follow Jesus!

But more and more churches are finding that to win people for Jesus today we need to order it like this: Belong … believe … behave.

This means helping people to find a place in our church family before they come to faith in Jesus. I’m not redefining church membership here, I’m simply saying is that we need to accept people, just as they are, and allow them to find a place in our church family before they come to faith. In today’s culture this is vital, because people need to know they are accepted, before they’re willing to listen to our message.

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When people know they are accepted, they are more willing to listen to our message.

People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care!

Once people have received the gospel and opened their lives to Jesus, once they have believed in him, then their life begins to change. Not because we hot them with a set of rules, but because the Holy Spirit is at work to transform them; they begin to live a life worthy of the calling they have received, albeit with many trips and stumbles along the way … and we need to be okay with the trips and stumbles too.

But is this Biblical? Is it really okay?

I think this is exactly what Jesus modelled for us, for example:

  • When he met Zacchaeus (Luke 19v1-10)
  • When he met the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4v1-42)

Won’t we be misunderstood?

phariseesProbably – but until religious people are scandalised by the radical grace we show to those who are far from God … until pharisaical people are questioning the company we keep … until, like Jesus, we are accused of being a ‘friends of sinners’ …

we’re not really representing Jesus very well.

 

The Challenges Of Being Somewhere New

We’re enjoying living in Woking, and not only because of starting at The Coign Church. Of course there are lots of challenges moving somewhere new, though most of mine appear to be food related – for example:

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It’s all a bit alien to me!

  • Finding my way round a new supermarket (harder work than it should be)
  • Deciding where to go out for a meal (Pizza Express – it’s literally next door to the Coign building)
  • Deciding where to buy a sandwich (had a calzone from a street vendor in Market Walk – nice!!!)
  • Understanding the food waste recycling system (a new concept for us)
  • Almost creating an ‘international incident’ when trying to buy goat (yes, really) for some Indian visitors after Westpoint (we ended up with lamb and we liked it)
  • And finally (non-food related) trying to find a post office … and then trying to negotiate the queue …

It feels odd not knowing where everything is, especially when the road layout seems to change almost daily!

So praise God for the church!

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Let the preaching commence!

We’re absolutely loving getting to know The Coign and, although we’re new, so many things already feel very familiar to us.

I’ve enjoyed starting our new preaching series: “Why I Love The Church”. Do get the free download of week 1 if you missed it; part 2 this Sunday.

I’ve enjoyed seeing ‘normal church life’ taking place all around me: worship, community groups, prayer meetings, pastoral care, youth work, kids work, team meetings, elders meetings, planning for alpha and so much more.

I even enjoyed getting my car washed as part of a fund raiser for three young people  setting off to do year teams, although I think the cars weren’t the only thing that got soaked …

 

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And talking of getting soaked …

What a joy to see people being baptised on Sunday evening

Sharon, Marcus, Clara and Karam each made the step of being baptised. The testimonies were great, with Karam’s even reducing grown men to tears. Dub then preached excellently and we ended up praying for lots of people too. Apologies for the quality of the photos:

 

 

Baptisms are a  sign that God has been at work in our church, and I believe he will carry on blessing us as we go into the future too.

So let’s pray for many more baptisms in the months ahead!

A New Season

It was exciting to be at The Coign on Sunday and to be welcomed into church membership … at last! I’ve missed being part of a church family over the last few months.

Contributions were brought during both Sunday meetings that mentioned it being a ‘new season’ for the church. Life moves in seasons, and each season has it’s own unique qualities. Here are three new things that can I see in this new season:

1. A New Role

I started my new role at The Coign Church last Friday. My first day began with a 7am  prayer meeting, followed by a trip to a coffee shop, and I can’t think of a better way to start! It was great that Jo could join us this week. On that note anyone is welcome to join us – 7am each Friday @ The Coign; it’s a good meeting.

My sabbatical has ended now and real life has begun again. What a joy to be released to work for a church; some days I think I have the best job in the world!

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My lovely new office space!

It’s a new experience to be leading a church I haven’t planted myself. There are so many new things for me to get my head around: a new house to live in … a new town to discover … a new church family to get to know … new ways of doing things … new people to work with … new systems and procedures … new challenges and opportunities.

It’s both exciting and challenging, but at least picking up after Malcolm’s 27 years of excellent leadership gives me a solid platform to build on.

2. New church offices

There will be changes ahead for us as a church, and one early change has been setting up new offices in The Coign building – and they are looking good; feel free to call in and see for yourself.

 

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Dean – also looking good!

A huge thank you goes to everyone involved in making the offices happen! There are too many people to mention them all by name, but special mention goes to Dean Guy who was the brains behind the design, and who did incredibly well to get things ready in time for 1st September.

 

It’s going to be different for all of us working in an open plan context, but it has potential to help in several ways, including:

  • A nicer environment to work in
  • A better sense of being a team
  • A greater feeling of camaraderie
  • An easier flow of information
  • More opportunity for collaboration
  • Increased day to day interaction
  • Closer accountability
  • Lower running costs 🙂
  • New moment by moment discipleship possibilities
  • And much more

It also creates a good place for volunteers to get involved … and if you fancy doing an Impact Year then let us know asap – we have space for two people.

I believe these offices can help us move forward in our mission together as a church, and ultimately that’s what it’s all about. They also free up the house and the garage as we start to consider what’s next for us in terms of buildings …

3. A New Team

Well … sort of a new team! Certainly a new team leader and some new ways of working together!

On Tuesday we had a team day in the offices to pray, talk about teamwork and discuss the future. A highlight for me was seeing the huge creativity of team members in response to an activity we did together that required people to ‘bring in an object’. The details of what was said remain confidential, but the items were certainly interesting:

The team I’ve inherited are a real blessing. I’m impressed with how hard people work, how dedicated they are and how much they desire to see the church move forward. Why not take the time to say “thank you” to some of them this week, and let them know that they’re appreciated for the job that they do?

Hello Woking!

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Good job my wife is an excellent driver!

It’s taken longer than we expected, and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a journey, but this week we finally arrived in the awesome town of Woking. Hooray!

Thanks to everyone who dropped by with cakes, cards, flowers and Prosecco. Your warm welcome made us feel right at home … and that’s important because otherwise we might miss our Grace Church friends and family even more than we do already – thanks for calling in!

What a week!

It’s been a huge week for us personally: moving in on Monday, then heading off to the annual Commission gathering at Westpoint on Thursday through to the following Monday. Now we’re back with a mountain of washing to do!

By the way, Westpoint was excellent this year in so many ways, and one added bonus for us was that we got to meet a lot of Coign Church people. You can book in for next year already, so don’t delay. We’ll be there for sure.

On Friday I begin my new role as Lead Pastor at The Coign Church. I’m looking forward to getting started and to finding out what God has in store for us in the year ahead. Jo also starts her new role now as Head of School at a Special School in Portsmouth. Please be patient with us if things get a little hectic along the way …

I have TWO REALLY KEY THINGS to mention in this blog:

First – what this blog is for …

I write a blog to communicate with my church. Up to now that has meant Grace Church; from today onwards it means The Coign Church – so I encourage as many Coign people as possible to read it – and feel free to post, repost and interact in helpful ways. You can even follow it or subscribe to receive it by e-mail.

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And now it’s The Coign Church

There are lots of exciting things we do as a church, there are lots of ministries that bless our community, there are lots of people who will make faith steps in various ways, and there are also exciting things I’m involved with personally in the wider world of Commission … and some of these could go by unnoticed.

My aim for my blog is to connect to more people across our church and to let you know what we’re up to – to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing.

So let’s celebrate what God is doing with us as a church family! And if there is something good that I miss along the way then let me know and maybe we’ll get it included.

Second – a mention of some true Coign Church heroes …

Although we now have an address in Woking, our house in Chichester has not yet sold. I confess I was starting to feel a little bit concerned! John and Ann Wardill have stepped in to make it possible for us to be here in time, so right now we are living in their house … and they are not.

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John and Ann Wardill – ready to leap into superhero action at any moment.

John and and Ann are a great example to us all of people who are using their retirement to pursue the call of God in so many ways. We need to honour people like this and hold them in high esteem! What a blessing they are to us and what an example to us all!

We trust that God will sort our house sale out in his own timing, and that we will buy our own property in Woking in the months ahead, but Jo and I want to give a public thank you to these two heroes!

We’re looking forward to seeing you all at our Coign Church meetings this Sunday!

Goodbye Grace Church

Today has been our last Sunday at Grace Church – after more than 11 years it’s time for Jo and I to say our last goodbye (and thanks for inviting us to the goodbye party too!) I haven’t blogged during this time of leadership transition at the church, but I’ll start again now as we leave and I begin my Sabbatical. Thanks for reading!

Looking back

In 2005 God called us to move to Chichester to plant Grace Church, which we started in 2006. This has been where our family has grown up. In case anyone is unaware, we’re moving to Woking now where I will be lead elder at The Coign Church; there are exciting times ahead.

Looking back I’m so glad that we responded positively to God’s call; God has done so much! It’s been our joy to see three congregations established: Chichester, Bognor Regis and Midhurst. More will follow I’m sure! It’s been our joy to see God at work in so many ways, and now he is calling on us on. I’m sure it will be our joy to see him at work in Woking too.

We want to say thank you to each person at Grace Church for the part they have played along the way. Thank you for friendship, commitment, encouragement and support. As we leave we feel very encouraged and very well sent! God has done so much, and there’s still so much more to come.

Moving on

The main reason for moving on is simply that God has called us to; it’s obedience. But there are benefits for a church when a leader moves on too, for example:

  • All leaders have their faults: we all have blind spots and weaknesses, as well as our strengths; change can be a blessing!
  • It creates room for other gifts to emerge: when a leader moves on it creates space for other people to emerge
  • It multiplies leadership: Grace Church has a great eldership team now, David supported by many other leaders too. David has come into his own as a lead elder. The church is going to do fine without us
  • It keeps the church fresh: New ideas and initiatives will find space and be released to flourish

And if God calls us to move on and we don’t do it, it could result in some problems:

  • Stagnation: a loss of the fresh cutting edge
  • Loss of anointing: a lack of God’s power and blessing on the task

Ultimately, when leaders stay beyond their God given time, what has been built can be damaged! So there are benefits to leadership changes in church life, and we’ll see those in Grace Church as we go.

Some final words

In my talk today I pointed three final words: Love, Obedience & Truth.

Love:

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this will all people know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” – John 13v34-35

Love for Jesus can overcome all barrier, so love one another, accept one another, bear with one another and forgive one another!

What enables us to do that? The certainty that we are loved ourselves: “We love because he first loved us” – 1 John 4v19

Obedience:

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” – John 14v15

The first command we obey is the command to love one another, rooted in a love for God; all the rest of our obedience flows from that. If you love Jesus, obey him. Our obedience is a demonstration of our love. We need to obey what Jesus calls us to do; we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

When we walk in obedience we walk in confidence; when we walk in disobedience, nothing feels right. There is no joy for a Christian living in disobedience to God. In his presence is fulness of joy; if you don’t have joy, whose presence are you spending your time in???

Truth: 

Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8v31-32.

True freedom comes by knowing the truth. Truth is not all relative! Truth is not unknowable! Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and life” – John 14v6. Jesus is the truth, and Jesus is knowable. You can find answers for life that are absolutely true, in Jesus.

The best way to avoid being deceived by lies is to know the truth, so learn the truth, read the truth, listen to the truth, meditate on the truth, obey the truth. The Bible is God’s word, and God’s word is truth, and it all points to Jesus and Jesus is truth!

 

A world to reach

We have a world to reach with the good news of Jesus. People need to see the love of God in us and feel the love of God through us. People need to see us living lives of sacrificial obedience to God, even when it’s costly. People need to see that the truth we have is impacting our world and our lives for good.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 15.21.18Most people will only experience the presence of God through us; you and I are the closest to Jesus they will ever get unless they also come to faith in Jesus for themselves! And for that to happen it is vital that we are living lives of love, obedience and truth.

So that’s three final words to remember: Love … Obedience … Truth.

And as far as my ministry at Grace Church goes …

… that’s your LOT!

 

Handing over: feeling excited … and a little bit sad

Wednesday 11th January is a massive day for me personally:

happy-05It’s the day I hand over the Lead Eldership role at Grace Church to David Thompson. This moment feels quite exciting: it’s like like the starter pistol marking the beginning of a race; it’s the first step on our journey to a new destination; it’s the commencement of our new adventure. Woo hoo!

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My Inner Baby

I’m excited about the future, and about the many things ahead for us, and at the same time I do feel a genuine measure of sadness at letting go after 11 years in the role.

 

Two Reminders

At the start of this week I want to remind Grace Church people of two things:

1. Wednesday Evening is important

I want to remind you of the importance of Wednesday evening’s meeting. It will begin at 7.30pm at St Pancras Church building in Chichester. John Groves will come and lead us through the evening together, and I’m told there are going to be cupcakes … nice!

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Cupcakes!!! Will ours look this good???

It would be great if every family in the church could be represented on the evening. Let’s show David and Ali our full support.

This is a significant moment

  • It’s significant for David and his family. Let’s pray for him and seek God for fresh anointing for this new role
  • It’s significant for Grace Church. We will receive a new Lead Elder who will lead the church into the future
  • It’s significant to me. I feel privileged to have someone to hand on to, who I am confident will do a great job; I don’t take that for granted, and I’m looking forward to being on David’s team until the end of April.

And on that note, let me remind you of a second thing …

2. Why we believe David is the right person for the job

Back when we made this announcement I listed ten reasons why we felt David was the right person for this role. Here are those ten reasons again:

  1. There is apostolic agreement to David stepping up; it seems good to the people who oversee our eldership team
  2. David has been ready to lead his own church for some time now; in fact if he wasn’t doing it here, he would be moving before long to do it elsewhere
  3. David’s own sense of calling; David feels a personal call to take the role on and is already developing a clear vision and strategy for the future
  4. The eldership team are united in agreement with David’s sense of calling; we have faith that this is the right way forward for Grace Church
  5. Shared values: David is already part of the team here; we have shared values. It doesn’t mean nothing will change in how we do things, but at the level of beliefs and values there will be continuity – Grace Church will continue to be Grace Church as you know and love it
  6. Shared history: David knows this church; he knows the people and how we came to be who we are. David has been here for two thirds of our churches life so far; he’s not new

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    “I’d rather have a cupcake”

  7. Ongoing community relationships: David has good ongoing links built with other church leaders in our area; he’s been doing that far more than me – it’s good not to be starting from scratch again
  8. The future needs of this church: to move forward well and continue to pioneer well, we need clear strategy, we need good systems that work and we need to continue to raise and release leaders; we believe David does those things well
  9. Understanding of our church: multisite is unusual; not just anyone could come and lead it well; David understands who we are and how we work – you can’t put a value on that!
  10. David is already leading a lot of the church: as elders we work as a team; it’s never been a one man show; he’s been doing a large portion of the job already!

That’s quite a list, and if I could add an 11th reason to the list I would say that it just feels right to me personally

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“It’s safe to come down now; Steve’s finished talking about you.”

Confidence!

I’m confident that God is leading this change … and because I’m confident that God is leading the change, I’m also confident that the future will be better for Grace Church than if we were to stay.

This is a good move.

This is a God move.

I believe there are exciting and fruitful times ahead for us all!

Go Grace Church!