We’re part of a family of churches called Commission, and together we’re on a mission to see thousands of lives transformed, through hundreds of churches, in tens of nations. The recent pandemic has thrown up all sorts of challenges, not least that we’ve been unable to gather for our annual Connect Festival event – but that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting together.
In September this year we’re running a leadership conference, and I’d love lots of us to be there. The event is being held from Wed 28th to Fri 30th September at Citygate Church in Bournemouth. It’s aimed at anyone who leads anything at any level in our church or in the workplace or community. If you don’t lead anything right now but think you might like to one day, you should book in too.
The theme for the conference is:
“Leading for the glory of God”
The conference will include a mix of teaching, worship, seminars and ministry, along with a chance for us to hang out together socially as we enjoy food and maybe even a walk on the beach. Some from our church will be staying over in Bournemouth for the whole event, others will travel down each day, so I’m sure lift shares can be arranged where needed.
Booking is now open and you can click here to go to the booking page. Early bird ticket prices are available until 31st May (there is a small price increase after that, but don’t let that put you off)
This event will be a great investment in our future together as a church and a real encouragement to us all, and the short video below will tell you a bit more about it:
One of the many benefits of being part of the Commission family of churches is the excellent theological training that’s on offer, from a basic level through to a full Masters Degree.
Due to popular demand Commission is running a Theology for Life course across 11 Saturdays over the next academic year. Whether you’re a brand new Christian eager to learn as much as you can about Christianity, or you’ve been a Christian for a while and would like to deepen your theological understanding, Theology for Life Course is a great place to start.
The sessions will be taught by some excellent teachers from across the Commission family of churches and will take place at Hope Church Winchester, starting on Saturday 11th September and continuing once a month through to July 2022.
The whole course costs £300, which includes all the training, access to an online learning portal and interaction with the course leader between sessions including both feedback on voluntary assignments and ongoing discussion relating to any questions raised by the teaching. Coffee and refreshments will be served on the days, though you’ll need to bring your own lunch.
Below is a video which tells you more about the course:
As we restart in person meetings, let’s remember that our meetings are not an end in and of themselves; they serve a wider purpose. When we consider the effort involved in meeting in person again, and we ask ourselves how we feel about it all, let’s remember one thing:
It’s really not about you!
We are part of Jesus’ church; we belong to Him. When we gather it’s for His glory and not our own convenience or comfort. If we were only concerned about ourselves we might feel less motivated to make the effort, but God has a bigger role for us to play in the wider world as individuals and as a church.
Let me highlight the bigger picture in three ways:
1. We are part of a local community
It’s been said the church is the only organisation on the planet that exists mainly for the benefit of it’s non-members. Whether that’s accurate or not is a matter for debate, but it’s certainly true that our church is not just about us; we have a mission both to the town we live in and further afield. Jesus loves Woking, and so should we; His mission should be our mission.
As we start to gather in person again, our meetings are not just about being together and worshipping – although that is important – God actually has a role for us to play as a church in Woking, and a role for each individual to play in the places where they live and work; a role that goes way beyond our meetings. A key part of gathering together is about equipping people for the wider calling they have – the call to ‘love your neighbour’.
The last year has been challenging for our nation and people have been impacted in a lot of different ways. Challenges to health, finance, emotional wellbeing and more won’t disappear overnight and we may find that all sorts of situations of need are brought to our attention; let’s be ready to respond in faith and to help people across our community.
I’m especially looking forward to seeing each of our Welcome Works up and running again, remembering that we’re here to do good and to bring the kingdom of God to people. I’m also looking forward to seeing new people making a commitment to follow Jesus and getting baptised. I’m looking forward to seeing our children being taught and having fun together at church again. I’m looking forward to seeing more leaders raised up and released to serve our church and further afield.
2. We are part of the UK
One thing we need to do as we come back together is pray for our nation. Let’s pray for God to move in renewal and draw many people from across our nation into His Kingdom. We don’t know what God might do in the months ahead, but let’s pray for Him to use what’s happened with the pandemic for His purposes. Let’s pray for him to build his church in every town, city and village in the UK.
I have the joy of meeting (currently online) with leaders from our wider family of churches across the UK, as well as with church leaders from across our town. Every church is now considering how they unlock and at what pace, so it’s a journey we’re all on together, supporting and encouraging one another along the way.
Let’s pray for the church in our nation to stand on it’s feet again and find its voice again. Our nation needs the gospel right now more than ever, so let’s be praying that every church will play its part, whatever the cost, remembering that we’re all on the same team. Let’s pray for a revival.
3. We are part of an international family of churches
We belong to a family of churches called Commission, with churches in 14 different nations including the UK, Europe, South Asia, USA, South America, Africa, East Asia and the Middle East. Let’s remember that we have a part to play in that as well.
To highlight our belonging to an International family of churches there’s a one hour event this Sunday evening (28th March) at 7.30pm called Commission Global. I want to encourage as many of us as possible to join in.
You can register for this event using the link above, or it can be accessed via this video link:
This Sunday evening (17th January) we will be meeting at 6.30pm on Zoom, for about an hour, to appoint two new elders for Welcome Church. I’m very excited that Robin Willison and Nnamdi Anyaegbunam are now joining the team and it’s been great to receive so many positive encouragements about them and their families from across the whole church.
Guy Miller, who leads our Commission family of churches will be leading us through the evening together. Please come full of faith and be ready to show your support and add your prayers; this a key moment for us to be together as a church.
You will be able to log on from 6.20 pm for some informal chat and a chance to say ‘Hello’ to some people, and then the meeting will then begin properly at about 6.30pm. See you on Zoom!
As a church we go to a festival each year in August, camping with other churches from our Commission family. We always have a great time with excellent teaching, worship, sports, entertainments, youth work, kids work, fun and games. I love hanging out with people from our own church, and also being with thousands of people from other Commission churches too, both from the UK and other nations.
Sadly, because of the Coronavirus outbreak, this year’s event has been postponed until August 2021.
This week the Commission Office will get in touch with everyone who’s booked to let you know what happens next. If you’ve booked already you will have three choices:
ONE: You can have your money back … but please don’t do that unless you really have to.
TWO: You can donate the cost of your booking to Commission to support the work done all around the world, including amongst the poor in several nations. That could be a good option, especially if you know 2021 is not possible for you, or you just want to be generous at this difficult time.
THREE: You can roll your booking over to 2021. Remember the event is not cancelled – it’s just postponed. I’m sure most will choose this option.
Connect Festival 2021 will be awesome!
Just think what a huge celebration we will have together, having missed this year’s event and having come through this crisis together. Jo and I will be there. I know you really won’t want to miss it!