Phil – Our Minister writes….
“Looking forward to the next year there will be more changes. Some of these will be planned decisions that we make as a church. Others will come about as a result of the changing circumstances of life which are outside our control.”
So I wrote at the end of my piece in last year’s Annual Report. At the time I didn’t realise how prophetic those words would be. We are now facing into a big change as we move our Sunday services for the first time in 20 years. This wasn’t something we would have chosen to do, but maybe it’s something we need to do.
Churches, as any institution, can get quite comfortable. Patterns of worship, routines, rotas, can easily allow us to slip into unthinkingly doing what we’ve always done. Times of change offer an opportunity for us all individually and collectively to evaluate what we do and why. The challenge issued to us at the start of 2017 was to not be in the same place in January 2018. Physically we will have moved, but more importantly our desire is, I hope, to have moved on spiritually.
Sunday morning worship is an important part of our spiritual growth, as we seek to encounter God together and be changed by that experience. But this Annual report is always a helpful reminder that BBC is much more than the events of a Sunday morning. We meet together in housegroups, we pray together in a variety of ways, we enjoy social events together, we reach out to our community, we support those taking Jesus around the world. All of these can and should be opportunities to encourage and support one another as we seek to grow into the likeness of Christ.
My daily prayers continue to echo for us the prayer of Paul for the Colossians, “[I] continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you might live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:9-12)
My prayer is that when we compile the next Annual Report, more will have changed than just the location in the photographs. I hope we can see sections detailing new and different ways in which some of us have come together to worship God. I pray that we will be able to report on exciting new outreach opportunities. But above all I would love to see a report filled with stories of how we have encountered God, and testimonies to a deeper work of his Spirit in each and every activity of our church, and to our living a life worthy of him in all that we do.