The Vicar at Harvest Festival had arranged all the vegetables in front of the altar. He asked the children if they could name them. The replies were potatoes, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and swede. So he asked if they could use one word to cover them all. A littleboy held his hand up and replied ” Gravy”.
As I write, we will be getting ready for our harvest festival service, a time to give thanks to God for all that he has given us, a reminder too that there are many who simply do not have enough to eat (both in this country and abroad). Now of course this is important, but I want to write to you about a different type of harvest, the harvest of souls. That sounds a bit dramatic but this year our Methodist President, Steve Wild said this in his inaugural address:
“We cannot sit back in complacency, we have a massive Kingdom of God task. I’m wanting thisyear to challenge each church to bring one person to faith – to make one new member this nextyear, let’s make bringing people to faith the main point, we don’t do it alone. The unconditionallove of Jesus is our motivation.”
Now John Wesley also said this:
“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfil God’s creational intentions”.
Now this is my dream too, and although the challenge seems daunting in some respects, we are only being challenged to bring one person to faith over the next year and we already have a number of mission projects that are really reaching out into our community. Therefore I want to encourage you to pray and to engage in how we might continue to support and increase our involvement in these areas. This will be one part of our Healthy Church Action Day on 10th October, and so it is vital that as many of you come along on that day as possible, so that we can get a real sense of how God is leading us forward.
The success of our mission projects has been fantastic. Messy Church puts us in touch with 40 families every month who have never been to church before, in fact the success of our Messy Church team has been the talk of local social media. Tea ‘n’ Chat continues to attract an older generation and has been hugely successful in once again putting us in contact with people who are not part of our church. Our Lunch Club provides an amazing opportunity for people to come together over a meal and we are also seeing a growth in our Boys Brigade & Girls Brigade. We also continue to reach out to our community through our coffee mornings and our concerts on a Saturday evening. These are real examples of our church engaging with our community and we should rightly recognise this and also pray hard how God will reveal himself to the people that we are already meeting.
There is much to be encouraged about, but there are challenges ahead. We will be asking on our Healthy Church Action Day to seek God’s guidance on how we might go forward and there is a warning here…our church will have to change as we consider how we might enhance our welcome to new people. There is great opportunity here for God’s Kingdom to come, the issue is that it might come in ways that sometimes push us out of our comfort zone. The church here at Starbeck will continue on whatever happens, but the question is;
- Do you want to see it grow?
- Do you want to see new people come to faith and God’s Kingdom coming?
- Do you want to see Starbeck as a lively and energetic place of mission and outreach?
If you do, then please pray for our Healthy Church Action Day, and come along. Also it is important continue to pray after the day, as we put into action the things we need to do to make this happen.
I will finish with a passage from Matthew 9:
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Please pray that as we come together on the 10th October that we might seek and find God’s will for this church and his mission here. Pray how we might be released for mission in our community. Enjoy harvest and I look forward to seeing you all on 10th October.