Tuesday, 19 May 2015

7 Signs of a Healthy Church - Seeking to find out what God wants

Sermon preached by the Revd Phill Ball on Sunday 17 May 2015 

You know, sometimes we can give a wrong impression. How often do we talk to one another and speak of ‘our church’, or tell those outside the fellowship about ‘my church’. What we’re actually meaning when we say this is ‘the church that we belong to’, but what we are literally saying is ‘the church that belongs to us’.

Now, you may think I’m being a little pedantic here and I know it certainly sounds that way, but there is a serious point to it: there’s a danger that the longer we go on talking about ‘my church’ and ‘our church’, the more likely we will begin to think of it as ‘the church that belongs to me, or us’, rather than the other way around. And when that happens there is a real likelihood that our own agenda will become the agenda of the church and that would be unhealthy.

What we need to be mindful of at all times is that, fundamentally and ultimately, the Church is God’s Church – it, and we, belong to Him. Jesus Christ died for His Church – it is His much more than it is ours. Of course, I don’t want us all to stop completely talking of ‘my church’ and ‘our church’, but it is essential we remember that, first and foremost, it’s God’s Church and that it’s His agenda we must seek to discover.

At the moment, we as a church are considering the 7 signs of a healthy church and, in previous weeks, we have suggested that a healthy church is one that is ‘energised by faith’ and that has ‘an outward-looking focus’. This morning, I’m going to add a third sign: that is, a healthy church is one that seeks to find out what God wants – with the emphasis firmly upon God.

I think there are four elements to this desire to discover God’s will. First of all, it would seem that a healthy church …

seeks to explore what God wants it to be and to do.

Notice the significance of that: what you are is as important as what you do. As individuals, we can be highly motivated Christians that try to do everything: door-to-door evangelism; children’s work; welcoming at the front door on Sunday mornings; minute-taking at meetings; leading a house group; and so on; as well as looking after home and family. The only problem is we may well be so busy doing things that we have no time to think about our being – that is, about who we are before God.

If, instead, we would start off by considering who we are – that is, how God has made us, how He has gifted us, and to what He has called us – then we might find we are doing much less, yet being much more effective.

The same applies to churches: we can build up an extremely busy and impressive roster of events, groups and activities; and yet lose touch with who we are before God. Whole fellowships – just like individuals – first need to seek God’s will for their ministry and then act in accordance with what they discover. This doesn’t mean that a church should go through a period of complete inactivity, but rather that it must ensure that opportunities to listen for the voice of God are not crowded out by periods of non-stop activity.

Jesus, as ever, provides the perfect example for us. In Luke’s Gospel, we read that Jesus went up a mountain to pray by Himself and ended up praying all night – and when I say ‘praying’, I don’t mean that He just spoke out His own prayers … I’m sure He also spent lots of time listening to His Father’s voice. When He came down the mountain, look what He did:

first, He chose 12 of His many followers to be apostles, who would continue His work after His death;
then, He healed many sick people who crowded around Him;

and, after that, He delivered arguably the most important teaching session of His entire ministry.

All this is more than mere coincidence, believe me. Jesus is very focussed precisely because He has taken time out to hear God’s voice – as a result, He is sure of who He is and certain of what He is called to.
Who appoints the apostles from  (apóstolos), meaning "one who is sent away",[1] is a messenger and ambassador of God, you and me in effect- God does.

We might also remember the Mary and Martha episode, in which busy, busy, oh-so-busy Martha complains to Jesus because Mary is just sitting and listening to Him. But Jesus doesn’t agree with Martha and suggests that Mary has found the better way. The point is that there is a time for doing - indeed there’ll plenty of time to be busy with whatever we are called to do – but that time will emerge out of a willingness first to listen to what God is saying to us.

As a fellowship, we must listen for God speaking to us; we must seek to find out what God wants us to be and what He is calling us to do – through personal and corporate prayer, through conversation and consultation, in an unhurried and unpressured manner. As Robert Warren has put it, we need “the courage to seek to discover what God is calling this church at this time to be and to do in this place.”

Second, a healthy church …

has a shared vision of where it is going

In other words, in a healthy church there will be a vision of where God is calling that church, and it will be a vision which is owned by the whole fellowship.

So, first of all: that vision must come from God, and should not be of purely human invention. The King James Version of the Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”, but the word translated ‘vision’ actually means ‘following the guidance of God’. It’s God’s guidance which is critical in this.

Now, of course, vision for a Christian fellowship may first be given through a church leader – in the Bible, we see numerous examples of God using a human agent to guide His people.

Moses (Simon) is a prime example of this: God spoke through Moses (and his more flawed sidekick Aaron)(ME) in order to communicate to the Israelites the vision of a free Israel living in the Promised Land and He equipped Moses to lead them through the wilderness.

Nehemiah is another great example: God worked through Nehemiah to share the vision of rebuilt city walls with the inhabitants of Jerusalem and, when they were suitably enthused, they went ahead and got the job done.

So, vision may come through an individual, but then the really critical factor is that this vision is affirmed and owned by God’s people. If the Israelites hadn’t seen that God was in it, they wouldn’t have followed Moses into the wilderness; and if the people of Jerusalem hadn’t recognised that God was behind the project they wouldn’t have worked so effectively to rebuild the city walls. If God isn’t in St Martins, who will follow Simon Faithfully?

The healthy church, then, has a shared vision of where it is going and is able to communicate it to others. This ability to communicate vision to others is essential, because it may well attract like-minded people from outside the fellowship to come along and participate.

The third point is that the healthy church …

acts upon what God reveals

Hearing from God is one thing - putting what He says into action is another! Just think of the story of Jonah: God commissioned Jonah to go to Nineveh to deliver a prophecy of judgement and what did Jonah do? He ran away in the opposite direction. It was only later – after being thrown overboard into the sea, swallowed by a huge fish and vomited up – that he was obedient.

Now, I don’t think there are many churches around that would behave like Jonah did, but there are probably a few that are given a vision and then are slow to take it any further.
Prayer and Vision without action, and in that order is worthless.

Healthy churches receive the vision, own it and then set themselves goals to put it into action – immediate goals and long-term goals. When we are sure that God has spoken to us, we must take it seriously and take whatever steps are necessary to put His word into action.

The final point I’ll make this morning is that the healthy church …

is prepared to make sacrifices to do God’s will

Just take the church at Smyrna that Jesus addresses in Revelation, chapter 2. He tells the Christians in Smyrna, “I know about your suffering and your poverty – but you are rich.” They were willing to pay a tough price for doing God’s will – persecution, even to the point of death.

Now, it seems unlikely that any fellowship in this country will be called upon to suffer such extreme treatment in the near future, but nonetheless healthy churches will make sacrifices.

In his book, ‘The Healthy Churches’ Handbook’, Robert Warren tells the story of the church who asked God what He wanted them to be and to do and they kept on hearing the word ‘hospitality’. At first, they thought God was inviting them to enjoy His hospitality at the communion table. Then, they felt that they were called to show greater hospitality to one another and, as a result, relationships within the church grew stronger. And, finally, they realised that God was telling them to extend hospitality to their local community and they put their energies into caring for immigrants and other disadvantaged groups. Because of this, the church was criticised by some for associating with dubious characters – but then, of course, so was Jesus!


So, then, may we always desire to find out what it is that God wants and not merely follow our own whims:

- may we be concerned to discover what God wants us to be & to do;
- may we come to a shared vision of where we’re going;
- may we always act upon what God reveals to us;
- and may we be prepared to make sacrifices to do God’s will.

As we seek to serve God in this town, in this area, I am sure that He will bless us and open up doors to us.

The big Question is what is Gods vision for yr place and life here at St Martins.

To God be the glory.  Amen.

- - - - - - - - -

Does St Martin's seek to find out what God wants? 

1          Weak and holding us back      2%                  
2          Only a few signs                      4%      
3          Some evidence of this            14%    
4          Making progress                     30%        
5          Evidence of much of this        43%     
6          This is a strength                     7%      

Seeking to find out what God wants: what needs working on….

  • Sharing our vision with the church community
  • Seeking God’s ways rather than our own
  • Attracting locals who do not attend church
  • General spiritual awareness and pockets of consideration of personal vocation and group mission, to be developed into an understanding of St Martin’s shared goals/priorities, and the long and short plan to meet these.
  • Poor strategic planning and organisation
  • Communication requires improvement
  • Engagement with needs outside and around the church
  • More communication
  • To try hard and listen to God
  • The church sets its goals but seems to ignore these in the day to day life – MAP is not regularly visited by those in leadership roles.  Therefore, there is no sense of communication of where we are going and apart from a few instances it would seem to an outside that the church operates on a Sunday morning.  Where the church is going is a question for all of us to have an input – how is this achieved in St Martin’s?
  • Use prophetic gifts
  • Prayer
  • More opportunity for whole church reflection/prayer to seek what God wants and for people to share what they feel God is making them to do within church/community
  • I don’t think we have a ‘big’ enough vision of who God is.  We come to Him with ‘lists’ and spend very little time praising and worshipping Him for who He is.
  • If we knew Him and His love more, we would know who we are and know His will for us
  • We need to work on corporate prayer
  • Our openness to the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

VE Day & Christian Aid's 70th Anniversary - All Age Service

May 8th 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, but despite being an important anniversary I found very few worship resources on line.  May 10th, the nearest Sunday to VE Day, also happened to be the start of Christian Aid Week, and 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Christian Aid.  I decided to combine these two special events together, to put together this all age service.  The prayers for VE Day (slightly adapted) and Act of Rededication came from Westminster Abbey - the only liturgical resources I could find for this important anniversary http://www.westminster-abbey.org/press/news/2015/may/ve-day-resources-now-available-online

I hope that by posting these resources on line they may be of help for other people.

VE Day All Age Service & Christian Aid 70th Anniversary

Welcome & Introduction

A very warm welcome to St Martin’s, and this special all age service. 

This morning we are celebrating two special events, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, and the 70th anniversary of the start of Christian Aid.

As we look back on the events of 70 years ago, we want to thank God for the peace we enjoy, and to reflect on how we can continue to struggle for peace and justice in the world today.  

Opening Response

We gather together
in the name of the One who bids us come.

We gather together
to hear the words of the One who is Love.

We gather together
to sing praises of the One who teaches peace.
Come, let us worship!

Hymn    Lord for the years

On May 8th, 1945, Winston Churchill gave a speech in which he announced to the nation that after almost six long years of fighting which had seen unprecedented destruction and loss of life, the war in Europe was finally over. Let’s listen to part of this speech…

It was to be another three months before the war was finally over, with the surrender of Japan on the 15th August 1945.  But the news that the war in Europe was over was greeted with scenes of celebration as church bells rang out, and people gathered together for street parties. 

A number of people from St Martin’s, who remember VE Day in 1945, have kindly agreed to share their memories of that day:

Members of St Martin's share their memories of VE Day 

VE Day wasn’t a happy day for everyone, especially those who’d lost loved ones, or whose loved one’s were still fighting in the Far East.  

One of these people was Maurice Emerson.  Maurice’s brother Reggie, who had survived the Normandy landings was killed was killed on the 18th April in a freak accident on board the aircraft carrier HMS Glory.  He was 20 years old. 

About VE Day itself Maurice said “the family were in mourning, and did not take part in any of the celebrations or street parties taking place.  Our house was a sad and quiet place amongst all the joy and happiness. At the time, my eldest brother Walter was involved in the Far East war, so the concern over whether another of the family would meet a similar end almost sent my mother out of her mind.

Song      God is our help and refuge

Although the fighting in Europe was over, much of Europe was in ruins.  Millions of people had been killed, and many more displayed.

The churches in Britain realised that when the war eventually ended, it would take a mammoth effort to reconstruct the towns and cities that had been destroyed.  So in 1942 the British Council of Churches was established, and they started to consider what practical assistance would be required to build peace once the war was over.  The British Council of Churches set up the Christian Reconstruction in Europe committee, to help establish a vision of a world without war. This is to be the beginnings of Christian Aid.

It was on the Sunday after VE Day in 1945 that British churches raised £85,000 for Christian Reconstruction in Europe to help European churches meet the needs of their people. 

Theodor Davidovic, a former refugee was one of those refugees who was helped after the Second World War…

In 1949 Christian Reconstruction in Europe was renamed the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service.

The first Christian Aid week started in 1957, and it appealed to churchgoers to support refugees - forgotten by 'a world that has turned its back' – a problem that still affects the world.

In 1964 the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service became known as Christian Aid.

We’re now going to hear two short readings from the Bible; the first which reminds us that justice, peace and compassion are things that matter deeply to God, and the second reading that that if we claim to have faith in God, we have to demonstrate this by our actions. 

Bible Readings   
Zechariah 7:9-10           
James 2:14-17                  

If justice, mercy and compassion matter to God, as He says in Zechariah, then as God’s people it HAS to also matter to us.  Being a Christian is not just about believing in God, it is about changing the world.  We are called to be WORLD CHANGERS. 

The Second World War in Europe may have ended 70 years ago, but the war against poverty, disease, and inequality continues, and that is what Christian Aid over the last 70 years has been striving to achieve, so that we can live in a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty, as this short video illustrates (only the first 2 minutes and 9 seconds of this video were shown).

If we want to live in a world of peace and justice, then we must play our part, and one of the ways we can do this is by supporting organisations like Christian Aid.  Because as God’s people, we’re called to be channels of God’s peace in the world.  

Song      Make me a channel of your peace

Prayer stations there were a series of prayer stations based around the theme of peace and justice, as well as creating a large 'peace poster' the idea came from http://engageworship.org/ideas/Making_a_work_of_peace


Trusting the promises of God, and with faith in his mercy, let us pray to the Lord.

Let us give thanks for the selfless and courageous service and sacrifice of those who brought peace to Europe, and for the good example they have given us;
let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

We pray for nations still devastated by war, for their people and their leaders, and for those who suffer the effects or memories of past wars; for veterans, for those who mourn, and for all innocent victims whose lives have been shattered by the cruelty of others;
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Let us give thanks for those who work for peace and liberty throughout the world, especially today we thank God for the ministry and witness of Christian Aid, striving to build for a more just and peaceful world.  let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

We pray for those in our own day who have grown weary or lost hope as a result of violence or terror; for all refugees and displaced people, and for those who seek to address the causes of discord and distrust; Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Let us give thanks for the reconciliation of former enemies, for the flourishing of goodwill between them, and for the many blessings we enjoy as a result of the sacrifices which have made for peace; let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

We pray for the young people of our own day and for all who will shape the future of this nation, that they may be inspired by those who have gone before them to serve as they have been served; Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

For the reconciliation of former enemies and for the flourishing of goodwill between them, and for the many freedoms and benefits we enjoy as a result of the sacrifices which have made for peace; let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Act of Rededication led by an older member of the congregation (or veteran if there is one) and a young person

They fought for peace, that the world might never again know such violence and destruction.
Will you work for peace and reconciliation in your homes and communities, and promote peace throughout the world?

With the help of God, we will.

They fought for justice, that the scourge of prejudice and oppression might never again take root in our societies.
Will you work for a world in which hatred and injustice never have the final word, and where all people can flourish with dignity and hope?

With the help of God, we will.

They struggled so that the whole human family might know good will, security, and freedom.
Young person    Will you always acknowledge how precious are the gifts which God has entrusted to us, and exercise the freedoms and responsibilities you have with gratitude and humility?

With the help of God, we will.

May almighty God, who has given us the will to undertake these things, bless us with the strength to perform them. Amen.

Song      We’ll walk the land…


Now, go forth from this place with renewed inspiration to do the work of God.
Seek good, not evil, love goodness, and establish justice.
This the greatest offering we can make;
letting justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.  

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Marks of a Healthy Church - Outward Looking

I do not claim any originality in this sermon, it is based almost entirely on the sermons preached at Barnstaple Baptist Church, which can be found at http://healthy-church.blogspot.co.uk, and Robert Warren's 'Healthy Churches Handbook'. 

> Ask 6-8 people to come out front, stand in a ring, holding hands – they will probably do so facing inwards towards each other …

It’s interesting that, when this group of people came together, they formed an inward-facing ring like this.

> let people sit down again

When a group first forms, its members quite naturally face inwards towards one another in order to offer and receive affirmation, support, and guidance. That is, quite natural, but, if that group then remains inward-looking, it quickly becomes stagnant and unhealthy.

That principle especially applies to churches. As we continue to consider ‘The Seven Signs of a Healthy Church’ we come to the second sign: the healthy church has an outward-looking focus.

As we see from our Bible readings this outward-looking focus is a deeply biblical principle.
Just before Jesus is taken up to heaven, he gives his final instructions to his disciples that they will be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) And in our Gospel reading Jesus describes his followers as the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”, and goes on to say people don’t “light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  The light is to shine out to the world.  The church is called to be a channel of God’s grace and blessing to the world. 

William Temple, a former Archbishop of Canterbury said that “The Church is the only organisation that does not exist for itself, but for those who live outside of it.”

The danger comes when churches retreat into themselves, when they effectively become ghetto churches.  When they hide from life, and trying to shut out the world. Churches where all the focus and energy is poured into keeping the show on the road, maintaining the building, paying the bills, continuing to do what they have always done.  Where everything starts and ends with the church, and when they become nothing more than religious clubs which appeal to likeminded people.  When this happens, churches become irrelevant and slowly stagnate and die.     

A healthy church in contrast is on that has a ‘whole life’ focus, rather than ‘church life’ focus.  It is motivated by God’s love, and wants to see the locally community transformed by this love. It sees its mission, to serve the whole community, and not just those who attend Sunday worship. 

What does an outward looking church look like…

Rooted in the local community

Robert Warren, tells the story of a mining community that was hit extremely hard by the complete closure of its pit at the time of the miners’ strike in the 1980s. Ten years later, the local church realised that the community was still stuck in an unhealthy state of anger at the closure and so it held a service to mark this tenth anniversary. In the service, older people had a chance to give thanks for all the pit had meant to them in the past and young people were allowed to express their relief at not having to work in the mine. Through it, the community achieved a sense of emotional closure on their loss and a better relationship developed between the church and the community.

A healthy church which is rooted in the local community, is able to see and respond to the needs of that community.  Here in Walsall we have examples of churches that have started language classes for people in their community for whom English is their second language.  Churches which have launched lunch club for pensioners who would otherwise be on their own, or after school clubs for local children, or food banks. 

A healthy church is prepared to work with other local Christian churches and organisations for the good of that community. Good examples of this in Walsall includes initiatives such as Street Ministry and Street Pastors, going onto the streets of Walsall to offer a listening ear, and practical support, or The Big Feed, which every Sunday feeds up to 100 people.  These initiatives are only possible, because of churches coming together, to serve those people in the wider community who are not part of the church community, but who still matter to God. 
The second thing we can observe about the outward-looking church is that it …

Passionate about justice and peace locally and globally

These are churches that care about the world around them, and are concerned about peace and justice. 

There are examples through history of Christians who have done just this.  People like Mother Teresa, who set up homes to care for the poor in Calcutta, or Martin Luther King, who championed the cause of racial justice.  For Archbishop Desmund Tutu, who called the Church to be the ‘rainbow people of God’, to celebrate racial diversity as a gift from God.  Or Dame Cicely Saunders, who started the hospice movement to care for the dying. 
A outward looking church, is a church that seeks to champion these causes, through prayer, and giving. 

On a smaller scale we see churches establishing drop in centres for the lonely, credit unions to help people cope with debt, classes to teach the unemployed skills to help them back into work, language classes for immigrants.  These are initiatives that express God’s concern for the whole community. 

The third thing which marks out an outward-looking church is that it …

Makes connections between faith and daily living

In a healthy church Sunday worship is not the be-all and end-all of their existence.  Instead they seek to equip their church members for life in the real world, and not just filling roles within church.

In every week there are 168 hours.  If you take away 48 hours for sleep, that leaves 120 hours.  It is estimated that the maximum someone can give to church activities during the week is 10 hours. That leaves 110 hours for all the other activities, going to school, college, work, shopping, leisure activities, caring for relatives, visiting friends, etc.  A healthy outward looking church, will want to equip people for these 110 hours, not just the 10 hours they may give to church based activities. 

They also …

Responds to human need with loving service

There are plenty of Gospel passages that illustrate this particular point, but probably none better than the parable of the Good Samaritan. Healthy churches don’t walk on by when they are faced with human need, but respond with loving service. Following the example of Christ Himself, who knelt before His disciples and washed their dirty feet.

Healthy churches are channels for God’s grace and in such a way that the glory goes to Him and not to the church itself. The point is that we mustn’t do things for others just so that we can feel good about ourselves and so that our list of activities looks good on our website – the whole life of the truly healthy church points towards the Lord.


A healthy church has a very definite outward-looking focus – it isn’t simply focussed in on 
itself – and this is expressed in four main ways:

  • the church is rooted in the local community
  • it is passionate about justice and peace locally and globally
  • it makes connections between faith and daily living
  • it responds to human need with loving service
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

How outward looking is St Martin’s? (indicates number of responses)

1          Weak and holding us back      0%                  
2          Only a few signs                      2%      (1)
3          Some evidence of this             11%    (7)
4          Making progress                     39%     (25)     
5          Evidence of much of this        39%     (25)
6          This is a strength                     9%      (6)

Outward looking: what needs working on….

  • Working as a team to help and serve the community, families and elderly, and especially lonely people.
  • We need to be more outward looking to world issues as well as local
  • Extra faith courses for the 40+ years of age
  • We need more people to get involved with the outreach into the community activities instead of just a few
  • Presentation – ‘selling?’ the concept of God creator
  • Communication – what we are called to do
  • May the Lord be in all we do
  • Seeking the will of God through local community and then having confidence and faith enough to act on it
  • Perhaps concentrate on homes immediately around St Martin’s instead of spreading too wide a net
  • Maybe have some open days where we invite the surrounding homes to coffee and cake offering prayer and help.  Promoting the Thursday café
  • What is our local community? Geographically the population is made of a significant proportion of people of other faiths – Sikhs, Moslems and Hindus
  • I think that there is a lot of good work and outward focus in St Martin’s.  So many different people and organisations use the church halls, but I’m sure there is room for improvement.  Could St Martin’s offer to be a polling station?  Very good with courses – CAP, Alpha, Pilgrim.  Very good with organisations – karate, Kumon, Girl Guides, etc.  Very good for the community – Tai Chi, Café, Baby & Toddler.  I don’t know how to make the church’s profile stronger.  It is good that we have different services at different times.  We’ve opened up communion to children etc.  We are a very giving church, and donate handsomely to various charities.  Is there anywhere in the local community of Orchard Hills/Park Hall where there is a need?  See a need, fill a need!  I am passionate about the church which is why I have become a Rainbow leader, so that I can encourage the next generation to be inspired by God (as well as girl guiding).
  • Identify and visit families in need of comfort and support who do not come to church (through word of mouth from church members)
  • Ensure we keep contact with those having home communion – that they receive when they need. 
  • Do the local community know what we have to offer? Café – bereavement group, babies and toddlers, etc.  Does this need further advertising e.g. Pioneer
  • Single parent families – drop in café?
  • Develop links with other faiths
  • Given that our local community is relatively affluent, a major focus should be more in her faith connections
  • A challenge – if St Martin’s closed, how many in the local community would notice and why?
  • Finding places to connect with the people of Orchard Hills and Park Hall
  • Less complacent, more of God, less of me
  • To engage more members of congregation in various aspects of outreach
  • Altar flowers to be distributed to the sick/lonely, etc
  • Baby and toddler services, community group services, midweek messy church, hospital visiting, involvement of all ages, not just the same people doing all the jobs
  • More work in the local community
  • Services should be about the world locally and globally rather than in the church and its patterns of worship decided by the Church of England.  Contact with those who have had bereavement and those who are on the edge of church life. 
  • Are we prophetic enough? Using prophetic ministry?
  • The church congregation needs to know what members of the church actually do in the community
  • Interact more with local people
  • More willingness to come forward to take responsibility for organising differing programs to help
  • Building links with other faith groups & denominations, e.g. social event with local mosque? 
  • Time spent discerning the needs of the immediate community – potential to develop an action plan for social justice in response to prayerful consideration of needs.
  • Overt explanation of groups e.g. what happens and needs to be me/how to support
  • I think that as a church we do much of this, however I don’t feel we do enough to share and pray over all we do as a church.  Until I specifically asked I had no idea we were involved with Street Pastors, or Street Ministry for example.
  • There is also much evidence of this, BUT only by a few people.  So we need to work on more people getting involved with community activities, more help for our surrounding older community. 
  • Need to attract more of the younger and newer residents of the local area
  • Follow up those who appear to have stopped coming
  • Pursing former church members who have ceased attending
  • Lots of members worshiping together in kindness
  • Spreading the gospel
  • Need to work more on being deeply rooted in the local community and being passionate and prophetic about justice and peace locally & globally