“I’ve started … so I’ll finish “was the catchphrase associated with the original Grand Inquisitor of Mastermind, Magnus Magnusson.
When Paul reflects on the progress of the gospel in the first European Church at Philippi he affirms in chapter one of his letter “The One who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus”.
As we gathered for the October Church Forum it struck me how encouraging it is for Lansdowne to identify the many good things which the Lord has begun to do among us since the start of the new term in September.
Here are some of those highlights for your personal encouragement and prayer.
Prayer Emphasis Week gave us a special beginning: The sense of urgency and passion with which we gathered and walked to pray I am sure set the tone and temperature for what has transpired. The army of God marches on its knees.
PEW launched an important season of Vision Sundays which culminated in the Stone Laying Service (perhaps better, a stone displaying service!) on the site of the new building. Over 200 of us met to sing, pray and commit the future to God.
The following day was Pledge Sunday and that has seen over £220k given or promised with the result that, as Julian Navey (Elder, Trustee and Chair of Finance) told the Forum “we are virtually there in terms of the anticipated £3m budget for the building”. What God has started, He will finish!
There have been many other good beginnings this term. There has been a strong student presence of 15, including a good crowd of Freshers at the Holdenhurst Road congregation and at the Monday night Naked Café event for students and young adults. This event now attracts over 40 people each week. Pray that what God has begun, He will complete as we take our mission to and discipleship of students and young workers more seriously.
In this we have been blessed by the commitment and partnership of a large cohort of Trainees. Four from Moorlands (Anna, Zoe, John and David) and three from MOET (Joe, Mary, Heike). This has strengthened our investment especially in evangelism and among students. The arrival and involvement of the UCCF Relay worker has also been an encouragement.
The beginning of a new term has seen a large influx of new Church members, 16 in total, with applications from 13 others in the pipeline. That will mean that with the 45 new members since last October we will be able to rejoice in 74 additions to the Membership in a calendar year.
A number of these have joined the over 100 enrolled into the Leadership Development Programme which kicked off in late September. We are hoping that many of the gaps and vacancies in ministries will be filled in the months to come, as we head towards the opening of the new building, with servant hearted and equipped people. What God has started, He will finish.
The steady stream of newcomers each week have in many cases benefitted from the Gateway to Lansdowne Course with over 40 individuals having attended one of the three completed programme cycles. This has helped with the challenge of welcoming and integrating people on their journey into the Lansdowne family of “one church different locations”.
So with Paul we pray and say “what God has started, He will finish”.