Earlier in the year we set aside time to pray, reflect and talk together about how God might be leading us as a church. Many of the themes that we reflected on throughout the Season of Prayer are essential for a healthy church. It is important for us to be reminded of these things on a regular basis. Here are some of the points that people made.
- Prayer, holiness, unity in diversity, and love for the lost are all key.
- Busyness and pragmatism tends to be our default. Is this a problem?
- In prayer, we often spend more time talking to God than listening to him.
- We need to be more transparent, honest, “real.”
- We need more people to get involved with serving.
- We need to work harder to make church accessible to non-Christians.
There were also a number of Bible passages that were significant throughout the Season of Prayer.
“… seek the peace and prosperity of the city … Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
“… And God said, “I will be with you.”
(Exodus 3:12 – In fact, the whole book of Exodus was very significant during the Season of Prayer)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Throughout the Season of Prayer, potential growth areas for ministry were highlighted among certain groups of people. I’ve tried to group people’s responses below, so we can continue to explore them together. What should our response be to these people?
- Isolated and elderly people living in Townsend.
- Those who live in Strouden Park, on the other side of Castle Lane.
- Local schools, especially TBOWA and Jewell Academy.
- Families connected to Home Learning Club and Castle Coffee.
- Should more people commit to living in this area?
- Is there opportunity for deeper collaboration with other local churches?
It won’t come as a surprise that we received some conflicting messages during the Season of Prayer. It’s really important that we wrestle with these tensions as we move forward together.
“Let’s embrace exciting new possibilities.”
“We’re too busy already!”
“We should take up opportunities across the conurbation.”
“We should focus on local mission.”
“This has been an encouraging Season of Prayer”
“But we need a lasting commitment to prayer.”
Since the Season of Prayer, the elders and staff have continued to work through these challenges and wrestle with these tensions. Earlier this month we had a vision evening to talk and pray together. You’ll also be aware of the changes that are being made to our Sundays, such as the reduced number of services per week. This is in response to the concerns people have raised about busyness. It also reflects our ongoing commitment to ministry in the town centre.
As we approach a new season of prayer, let’s keep seeking God together. Where is he leading us? How is he guiding us? How can we all play a part in what God is doing?
Miles Tradewell | Minister for Discipleship