Why would we give people away?
When you run a business, giving things away for free is not normally part of a good business plan. In fact, hardly ever!
Similarly, when it comes to church we could be forgiven for thinking that giving people away was also a bad idea.
After all, don't churches spend their time trying to grow through their various activities? Don't we want to be gathering momentum and seeing more people come through the doors on a Sunday? Don't we want to buck the trend and be one of the success stories?
The answer, is that by God's grace we do want to grow. But that does not mean we shouldn't give people away for the sake of the gospel in another church.
Firstly, in the Bible their is a healthy pattern of Christian believers being sent to strengthen the work elsewhere. Take Barnabas for instance. The early church at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to the church in Antioch, because they were excited that people were becoming Christians in Antioch. They wanted Barnabas to go on their behalf and help build the work, because they wanted to see Jesus glorified away, as much as at home.
We read: 'a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.' Acts 11:22-24
After this, Barnabas- whose name means son of encouragement- found Saul and invited him to join the work at Antioch and the work went from strength to strength!
Now, it is true they only stayed for a year. But that was so they could go onwards again and serve as missionaries elsewhere.
The point is that churches are to be generous. And while church hopping is not good for a Christian, it is the case that God calls some to prayerfully go and strengthen the work elsewhere during certain seasons.
Secondly, we have grown into a Mission Community with St Andrew's Mirehouse and St Bridget's Moresby and that brings exciting possibilities.
In our recent three stage plan for gospel growth in our Mission Community we have looked at how we can partner together in various stages.
One such way is to send a team of people to St Bridget's to help build the work.
Now, we realise we are not a mega-church by any means at St John's and we are not moving towards this with a sense of self confidence. Anything but!! This is going to require real faith in Jesus. However, by God's grace we have been enabled to grow and have a healthy congregation that is represented through all of the age groups. That is something we are grateful to the Lord for. I personally believe that God will honour that in the future and bless us even more if we act sacrificially.
The work is beginning to grow at St Bridget's again and we share wonderful fellowship with them. In initial conversations they have received very warmly the idea that is being proposed. So, could we not love our brother's and sister's at St Bridget's by praying for God to send a team from us to help strengthen the work there?
Who knows, maybe you could be one of those sons or daughters of encouragement?
- If you would like to see God work in this way and have a desire to pray for it to happen, please join us at 12.15 on Sunday the 17th April. We will remain in church after the service.
- If you would like to consider going to St Bridget's to strengthen the work, please speak to one of the minister's so we can talk things through and support you. We would like to assemble and send a team by the summer of this year.