Sunday, February 03, 2019

A Growing Faith. A Growing Church.

I'm thinking a lot these days about church growth. I am convinced that the church grows when God wills it. In some senses that's the stop and start of it.

There are things that we can be engaged in that open us up to being formed by God and therefore open to growth ourselves. As St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6: '...Paul planted, Apollos watered, but it is God who gives the growth...'

We should be disciplined and diligent in prayer. Prayer places us intentionally in the presence of God and as we share our hopes and dreams with God, so He shares His with us. Prayer can happen anywhere - on our own as we walk the dog; with others in a small group; dwelling in silence together listening for the voice of God. If you're unsure how to pray why not join me/us across the week (Monday 7.30am12noon/4pm; Tuesday 8.45am/12noon/4pm; Wednesday 8.45am/12noon; Thursday 7.30am/12noon/7pm & Saturday 9.30am.) You can find the liturgy we use available here or here.

Immersing ourselves in Scripture enables us to become more familiar with the story of our faith and thus building resilience and confidence. Engaging with Scripture also opens us up - along with prayer - to the ways and purposes of God. Reading scripture for scripture's sake is a good thing, but then to spend time with others' wisdom (through Bible notes or a course or conversation) forms us in faith.

The Sacraments.
The Sacraments are about revealing outwardly the grace of God at work within us. Thus seeking Baptism and Confirmation; partaking regularly in Holy Communion; offering and receiving prayer for healing by anointed with Holy Oil; looking to be reconciled with those whom we have let down and with God are all about building and reshaping relationships. Traditionally, the church talks of Sacraments of Service, which will usually refer Ordination and Marriage. Those two sacraments are not for everyone and they are a specific and particular call - but service more generally, seeking to put our faith into action, to serve and love one another is fundamental in following the way of Christ, and shaping community.

Faithfully living this way forms us in faith, calls us to be disciples, keeps us attentive to our Teacher, and opens us up to being signs of the Kingdom where God sets us.

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