Wednesday, 6 May 2015

My vision for my church

To be is to do”—Socrates
To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre
Do be do be do”—Frank Sinatra
I'm part of the Jesus Army in the UK, also known as the Jesus Fellowship. We recently had a leaders' meeting that was particularly serious; looking to face up to the mistakes of the past, finding repentance and healing. Discovering a new vision and identity together as a church has been a theme for us for a while now, particularly in light of prophecies about us finding a "second confidence, greater than the first". My church, for all the failings of the past, was glorious in confidence in the early days. The leaders' meeting helped to crystallise my vision for our church: to be part of a people on fire for God and alive with his life.

Below is what I wrote the day after the meeting.

The atmosphere in the afternoon particularly was amazing. It's clear that we need a period of repentance and deep healing, within the leaders and the wider church, before we can know the second confidence that Andy Lantsbery spoke of. This will be a confidence both in who we are and confidence in the vision, particularly a confidence that we know the vision will work because we know it comes from God. Our renewed identity as a church will come out of that vision.

My burden for the church is that we understand that this new confidence comes not from our activity as a church (although without any shadow of a doubt a sense of mission and effective activity are the key symptoms of a healthy church). Vision that brings life and confidence only comes from us knowing the heart of Jesus and from his life, not from anywhere else. Not from finding the right things to do. My vision is that we become a body of people alive in God, knowing him and filled with his life. Mission and activity and fruit will come out of this - and not the other way round. I will spend my life and substance both on knowing God and on finding his life in the church. I'm hungry for his life amongst us. I'm desperate for the life of God in our meetings, in our brotherhood, in our lives and hearts. This drives me, and as I get hungrier I get stronger and I know more of his life.I'm determined to blaze, and I will blaze with a people.

Imagine if we were a church of hungry men and women. If we came to our households and our meetings desperate for the life of God amongst us. What would our meetings and worship be like then.

But I know this will happen. I know with absolute certainty that God's hand is on this church and his heart is in it. I see many beautiful men and women with the real marks of brokenness and humility on them, the evidence of laid down lives. They've given their lives, over many years and in spirit and truth, to love and to serve. That's the heart of Jesus and I've never seen it in such strength in any other church I've ever been to. It's only in this church that I've heard the message of the kingdom with such clarity, that as a body of people we can be the kingdom

I'm humbled and grateful to be part of a church that carries the heart of Jesus. I'm humbled and grateful to be led by men like Mick, Huw and Kelly. I love this church and I love God, but I'm also driven to know more of the heart of God. I know that what we've seen so far is only a fraction of what God has to offer, what he wants us to have. God is no stingy and capricious miser withholding his blessing. He longs to pour out his heart and his life amongst us. But he also longs for us to want it enough  to press our hearts and lives into him, for it to be more important than anything else. God longs for us to seize the kingdom, to take the anointing and the love and the power that he has. He longs for our longing to meet with his longing, for our hunger to drive us into him and then he can bless us, then he can pour out his life amongst us. Then we will see deeply healed men and women released to transform the lives of those God brings to us.

And I see it happening.

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