Church Chairman’s Chatter
“For I am about to do something new.” Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
At last week’s Church Council Meeting I shared these words from a book by Leighton Ford that I am currently reading:
Our highly organized religious lives don’t always help. The typical midsized to large North American church is densely programmed. One potential member said to a minister friend of mine, “Pastor, after looking at all the scheduled activities for this week I don’t think I’m physically fit to join your church!” He was only half-joking.
For some years the trend among growing “seeker-friendly” churches has been to offer “full-service” religious programming, one-stop opportunities for every age group and every family member (or every single), with lots of parking. Yet while these programs undoubtedly help many people, I wonder if there may be a deep and quiet counter-movement, a search for places that offer a space for silence, where people can say, “I can come and be quiet here.”
A teacher friend, who is busy lecturing at seminary all week and preaches most Sundays at growing evangelical churches, tells me that early each Sunday morning he has begun going to an Anglican church down the road. There he can quiet his soul in silence before venturing into the busyness of the “day of rest!”
Pastor Greg’s report was also along the same lines, with regards to fatigue in the church. He has observed that since the Pandemic there are some who are experiencing tiredness or fatigue. This is why it was suggested last month that it might be necessary to move to one service. That suggestion had nothing to do with worship style or age. It was to do with preventing burnout (or brownout) of people working (often behind the scenes) in the running of our services and other ministries of the church. Whilst we do have printed hymn books and worship books to fall back on if needed, it is necessary for the services to be done in good order in a manner that allows Pastor to simply lead the service and these days (and for some years now) they have been prepared and followed by electronic means. What would help, is for at least two extra people per service to be available to operate the power-point and/or audio. We will be seeking volunteers for this at our combined AGM/Half Yearly Meeting on November 22nd, but if you feel led to volunteer in this capacity in the meantime, please do not hesitate to speak to one of the Church Council members or Geoff Burls.
Nominations will be sought for church officers and should be presented in writing (forms will be provided) to any of the Nominations Committee (Chairperson, Pastor, David Lorke and Joyleen Tonissen). Besides election of officers, there will be other items for discussion, which will include another Plant Sale next year, the possibility of Sunday School and looking again at our Mission! We do have a “Mission Statement,” but what specifically is our mission here in Elizabeth? The last few words of our mission statement say,“...so that all may know and worship Jesus.”
I am reminded of the words of Daniel T. Niles who defined the work of the church being beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.
The great message of the Gospel is not one that we should just keep to ourselves. It is not a case of, “I have it, but who else needs it?” So please be praying and thinking about what our mission is here at St Peter’s Elizabeth and who the people are that we need to share “the bread” of the Gospel with. Who are the people we want to come to “Know and worship Jesus” with us? And how will we do that?
Last Sunday’s Old Testament reading gave us a great promise in Exodus 33: 14: “My Presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.” God is working and fighting for us and in the words of a contemporary gospel song, “Oh Jesus! Your presence is Heaven to me!” What rest and reassurance to know that Jesus is with us.
Also remember what Jesus said:
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 - NLT)
And all of God’s people said – AMEN! PRAISE GOD!