Does it REALLY matter?

Does it really matter?

It’s a great question and one that I have been thinking about a lot at the moment.

Without wanting to get to heavy or depressing, we are living in very disruptive times within our nation and within the world.  There are many cultural shifts happening.  With that, comes a great deal of uncertainty.  At times like this, people begin to question the motivation behind others and the ideals they represent.

As I began to mull this over, I found myself asking of the Church I attend “what are our values?  What do we represent?”  One dictionary definition of “values” says;

The principles that help you to decide what is right and wrong, and how to act in various situations

This was not something I could explore by myself, in isolation.  So, a few weeks ago, the Church leadership team aided by our better halves and our Regional Minister took some time out to explore this.

I have never seen so many post it notes in my life!!!

By the end of the day, we had done some great work together.  We had identified those things that mattered to us.  One of the participants on the day wrote these as our values statement

  • We want to WORSHIP God through prayer and learning together.
  • We want to be REAL with God and each other.
  • We want to ENCOURAGE everyone and enable them to develop their skills and abilities and their spiritual gifts and fruits.
  • We want to be a WELCOMING and friendly church that grows together as a family.
  • We have a great MESSAGE OF HOPE that we want to SHARE.

And that was all encapsulated in one single word WELCOME

Worship God

Encourage Each other

Love Everyone

Continue to Grow

Openness with God and with each other

Messages of Hope to share

Enable and Equip people to serve God

Now, the hard work really begins!!!  This looks and sounds good but, the danger is, we can regard this as an interesting exercise and file it away – soon forgotten.  If we are saying these REALLY matter to us, then we need to look at how we demonstrate them, how we live them.  These should set our agenda for the coming years.

In stating them we are not claiming any form of perfection.  We not perfect.  What we are doing is saying “this matters to us” and we acknowledge that we may need to challenge ourselves in certain areas/

I have taken the opportunity to invite our Church fellowship to be part of this journey with us.  There are a series of Bible studies I have put together to explore each of the letters of WELCOME and we ask for feedback so that we can, together, say “This REALLY does matter.  This is what we stand for”

Expanding Our Horizons

 

This afternoon I took the opportunity to do some Pastoral Visiting.  As one of my visits finished a little earlier than planned and it was too early for my next, I sat on sea front and enjoyed the view.

I found myself looking at and thinking about the horizon.  We can see it as a line, marking the point where the sea and the sky meet in our line of vision.  Or, we can see it as the marker of between what is known and what is unknown.

Everything that is before the horizon I can see, understand and rationalize.  But what lays beyond the line of the horizon?  I can only guess, unless my vision is expanded.

The writer of Proverbs says;

Where there is no vision, the people perish

(Proverbs 29 vs. 18 – KJV)

I have heard it said, in some Churches, that it is the leader’s role to bring God’s vision and that will then set the direction that the Church moves in.  I believe this approach is fundamentally wrong.

I firmly believe that God’s vision for a Church is already within that Church fellowship. There have been good, faithful Christian folk who have worked and prayed for the life of the fellowship long before the leader arrived.  There are good, faithful Christian folk who will be working and praying for that fellowship long after that leader has moved on.

I believe it is the leaders role to help the congregation to work out the vision for the fellowship and to help them to move forward with God’s vision for that Church.

At Pier Avenue we have just launched our Values Document.  It is not a “solo” piece of work by me.  I was really excited that the leaders, their “other halves” and our Regional Minister were involved with it.

It isn’t finished yet

It is now in the hands of the congregation.  We are working through some studies, preparing feedback and looking at ways in which we can, together, expand our horizons for the coming years