We asked those questions yesterday at our prayer meeting. This wasn’t in a sort of mystical close your eyes and try and hear an inner voice kind of way. Rather, we work from a strong belief that when we are gathering as a local church and God’s Word is opened and expounded then God speaks revealing his will to us, encouraging us, challenging us comforting us. When a local church gathers around God’s Word to hear him speak and responds obediently then God acts, bringing people to faith in Him, changing us and growing us to be more like him.
So, for those who weren’t able to make it, I just wanted to highlight some of the things that encouraged us last night.
– Seeing people from lots of different backgrounds committing to being part of a local church has been a great encouragement.
– Young people growing in faith. Asking questions, getting a strong grasp of Scripture and how it all fits together, being willing to serve and to go to risky places
– Spiritual growth in the Nueva Vida Congregation, people professing faith.
– A key theme through the year has been about not being driven by guilt and shame but finding grace and forgiveness in Christ
– Another key theme has been that it is God who gets all the glory.
– Teaching on gifts of the Spirit has been significant. This has encouraged the church to think about the question of an additional worker differently. It’s less about do we need and an we afford another member of staff and more about how we encourage, equip and enable everyone to be fully utilised in God’s Kingdom -both those who are supported through church giving and those who work in other sectors.
– The series on peace has been helpful and particularly the point that peace is not a concept or a place but a person.
The other part of our prayer meeting was focused on Christmas outreach both from the Chapel and across Birmingham, Sandwell and the Black Country. We had some reports from other churches, CMF and the CU. We were encouraged and excited to think about how our region is littered with lights shining out for the Gospel like candles in the dark night.
Those were some great highlights and I’m sure there’s more we can add. There have also been challenges along the way and we are constantly aware that there is so much more to pray for -our own desire to grow and be more like Christ, the great Gospel needs in our communities. One significant prayer yesterday was that we would see increasing numbers of people from un-churched backgrounds coming to faith next year.
Watch out for Bearwood Chapel’s annual review next year.