Author Archives: Nigel Chapman

22nd March Newsheet

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A Passion for Christ

In today’s world, personal comfort is king. Our consumer culture expects instant gratification of our desires. Coffee just as we like it, online shopping delivered next day or even within hours and we definitely don’t want to wait in line for anything. “Good things come to them that wait” is not a proverb that carries a great deal of kudos these days.

So how do you feel about waiting on Christ, or the idea of suffering for the Gospel?

Paul was passionate about Jesus, the Church and spreading the Good News, even if this meant facing hardship and persecution. This was a man with the cross on his heart, who was able to see joy in suffering for his Lord.

As we enter into Lent and into our ‘Month of Mission’ how passionate are we for the Gospel? Is the cross etched on our hearts? (by which I mean is your faith and relationship with the Jesus vibrant and living, or is it more doleful or just dutiful)? Lent is that time of re-examination, working not merely through a penitential season of monochrome obligation, but a re-awakening of our hearts for the Lord, culminating in the utter joy of the resurrection.

The Lent study course this year has been written by Michael Baughen a former Bishop of Chester. He encourages us to live with renewed passion. To share the gospel and to be prepared, if necessary, to suffer for Christ’s sake and for His glory, in the hope of the resurrection.

A study guide will be given to each participant to enable joint learning and home study and there are opportunities to come together during the day on Tuesdays or on Wednesday evenings (see poster).

 

Using 2 Corinthians as his main source the studies look at:

  • Sharing in Christ’s sufferings,
  • Seeking love in the Church,
  • Spreading the aroma of Christ,
  • Shining with the light of Christ,
  • Showing the life of Jesus in our lives,
  • Serving with a passion for Christ our Saviour.

 

In March we will be considering our Mission. It is not to maintain the status quo, but to have a more outward looking approach. I was appointed in December 2016 for that very Mission. It was not only to be your pastor but to help us to be church “beyond the walls of the church”.

Christmas & New Year 2020

A new beginning – Get it done

I write this on December 13th the day after the General Election. No matter what your Political affiliation the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ is unambiguous even though the finer details have to be worked out. Boris says “Come what may, no ifs, no buts we leave the E.U. on 31st January”. There is clarity in the slogan and we know, without doubt what his mission is. On the other side of the Political coin, commentators say the opposition was a mishmash of undeliverable manifestos. I must admit that I’m fed up of hearing MP’s say “Let’s be clear about this” only for them to say nothing with any clarity at all. I use the General Election for illustration purposes only in order to ask a pertinent question.

 

Are you clear about our mission? 

Perhaps the problem is that we don’t actually know what our mission is. There is no slogan that captures what everyone wants from our church. Consequently are we trying to please everyone? If so, do we also end up losing sight of our real purpose? Such lack of clarity may come from having a wide range of faith experience; from the fully engaged to those on the edge, undecided or young in faith. Being the ‘Established Church’ we don’t have a narrow manifesto to sign up to. We are a church for everyone; believers and non-believers, those who see church as a safe haven of yesteryear and those who want to see radical change. It is the nature of our diverse church into which we all bring something different.

 

Yet to fulfil our mission with any great clarity, we need to know what it is. We can’t fulfil aims and objectives if we don’t know what they are, and we cannot afford to simply do nothing  otherwise we drift into oblivion. Our ‘2020Vision’ statement captures something of the essence of what I believe our mission is:

 

  1. Deepening our faith.

This is about discipleship, developing a richness of commitment and becoming more Christ-like. It includes aspects of worship and faith development.

  1. Growing the church.

This is about outreach, evangelism and fellowship; growing deeper in our faith and enabling growth in numbers.

  1. Serving the community.

This is also where the rubber hits road, God’s love in action through us and crucially to all ages. It includes social action, care of the environment, acts of kindness and working for  justice etc..

In other words, our mission it is to be the people of God who get on with the task, come what may, no ifs, no buts. It is to align ourselves with God’s manifesto; The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

God’s mission, unambiguous in the coming of his Son. (See John 1 and 3). When we grasp the mystery of this truth, it can be that moment of a life-changing realisation which changes the rest of our story. An epiphany you might say.

 

So I believe our mission is simple, but challenging:

  • To continue developing as disciples.
  • To help people come to their epiphany.
  • To help one another grow in the likeness of Christ.
  • To reach out into our community with the love and peace of Christ. Or as our Christmas poster says “Jesus – Love in Person”

 

In 2020 we are going to be exploring discipleship. We will investigate how we sustain the work of our churches through our financial giving. We will develop our mission by grasping what it means to be a church beyond walls. March is going to be a ‘Month of Mission’ that will help us develop telling our story through outreach and social action. We will invite people to come and see for themselves. I want Alpha or Start groups, and I want to develop Baptism and Marriage preparation. Finally I’m more determined than ever to – get 2020Vision done!

 

So, I invite you all to join me in this new beginning in our mission to grow.

 

A very happy Christmas and Blessed New Year to you all.

 

Nigel Chapman

Vicar