I thought you might be interested in a few of the things which we as a church (which means all of us at one level or another) have been involvefd in over the last week.
Last Thursday we hosted a day with James Emery-White and a team from his church, Mecklenburg Community Church, in the USA. They were helping us think about how we build churches which genuinely engage the fast changing culture around us. We had around 100 people from various churches in the south of England attending, as well as a good number of people from Kerith.
On Friday the K2 Hall was turned into a studio and I recorded the talks for 5 of the 10 sessions of the Peach and Coconut talk we've been developing. Once all the talks are recorded we'll turn this into a DVD so that the course can be run in homes and other settings. The course is intended as a follow on from Alpha, and for anyone new to Kerith to understand our DNA as a church and what it means to grow as a disciple of Jesus. Yesterday was week 9 of the pilot course we've been running - so far the feedback has been very positive so I'm hopeful that this course will be a useful tool in us making disciples.
On Saturday our youth team ran NextLevel - an event where youth groups from other churches were invited to come along and learn together about reachign young people for Christ. By all accounts Liam Parker and the team did an amazing job.
At the same time I was up in Bedford, speaking at a conference hosted by Woodside Church. I spoke on social justice, both from a Biblical viewpoint and many of the practical lessons we've learnt over the years. It was a privilege to be there and seemed to be well received. If you're interested you can listen to my talks, along with a brilliant talk on apologetics from our friend Andrew Wilson here.
Then on Sunday morning Mike Royal from TLG spoke from Isaiah 58 on the place of social justice in the life of the Christian. Mike is an amazing guy in all that he's involved in, and it was a privilege to have him with us. Then in the evening Liam Parker spoke on Jesus as our Lord and our God - it spoke very powerfully to me as I'm sure it did to others.
Finally on Monday and Tuesday we hosted a group of leaders from 22 European nations, all of whom host Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit events in their own country. We all met with Gary Schwamlein who heads up the Willow Creek Association, to talk about how we move forward what is happening and reach and equip even more leaders. If you haven't already please can I encourage you to put our own GLS event on the 9th and 10th October in your diary. Willow have just announced the speaker lineup and it looks excellent.
All of this is on top of the regular stuff going on in our community - CAP visits, Foodbank, the midweek meeting, small groups, Alpha, parenting courses and so much more.
My prayer as I reflect back on all this is for God to bring fruit. The scriptures tell us that "Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain." (Psalm 127:1 NIVUK). I do believe that God both inspired and is in all we have been doing, that we haven't just been busy and labouring in vain. Anywhere we have I pray that God will show us so we can stop and get on board with His plan!
I finally want to acknowledge that all of this is only possible because of the amazing people who make up our community. You may not have been directly involved in any of what has been going on, but by being part of Kerith you are helping build a community which does have influence, and as Ben Davies often taught us to pray is "the head and not the tail". Thank you.