But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
These were the final words of Jesus to the disciples before he ascended to heaven. In them he tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit to come, and then to go and make disciples in the whole earth, having as much impact over as wide an area as possible.
In reality they did a pretty good job in Jerusalem, bearing much fruit there, but it took persecution and eventually the salvation of Paul to get them to go much further afield (come and hear Andy Stanley at the GLS for a fascinating perspective on how this all played out).
For over 130 years Bracknell has been our Jerusalem, our home territory where we've primarily attempted to be witnesses to Jesus. We've done a pretty good job of impacting Bracknell, and in making disciples in lots of other places, a church planted in Reading, helping churches across the UK and in a number of other nations, people being trained in Bracknell and sent out and gathering people from a wider and wider area.
But we feel now is the time to have a bigger impact on our Judea, on the towns around Bracknell. Not just by gathering people from those places, but by having expressions of Kerith in those places. That's what Kerith Sandhurst is all about. Creating another place where we can be witnesses and people can come and hear the good news of Jesus without having to travel all the way to Bracknell.
My prayer is that Sandhurst will be something when repeated will allow us to reach all of our Judea. That it will be just the first of many expressions of Kerith which over the next few years we will establish. That makes Sandhurst so exciting to me, that it's not just about this one new thing but about this being repeated over and over again.
Lots will be required to make that happen. The power of the Holy Spirit with us. Keeping Jesus at the centre of all we do. The raising of an army of new site pastors, kids workers, musicians, singers, tech teams, welcomers, social justice junkies, evangelists, prophets and others willing to go. Finance and favour to find and equip new venues. Wisdom about where to go next and how fast.
So in 6 days time we start. I'm sure some things will go well, and some things will need fixing. But the key thing is not what happens this Sunday (on either of our sites), but what we will continue to do over the next few months and years.