Last Sunday was the six year anniversary of me taking over leading Kerith from Ben Davies. It's had me reflecting on all that has happened over the last six years, and what this next year might hold - if you were around on Sunday you'll have heard me talking for a bit on this.
Most of my reflecting on the last six years is how much has changed in the life of our church, and how many new things we've started. Just in the last 18 months we've launched the Sandhurst site, finished paying for the reception redevelopment, bought the K2 house, opened the K4 shop, finished the 5 year project in Serenje (raising over £500,000 in the process), seen work start on the girls dormitory in Serenje, moved staff to the barn and the studio using the space freed up for mid week ministries and kids and youth on a Sunday, launched the TLG, CAP job club and caring for ex offenders ministries and got free use of a warehouse. We've also seen growth in pretty much every area of church life with growing influence, both locally and further afield.
As I look forward to year seven it feels that we need a year of not doing anything new but just growing into all the space we've created. That we need a season to regroup and consolidate. Interestingly although I didn't start there it ties in with the Old Testament idea of Jubilee, where they worked the land for six years but in the seventh year didn't plant anything new in it to give the land time to recover, ready for another six years of growth. Not doing anything new is going to be a huge challenge for me (I'm wired to want to always be starting new things), but I feel this year is going to be essential if we're going to reach our potential. In this year I sense we need to focus on three areas of church life:
- Serving - encouraging everyone who is a part of Kerith to serve in some area of church life and putting in place leadership development for all the leaders we will need for the next season of growth.
- Financial giving - to grow all of us in the spiritual discipline of giving, with a focus on regular giving rather than gift days (we'll plan to have no gift days in 2014). As part of this we'll look to build up reserve funds, both to provide us with fiancial stability as a community and to allow us to respond quickly to opportunities which are going to come our way.
- Prayer - we've achieved a lot with one level of prayer, I just dream about what can be achieved if we take our prayer lives both as individuals and a community to another level. As part of this we're going to set up a 24/7 prayer room in the old Rochdale room in the Kerith Centre, and have a month of 24/7 prayer in February 2015. We'll also be encouraging all of us to grow in our prayer lives, engaging with the scriptures and worship.
We could focus on trying to get bigger. Instead I sense God would have us all focus on getting better. Better individually in our walk with God, better in our community and our sense of loving one another, better in all we do to reach out to the world around us and better structurally as a church to support all that we're doing. If we can do better then with God's anointing on us we won't be able to help getting bigger.
Hope that all makes some sort of sense.