Mat’s January Letter

For me the most inspiring part of Christmas wasn’t the carol services or our worship (wonderful though they were). It was being with our two Pastorates on a cold and slightly damp evening Carol singing around the Dove Street flats and door knocking to deliver Christmas leaflets in Kingsdown. Both Pastorates had decided that as part of their Mission activity they would like to share with the community around where they meet. What great witness and we hope and pray that some seeds were sown and that harvest will follow.

Often we believe the media lie that church is dead and people are not interested in Jesus. These two experiences tell me that we should not believe that. Rather we can be bold in putting ourselves out there and witnessing. I think I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that many people are interested in a loving God who shares of himself through us. So could we stop listening to the vocal minority, listen more to God and be bold witnesses of the gospel of Christ?

I recently heard someone speak of the difference between witnessing and evangelism. They used the analogy of a court of law (not a perfect analogy but not bad). Here a lawyer makes the case for the defence or prosecution. They are evangelists, presenting or trying to persuade Judge and Jury to believe the facts as the client sees them. Then there are also witnesses called to share their testimony about the client. How they have been affected.

A few are called to be evangelists but we are all called to be witnesses. One of the consistent themes of the early church was in their witness. How they lived, treated one another and showed their faith in God; often through the small things of everyday life. As they did this we are told that ‘the Lord added to their number’. I think we sometimes fall into the trap of believing that we have to convert people in our own strength. Our goal of 100 new Christians can seem daunting when viewed like this. But how about if we see our role being witnesses who are prepared to speak boldly when asked but who trust God to do the converting; seems easier then.

Do read and try the monthly challenge—dare you!


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