Mat’s June Letter

Over the 4 years in my role as Area Dean I’ve been involved in vacancies in 15 of the 26 churches in the Deanery. Each of those vacancies has been in very different contexts with a wide variety of church. However I have observed two main approaches. There are those who have stripped back their ministry to what they believe they can safely do, and there are those who have continued to seek growth while being sensible (not cautious) about what can be done.

The churches in the latter camp, those who have sought to keep moving, have generally found that people have come forward to fulfil needed roles and that in doing so many have discovered new gifts for ministry. So when the new vicar arrives they can begin their leadership building on good foundations alongside good ministry teams.

When I arrived at St Matthew’s in 2006 I was very grateful for the teams of people already involved in ministry, and thankful to move into a church community seeking to move on following the leading of God.

Inevitably the upcoming vacancy will feel and be, different to the last few years, but that doesn’t mean the church needs to stop and wait. It could be a wonderful time of community building and growth in discipleship as people take on new roles and challenges. But that will only happen if those in the community seek to play their part and take some risks in stepping out and trying things.

Take for example Messy Church. This has been one of the most fruitful ministries in St Matthew’s during the past 4 years, but it is does require a number of people to make it happen. By God’s grace we have always managed. But a lot of that has been down to a few people giving a lot. Perhaps in this, and other areas, there are those who haven’t previously come forward but would now be willing to sacrifice time, or other activities, to seek the growth of the kingdom of God. (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27Open Link in New Window)

In this, my penultimate vicar’s piece for the bulletin, I would also want to encourage one more ministry. Prayer. I cannot emphasise enough how crucial it is for us each to pray for strength and wisdom for those in leadership through the vacancy, particularly the wardens, parish reps and Minty, and to follow that up with practical support and encouragement. I also encourage each of us to pray for the new vicar whoever she or he may be. (Ephesians 4:4 -7Open Link in New Window)
Mat

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