Friday, March 08, 2013

Afterword : Afterward

One last observation to make about having welcomed so many people into ‘Sacred Space’ this week: what do I hope will happen as a result?

Well, I don’t hope that those people will turn up, and keep turning up, to a Sunday morning worship service. That was neither the intention nor the expectation. I don’t want people to turn up then, for several reasons. For some, because they are members of another local church, and my hope is that they will go back and share what the Lord has done for them so that others might be blessed; not relocate, leaving others cursed (the opposite of blessed). For some, because I know that such an expectation is too great a burden, for all kinds of perfectly legitimate reasons, and it tragically misses the point to add religious burdens to the burdens people already carry. But more than that, the aim is not to grow the church; the aim is to spread the word...

My hope was this:

that the building we have been entrusted with would be used to the glory of God, to point people to Jesus, as it was intended to do;

and that the people who encounter God there would go out and tell others what the Lord has done for them.

Both these things have happened, again and again, this week.

So what do I hope will happen as a result?

I hope that God’s renown is told in this community.

I hope that the local church in this place will gain confidence in, and a reputation for, creating the kind of space in which people can find that they have been found by God.

And I hope that some of the people who have encountered God this week will not give up; and that some of the people they share their story with will not give up.

This way, I hope that we will avoid filling the church for the sake of filling the church; but that, in time, starting small – no, smaller than that – those who are seeking to be found, and to see others found, will grow, and grow. Then the alongside-effect will be what we cannot bring about: that Jesus will have grown his church.

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