This evening the seven churches in our area FIEC cluster gathered for the first time since our large 17 Church region decided meeting in smaller groups would help establish more meaningful fellowship.
We are Widcombe, Combe Down, Clink, Atworth, Dilton Marsh, and West Lavington, and of course ourselves.
The meeting was significantly better attended than the larger group meetings in the past which surely was a sign that we were on the right track. The impression I got was that people were over-all encouraged by the evening. From my point of view it was great to see so many out from North Bradley, but also to hear what the Lord and His people are up to in these other places. I enjoyed listening to that happy hubub of people taking together afterwards.
The objective was to build a common sense of mutual identity by sharing about our unique situations, some small, some big, some rural, some more urban, some with pastors, others without. We needed to work out what we have in common, and how we can help each-other. So we talked, prayed, and considered God’s word together – oh, and ate some cake.
I was charged with bringing something to the meeting from God’s word, but through some confusion along the line somewhere I was expecting a half hour or so, whereas others were looking for perhaps a ten minute devotion – the outcome was a little less than satisfactory all around, but we made do, and mended.
My aim was to convey that from a summary of the first three chapters of Revelations, that Jesus weighs us by character, discipline, and doctrine, not size or location.
He challenges us to confront staleness, defeatism, controversialism, indiscipline, superficiality, short-sightedness, and complacency where ever they rear their ugly heads. He challenges us all to meet our difficulties with hard work, self-sacrifice, willingness to fight sometimes, real Christian love, and openness to those we seek to reach, and to be opportunist, persistent, and urgent in God’s work.
The leaders will be meeting again in June to advance some of the proposals people made as how to take this forward.