So what is this conviction and what was this conversation?
This is a Pastor’s journey to seeing transformation taking place in his city.
‘My conviction is that the ‘gospel’ we rightly treasure is not just about a ticket to heaven, a knowledge of forgiveness and the experience of new life. The gospel is so much more! It is the ‘good news of the Kingdom of God’. It’s good news that demands that just as Jesus demonstrated in life and action that heaven had ‘come down’ so too we are called to bring heaven to earth. We are called to restore and renew all that was lost in Genesis and begin to transform life here on earth. The gospel is about transforming education, health, business and culture. Every Christ follower everyday carries kingdom values and influence into every sphere of life. Church is not primarily an organization but a community that transforms community. It is salt and light.
My conversation was simply to sit with a lady who was clearly gifted and passionate and say, ‘Will you help pastor the city?’ She was a kids pastor and very good at it! I knew that change was needed and a new start was required. Dot bravely took up the challenge. Together as a community any church can begin to pastor their city, town or village. It just requires a start, a beginning. Everything starts somewhere.
A conviction and a conversation creates a starting point. Every church can start. Start a regular lunch for local people. Start a club for the elderly. Start a group for first time mums. Start something somewhere somehow. When you start and you do it well and professionally, doors to wider influence will open.
It just took conviction and a conversation and three years later I’m amazed by the transformational influence a very ordinary city center church can have. Members of the National Health Service Mental Health Team are being trained by our leadership in the power of small friendship groups, the local housing association supports a community banquet, local head teachers attended a celebration of a hugely successful one to one kids mentoring programme and over 500 people are touched by Citycare. Local supermarket staff helped at our community banquet and the local residents’ association regularly seeks out our help and advice. Parents rarely seen in an education setting have engaged like never before, TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) courses have helped newcomers to the UK find their place more effectively and to cap it all we hear stories of lives changed and a few are now following Jesus.’
So much is possible when we work from a place of conviction which in turn leads to conversations.
Written by Dave Warren, Senior Leader, St. Paul’s Church, Worcester, UK