An 'Engaging Community' afternoon workshop was held earlier this month in Lochaber aimed at church leaders and Christians "interested in working out their faith in the community".
The following report has come in from one of the delegates who attended that event.
Have you ever attended a meeting or conference and after the first 30 minutes you are wondering if you are in the right place? Those thoughts run through my mind when I attended the recent ‘Engage Community’ workshop at the Glencoe Outdoor Centre. I had come to hear how to get in amongst the community and share the teaching of Jesus, but here we are with the workshop leader, Rev. Ian McFarlane, talking about me (self) and the condition of my heart. I didn’t expect the first step to be looking in, when my expectation was to look out!
There was comfort though when at our first break out into discussion groups, I realised that others were experiencing the similar feelings as we struggled to answer the questions, ‘Where is your passion and your heart? - What motivates you as a Christian?’ I would have been able to answer the question more accurately if I was to identify my passions about sailing or business strategy, 'strange isn't it!' (See footer)
The bottom line is in recognising who we are in Christ and to realise that we have that same love bestowed on us, as the Father had for His Son, Mark 1:11-12,
“You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. At once the Spirit sent Him out……” Our task of being sent out will be much easier, when we can be clear as to who we are, and who it is that is sending us.
When Jesus sent out the 72 we're told in Luke 10, that He was specific with His calling, Jesus made it clear to them how and where the disciples were to engage community, what they would say, what they would do and what to do if they were not received with a welcome. Sometimes we will receive a re-buff working for Christ, but in the end the 72 returned with joy, celebrating their success.
So where are we being sent? It became clear to me as the workshop progressed that if we know who we are in Christ then we can relate to our families and friends in a way that Jesus would want us to, from there we stand a chance of being a valuable member of the local church that touches our own community our Nation and beyond.
It is clear to me that God is stirring us up to be His ambassadors; I hope we will be like Nehemiah and pray, "Lord give me success today".
It was interesting that on the Monday after the workshop two phone calls stirred me to get out of my comfort zone to respond to community needs. It was as if Christ was saying "now you have heard message, go and practice it"!
Other delegates described the workshop as;
“very good, I was challenged about how powerful the local church could be if Christians who had passion and a heart for serving God together in the community.
“Revelation after revelation, what a great day”.
Isn't it strange
How difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others;
but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?
Isn't it strange
How a £20 note seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church,
but such a small amount when you go shopping?
Isn't it strange
how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say but ... we question the words in the Bible?