For the farming community, September begins one of the busiest times of the year as they commence the corn harvest, which generally runs through to November. For the church, it is also a time of preparation of celebrating the goodness of God’s creation, making the interior of our churches beautiful with the abundance of God’s provision from the harvest. This image brought to mind the words of Jesus as he visited many towns and villages, teaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and reaching out with compassion to those harassed and helpless, ‘like sheep without a shepherd’. We are all called to be shepherds and to follow the example of Jesus, for he says to all his disciples; “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” Matthew 9:37-38.
At the June church meeting, it was agreed with great enthusiasm, that SURC would, along with 10 other churches within the Southern Synod, become a ‘Learning Hub’ in partnership with LICC (London Institute for Contemporary Christianity). Its purpose is to shape the church into being a body of people sharing the good news of the Gospel to people in our daily lives. This will mean great change for us as a church, as we explore how we can connect with our community in new ways. We will be moving from being a gathered people on a Sunday to becoming equipped disciples scattered within our community making disciples; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” Matthew 28:19.
These are exciting times for SURC; we have been given this great opportunity to be part of equipping churches to grow confident disciples and to demonstrate this whole life discipleship character. Jesus was the architect of what it means to be a disciple and to follow his example. In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus he says; “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” Ephesians 5:1-2.
Regarding spiritual strength and our need to put our faith and trust in God, these words by Paul have remained fundamental to my ministry and are an encouragement to you all for what lies ahead; “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” Ephesians 3:20.