Time away often means charting the unknown. We might use a real map, rely on the Satnav’s relentless instructions, or even trust our own intuition. In all cases it is important to know where you are and where you’re going. Even though I’ve got a reasonable sense of direction, it really does help to know where I’m starting. The words, “You are here” are very helpful, as they makes a big difference to the route to our planned destination.
Jesus instructed his disciples to make disciples. By his resurrection he won victory over the world and so has ultimate authority. Now he commands his disciples: ‘Therefore go therefore and make disciples of all nations…’ (Mt 28v19). This is to be our first priority. It’s not wrong to develop systems in church that enable things to run smoothly. It is not wrong to serve others in the community. It is not wrong to give practical help to the needy, enjoy social events, or run a bookstall. Many such things enable us to be outward looking rather than self-absorbed. It is not wrong to make our services the best that we can. These things are good and important. But they are not our first priority.
Jesus entrusts us with the mission of making disciples of people from all nations. That is his call. The local church’s mission is to make disciples who make disciples. Everything we do should do just that. This is the vocation for all who follow Jesus Christ.
To this end we have a three-term programme starting this autumn. The first term called ‘Discipleship Explored’ provides a time in which to attend more closely to our own walk with Jesus. Subsequent terms provide opportunity to encourage others to follow in the way of Jesus: whether they have simply lost touch with the church, had a season of being away, or simply are on the edges of belief and want to know more.
This may be uncharted territory, but I hope you will join us on this journey of exploration and discovery.