Thank you for affording me the privilege of being the Superintendent Minister here in the Newport and Lower Wye Methodist Circuit.
One of the many blessings is the invitation to a ‘Superintendents Conference’. This took place in Oxford during the second week of May. There was much pause for thought and I highlight two particular items that, hopefully, fit in where we are at present.
The ‘Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations’ is alive and well. The first of these ‘Practices’ is Radical Hospitality. On this comes not only offering the best we can; best coffee; ‘welsh cakes’; a well loved building; but also INVITATION.
We heard that, apparently, 3 million people in Britain would contemplate going to Church if they were INVITED. The Methodist Churches has employed Trey Hall [re-imagine fella at St. Julian’s] as the Connexional Evangelism Officer. He is keen to enable us all to have confidence to become ‘evangelists’; to find ways of talking of Jesus. More of this shortly….
Invitation, however, is something we can all do. We have had the ‘Back to Church Sunday’ initiative [which is now the ‘Weekend of Invitation’ that takes place this June]. The ‘success’ of this initiative is not the numbers who come to Church, but the numbers invited; the encouragement of you feeling able to invite your friend to Church – whether they come or not is not the key part of this, but that you have had the courage to invite.
I hope we can make the Connexional Year 2019/20 one of two particular things: A Year of Invitation. Let us, in our Churches and Chapels, find events and Services where we can offer Radical Hospitality and feel free to invite family, friends and neighbours to Church.
The second ‘Practice’ is Passionate Worship. 3 Generate; the young people’s movement in the Methodist Church, have prompted us all to make 2019/20 A Year of Testimony. Let us follow their prompting and, amidst the INVITATION, and make this a year of talking about your faith, your love of Jesus and God. Let us start this in our Churches and Chapels and then, maybe, we will start to see Trey Hall’s vision of us becoming evangelists becoming a reality.
I am open to ideas from any Church in the Circuit for new and fresh ways of telling the wonderful story of Jesus. Trinity [in Newport] are using Father’s Day as a Testimony Service where, here in the ‘Land of our Fathers’, men will be telling their story of faith. Monmouth has a monthly 4.00 PM Service that is often used as Testimony and Bishpool has a Café style Service where stories of faith around tables are shared.
There was much for me to pray and think on. These two thoughts: INVITATION & TESTIMONY really jumped out, especially as they fit into the 5 Practices, for it is, by practising our faith, day-by-day, that Jesus comes ever more alive for us and for all our friends, family, neighbours; ‘our flock’ whom Christ has blessed us with.
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