Happy New Year!

If 2012 turns out to be as eventful in the life of Christ Church Bayston Hill as 2011 then we could be in for quite an adventure. God is leading us on with him and opportunities for mission will continue to open up along the way.

In January we will be looking to appoint two members of staff. A Pioneer Minister, with specific responsibility for pioneering mission-shaped communities with teens and young adults in Bayston Hill and beyond, by utilising existing ministry as a springboard to radically develop Fresh Expressions of Church; and a part-time Associate Vicar to enable the church community to fulfill our vision and, specifically at the moment, our key priorities for growth.

In addition, now that we have identified our vision priorities for the next five years, the PCC have established a Strategy sub-committee to draw up a Vision Map to highlight how we are going to get to where God is calling us – how we will flesh out our emerging vision.

The Vision Map will contain:

  • Mission statement or slogan
  • Vision Framework (long-term objectives)
  • Five Year Vision Priorities and Strategic Goals
  • Strategy – steps we need to take and the timescale
  • Structure – how we are going to organise ourselves – communication, staffing, developing leadership, decision making, who is going to take responsibility for what.

Once the vision map is ready …

… we will make it available to everyone and provide helpful ways to remember it, use it and apply it …

Remember, it is not going to be a document that never sees the light of day! It will be a blue print for all of us to follow.

Themes and special events…

Between New Year and the beginning of Lent we will be exploring the theme “It’s Church but not as we know it” – thinking about how God is calling us to change and re-imagine the way we are church for today. The Sunday before Lent Wearing God’s Wellies (church for school years 7&8) will be leading the 9.00 am and 10.30 am services.

Through Lent and Easter we will be journeying “from water to fire!” – with Jesus from his baptism, the way of the cross, his unexpected and joy-giving resurrection and the times that followed, and then to the giving of the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost. I very much hope and pray that this journey will fuel and resource the way in which we live for Jesus in the world.

During the spring there will be other special events. On Sunday 18th March we will mark Mothering Sunday in ways that allow for the different experiences we have of giving and receiving motherly love. On Sunday 25th March our good friend Richard Lewis will be with us, preaching and leading the musical worship at our morning services and at a celebration in the evening called “ONE and a half”. Richard is a gifted pianist, worship leader and song writer, with extensive experience of leading worship and working in the Christian music publishing industry. We are sure to benefit from Richard’s ministry, passion for God and wonderful sense of humour!

During the autumn of 2011 God has been speaking to us as a church community encouraging us to draw closer to him. The determination to become more devoted to God, to get closer to him, to capture or re-capture our sparkle as Christians, to ask God for his help to deal with the things that so easily distract or get in the way of both receiving and responding to God’s love, is the key to becoming the church God wants us to be. The closer we are to him, the more transformed our lives, our relationships, our church community, our work, our worship will be.

As we begin a new year, I encourage us all to ensure that we are not simply going through the motions with regard to the way we follow Jesus – but to do everything we can to spend time with him and grow closer to him.

“Tell the people: Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow.” (Numbers 11:18)