Exminster Methodist Church, Main Road, Exminster EX6 8BT
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Minister: Rev Ben Haslam, Telephone (01392) 256716
It’s possible to have too much novelty. Politicians feel under pressure to promise us change, and to be fair, we expect them to do just that. They’re only following the trend of our culture. Change, of course, is neither an idol to be pursued at all costs (‘change for the sake of change’), nor a great evil to be resisted regardless of how necessary it might be. My point is that we hear a lot about change, but not enough about growth. When we grow, we become, not different, but better. I believe very strongly that we must be striving for, praying for, contributing to, growth in our churches. Growth not just in numbers but in our spiritual depth, our love of God and neighbour, growth in the way our being reflects our redeemer. I suspect that churches that grow in this sense, begin to grow numerically as a result. God blesses flourishing churches. I believe too that God does far more through us through our striving and searching for deeper holiness than He does through perfectly executed plans. Learning, becoming deeper, more loving, more spirit-led disciples of Christ is the journey God calls each one of us to take. It’s a journey in which any faltering steps we take in the right direction delight the heart of God, and any mis-steps, false turns and detours down blind alleyways can be forgiven, redeemed and even sometimes woven into God’s purposes for us.
Many have come to a new and fuller appreciation of God’s grace by finding His presence in their mistakes and their life’s messiness. This is what it means to serve a generous and gracious God, a God who does not constantly set us tests in which we must achieve full marks, but a God who seeks growth, in love, in holiness, in the depth of our faith. If we are growing and progressing in these things, if we are becoming, however slowly, the people God desires us to be, He will be delighted with us. He ‘rejoices over us with singing’ and that doesn’t mean an easy, anything goes morality. It means we must be seeking to align our hearts and wills with God. It means too though, that God knows the reality of what we are in our human weakness, and is patient and gracious as we journey towards what, by His grace, we are called to become.
God bless, Ben