In Alice in Wonderland Alice has a conversation with the Cheshire Cat.
She asks, ‘would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where—’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
It’s a common occurrence. People or groups or organisations end up going round and round in circles. The explanation is simple. They don’t know where they want to go. Without a destination, it’s hard to make progress. Without a purpose, it’s hard to find meaning. Without a goal, it’s hard to make progress.
In St Andrew Blackadder we have a sense of purpose. We believe that God is calling us to be journeying with Jesus. Being a group of people who are journeying with Jesus helps us have a sense of identity: this is who we are. Being a community who are journeying with Jesus gives us a sense of purpose: this is what we are trying to do.
The only trouble is, it’s a bit vague. What does it actually mean in practice?
Every few years we take some time to ask that question together. We ask, ‘What does God want St Andrew Blackadder to do just now? How should journeying with Jesus be expressed at this particular time?’
We did that during 2017. The congregation prayed. The Kirk Session discussed. It was creative and fruitful. We came up with a large number of really good ideas. It was tempting to try and do as many of them as we could. However, over the years, we’ve learnt that doesn’t work. One of the marks of a healthy church is that it does a few things and does them well.
The Kirk Session gradually whittled the list down. Eventually we came up with three priorities for the next three years.
In the years 2018-2021, as we continue in our journeying with Jesus, we believe that God is calling us to focus on
- Finding ways of making prayer a more fundamental part of our lives individually and corporately;
- Seeking to counter the loneliness and isolation experienced by many in our community, both through church activities and supporting initiatives in the community;
- Discovering what church might look like for those who are interested in Jesus but are not currently part of church, and then to take steps to bring this into being, with a particular focus on children, young people and their families.
At this stage I have no idea where any of these three will take us. I’m excited though. Together we will ask for God’s leading. We will share ideas and try things out. As that happens we will go forward together making journeying with Jesus a reality.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11 )
To see other messages from Neil, click on the appropriate month in the table below.
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