[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][td_text_with_title custom_title=”What’s inside the February 2016 issue of Direction Magazine…”] [/td_text_with_title][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]
Fast food won’t do, says John Glass
SUSTAINED BY GOD’S GRACE
Phil and Helen Weaver have faced lots of challenges over 40 years of ministry
NEWS from Elim and the wider church
OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE GS John Glass opens his diary
LEADING FIGURES MARK 100th YEAR David Cameron and Justin Welby pay tribute to Elim during centenary event
PREPARE A LOVE ATTACK! Darren Edwards explains how churches can make the most of Valentine’s Day
IT’S TIME TO TAKE CARE
Pastor Duncan Clark explains how the Church can help with relationship issues
The first home that Marilyn and I bought when we were in our 20s was small. A visiting worship leader from America made the comment that the only reason that a pastor in the States would buy a house like ours was to get changed in on the beach before he went for a swim. Something of an ungracious exaggeration, but it was, after all, a starter home.
The church was also small with a congregation of around 50 people. There were two other Pentecostal churches in the town. One numbered around 100 and the other four times the size of mine was situated about a quarter of a mile away.
Why, I wondered, would anyone moving to the area consider for a moment attending my congregation – the smallest church, with a limited budget and the least experienced pastor?
It was at that moment I glanced through the window into our tiny garden and felt the Lord ask me a question. Why did there seem to be so many birds in such a small area given it was neither the largest garden in the street nor the one with the most flowers? There was one simple reason – peanuts in the bird feeder. The birds did not seem to worry about the aesthetics – they came because they were being fed.
If you want to maintain a happy relationship, a northern woman would sometimes say to her newly-married daughter, you need to understand that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. That’s wisdom, I would add, that has yet to be endorsed by the Royal College of Surgeons, nor the route I would want any consultant cardiologist to be taking if ever needing to conduct a procedure on my heart at any point in the future! The point, however, in both illustrations reveals the fact that good food has an impact that goes far beyond merely meeting our nutritional needs.
Having the biggest bank balance, best facilities and worship team or coolest décor are not the primary essential for growth. But a congregation that is well fed through preaching, teaching and pastoral care already has the hallmarks of a church with a powerful potential to expand.
Early in my ministry I had an elder whose favourite mantra was ‘Hollywood methods – Hollywood results’. Unfortunately, he seemed to use these words every time he wanted to thwart an attempt from myself, or the rest of our leadership, to implement necessary change. There was, however, an element of truth in what he was saying.
‘We are what we eat’ declare the dieticians – an adage that is as true spiritually as it is nutritionally.
Changing the metaphor to the construction industry, Paul writes, “Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times,” (1 Corinthians 3 The Message).
Fast food won’t do in the kingdom of God. Well fed churches that are also encouraged to ‘exercise’ their faith produce healthy disciples that tend to reproduce after their kind.