Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
(1st Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NIVUK)
Change is an inevitable part of life, and in recent decades, we have seen the speed of change increase dramatically.
Even I, as a 27-year-old, have been surprised how quickly our world has changed. I remember my first games console, my first mobile phone, the early days of dial-up internet. These things, which were the pinnacle of technology just 15 years ago, are now dated and obsolete. I can, therefore, only imagine how challenging the pace of change is for some who are much older than I, especially when these things feel beyond our control.
How we respond to change is something about which we need to be incredibly careful in the church. On the one hand, it can be very easy for us to resist any kind of change: Church is familiar, something over which we can exercise control. We can, therefore, ensure that Church is kept constant, “the way we remember it”, while everything else changes.
On the other hand, the Church can fall into the trap of “change for changes sake”: in other words, thinking that the only way to share our Christian faith is to ensure we are changing as quickly as the world.
Throughout 2017, our theme of the year was asking “what kind of Church does God need us to be in this parish?” I think the answer we’ve arrived at is that God is calling us to be a Church which:
- Serves Him;
- Serves our community/parish;
- Is healthy and growing.
Achieving these things means we will need to face change. Doing things the way they are always done won’t work; but neither will change for the sake of it. Anything we do needs to be considered carefully, and in 2 ways: is it what God wants, and is it something which will help achieve one of the above?
For this reason, our theme/verse for 2018 is simple: “pray continually”. If we want to get these three things right, we need to be praying. Prayer is our way to talk to God, and His way of responding. By ensuring we have a solid foundation in prayer, we have a much higher chance of ensuring are doing things His way: i.e. the right way!
All of God’s people are called to pray. So, may I humbly ask that, as part of your prayers in 2018, you would pray for His Church? God bless you