Friday 11 January 2013

People have requested notes for my sermon of Sunday 6 January when I set out some vision and some challenges for the coming year. So here they are. Please note that a sermon summary with discussion questions goes out to our home groups and cell groups every week for those who want to make use of them, so there is a good opportunity to reflect on teaching at St Matthew's in a practical way.

Prospects for 2013

As it's New Year what I really want to talk about is our prospects for 2013 rather than the wise men (Sunday 6th was Epiphany, the celebration of the Wise Men). We'll come back to them later. What has God got in store for us this year?

First, thanks for a brilliant Christmas! Lots of things went outstandingly well:
·         great teamwork
·         good attendances – publicity a factor
·         great atmosphere
It looks great for the future!

Our admin restructuring is in progress:
·         greater investment in admin
·         new four year term for wardens delivering well

roof grant from English Heritage
·         may lead on to further development of re-ordering scheme
·         money will be an issue: the grant leaves us with £115k to find
·         we need to maximise use of our existing resources (eg by gift aid) and find new ones!
·         also applies to other finance: Liz Burley's funding runs out… admin post…

800th anniversary – expect some kind of celebration leading up to September.
·         We'll get as many Walsall people as possible along to this.

We need to redefine our mission – Mission Action Plan has been on hold while we've restructured, but structures are not an end in themselves, they are to bring the Kingdom!
·         So the PCC will be going away to re-draft our MAP from the ground up.
·         Completely revised MAP will be brought to the AGM.

Family and Children's Work will be a major feature! We need to think about how we get new families into the mainstream of church life:
·         cross-fertilisation between Messy Church and Clubs, toddler group and Sundays
·         baptisms, confirmations
·         adjusting our services so that they work well for everyone who attends. Not dumbing down! Awe is a vital part of everyone's spiritual diet, so is solid Christian teaching.

Follow up to year of discipleship: small groups.
·         Meeting leaders this month to consider how we can promote and develop them
·         think about how you can participate…

Finally, what about those wise men?
·         They were tough, they went on a challenging 12 month round trip
·         They were generous: gold, frankincense and myrrh are costly!
·         They made sacrifices to achieve their goals
·         They were filled with awe and worshipped Jesus.

We need those qualities to achieve our goals in 2013!
·         By the end of 2013 picture St Matthew's humming with new families, growing disciples in small groups, birthing a fresh vision to reach Walsall...
·         By the grace of God we will get there. We will need to be committed, generous, make sacrifices and keep our focus on the Lord – as those wise men did.

This anniversary year is going to be a great year for St Matthew's! Happy New Year everyone!

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