I am writing this sitting outside in the sunshine appreciating the warmth, the birds singing and the general freshness of early summer. I am praying it will be an inspiration.
We have been selected, probably due to our rural setting as a mission community, for a 10 week trial conducted by CPAS ( Church Pastoral Aid Society) to embed one of our chosen three practices taken from the book ‘How to nurture a faith-sharing culture’ by James Lawrence. To remind you the practices we have chosen are ‘Engaging with God’, ‘Praying for five’ and the one where we are getting support with is ‘Telling faith stories’. This may sound rather frightening or even a bit ambitious, but it can consist of several stages. We need to get to that place where we are comfortable about sharing our story within the church fellowship before we are likely to be able to share it outside. For example, we may just start with the simple question, what are you thankful for today? What has brought you joy this past week or month?
I started asking these sort of questions in my previous parish and over a period of time the congregation found it easier to respond and talk about their faith. We are already doing this at Third Sunday, Living Stones and occasionally at Lazonby, and the people who attend those services have found it encourages and inspires them to talk about our faith.
Over these next few weeks please do not be too shocked if one of these questions arise in your service and we will welcome your response. It is good to bear in mind that these small one degree shifts can have quite an impact over a period of time.
A well-known preacher and theologian, Mark Greene, said: “the UK will never be reached until we create open, authentic praying communities that are focused on making whole-life disciples who take the opportunities to show and share the gospel wherever they relate to people in their daily lives”.
So, as I reflect on this lovely sunny day, we can’t help but be grateful that “…. God will supply all our needs” (Phil. 4.19, NLT). Let us share that hope and love with all those we meet.