Dear Friends,

In John 10v10 Jesus declared that he had come ‘…in order that you might have life-life in all its fullness’ (Good News Translation). But what did he mean, and what does this life ‘in all its fullness’ look like?

The truth is that the church has an image problem. Most people in the UK today would not dream of coming to Church. We have the reputation of being judgemental, boring and irrelevant to the needs of people today. Now part of this rejection comes from simple misunderstanding. Many have never been and so imagine church to be a cross between ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ and scary American TV evangelists. We do need to tell people that we are not like that (and we are not!). However the problem does go deeper than simply a matter of perception – there is a problem and we need to change the way we do church. And do you know how I know this? I have a simple question for you. If your friend/ neighbour /work colleague was struggling with illness/ depression/ financial worries would you encourage them to come to church? After chatting with many of you I suspect that the answer is ‘no’. If your friend possibly wanted to know about God, then maybe ‘yes’, but when it simply comes to experiencing a better life then church can often be forgotten. But surely having ‘life in all of its fullness’ is precisely what Church is all about and reconnecting with the God who can make this happen! So what are we doing wrong?

We need to continue to create a ‘come as you are’ culture in our church. All too often church is seen as only for ‘perfect people’, who are morally beyond reproach, have all their doubts answered and are financially secure. But the problem is that this is true of none of us – and yet the temptation to keep up the façade is immense. But it is in keeping up this mask that hypocrisy and shallow relationships become the norm. So why do we hide? Because we have forgotten that we are all sinners, who have encountered Jesus and are on a journey to and with God. It was because we couldn’t save ourselves that Jesus had to come in the first place, and now we are disciples we need him just as much. All of us are sinners. All of us are frail and weak. All of us are ‘work in progress’. If you knew that you were inviting your friends to a close community of friends whose main purpose was to love support each other through the trials and difficulties of life, empowered by the God of grace – would you invite your friends to a church like this?

Over the next few months in our 11am Sunday Services we are going to be looking at how we can do this. So have a look at our programme card and find out what’s in store.

God bless,
Andrew

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