How can you play a part in witnessing to people about Jesus and helping Christians grow as disciples?
It's becoming harder to relate the gospel to our culture, and yet people are just as open to hearing about the good news Jesus brings. No-one or nothing else provides the security, identity, life-changing relationship that he brings!
Formation School is a year-long evening course here in Southampton which aims to equip people to make disciples. Here's what Sheree, one of our church members who's coming towards the end of this year's course, says about it:
"Formation school provides excellent Biblical teaching, I particularly found the sessions looking at the 'big story' from Genesis to Revelation interesting and enjoyable. I also found sessions looking at issues that Christians often struggle with really helpful e.g. the Gospel and Sexuality, the Gospel and Post -Truth World , Science and Christianity and understanding other religions/world views.
"I think the teaching in Track 2 has helped me grow the most. The importance of spending time in the 'soul room', that we need to be filled (spiritually) before we can serve others."
Aimee says, "Formation School was a good but challenging experience. It has helped me feel more confident about what I do know about God and his word as well as how His word should be applied to our lives and has also equipped me to help others grow as disciples of Jesus. It has also encouraged me to seek more involvement in Church life and leading.
Formation School took me out of my comfort zone. If you do it, it will be enjoyable, you will make firm friends and it will challenge your ideas about the way we live and work and the relationships, attitudes and supposition we have about others. You wont regret it and you will go away feeling enriched, changed and with a heart full of the Holy Spirit."
Who would it be useful for? Sheree says, "I would recommend Formation School for someone already in a leadership position or looking to lead in the future e.g cell group leader."
The video below gives you a brief introduction. This year we've had 3 people on the course. Do you want join for next year? Bursaries may be available.
For more info, chat to Dan or check out the Formation School website. Be aware that the course is quite demanding - long Tuesday evening sessions and a couple of Saturdays a term. But don't be put off: Big investment = big gain for the kingdom!
So our last PCC meeting saw us officially welcoming in Jayne and Sheree into the group. It's nice to get new members each year as it keeps things fresh!
The first item on our agenda was to have a chat about where we currently are with our buildings project. We realise this has been going on for some time and we're trying to think of ways that we can escalate things, whilst ensuring what we are doing are the right things. We'll be discussing this topic in a lot more detail in a later PCC meeting.
We then spent a bit of time chatting about the Parish Giving Scheme. This scheme is a good alternative to the way that most of us already give to the church. The advantages of this scheme are that it takes a bit of the load off our administrators working out gift aid and doing paperwork, and usually means gift aid monies come back far quicker. We’ll pilot this as individuals on PCC before deciding whether to encourage the wider church family to make the switch.
With GDPR a hot topic right now, Sam Taylor has gifted us with his expertise in this area and helped us to draft the new data privacy and data protection policies. We had copies of these to read prior to the meeting so we just took questions and a quick vote that we're happy with these docs.
We next discussed the pattern of our PCC meetings. You might recall from one of my previous blogs that we had an away day in February and we all enjoyed having more dedicated time together to pray, break out into groups and have fellowship with one another. So we're currently looking at potentially throwing in a few more Saturday meetings and having less on Monday evenings. This suggestion seemed to go down pretty well, as I'm sure you'd all agree it's hard sometimes after a long day working and commuting!
The next item on the agenda was the Deanery Mission Action Plan. We had a copy of this in advance to read through so we just had a quick review and then discussed the need to spend time putting together a Parish Mission Action Plan.....which should have line of sight from the Deanery one. We've got lots of good stuff to add to this now that we have settled on our 7 mission priorities and starting to put together plans for those.
We finished up our meeting with updates on safeguarding, Bishop's Commission for Mission and something called a Terrier. This is not a dog, in fact it's a log of all items in St James and St John's. We send this log to the Diocese and it keeps a record of any items moved in and out of the church, and new items too.
Right. That's all for now folks. I'm off on my holidays. A week in Scotland with family...bliss!
Here's this month's video update from Dan: the next steps with our mission priorities, an invitation to the annual church celebration, and an update on our buildings.
Live theatre comes to St James' Park this Sunday!
Come and hear the greatest story ever told about the greatest man who ever lived!
Bring a picnic from 12.30pm. There'll be live music and a puppet show - plus a dramatic presentation of the first biography life of Jesus' life. Bring your friends - it's suitable for everyone, no matter what religious beliefs they may have. Those who've seen this performance before have described it as 'captivating' and 'stunning'.
Here's the actor, Stef Smart, talking about the production ...