Volume 1 – Issue 9

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“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”

Deuteronomy 8: 17-18

Living with Change

Tony Sands, a member of the FCC Strategic Board, shares a reflection “Living with Change”

Do you enjoy change? Mega pastor/author Rick Warren often says the only people who really like change are babies with dirty nappies – and some of them are not that bothered! I read recently Pope Francis has said “We are no longer in an era of change, but a change of era…”

As we and our churches puzzle out our way forward we do so somewhat blindly, guessing a fair bit (at least I am) which next steps to take as we move into post-lockdown. We will be aware of things we missed, mistakes we’ve made, and hopefully pleased we made some good calls as well. We are in a new era, an era of even greater uncertainty and for some, real fear about our futures.

How shall we move ahead? I want to encourage you in a couple of areas which, I think, are principles true in any era.

Firstly, dig deep into the well of the person of God. His riches are unfathomable and His grace and love limitless. We will need the presence of His Comforter and His sustaining power more than ever. As an old FCC evangelist used to say to me “Tony, to be much for God, you must be much with God”!

Secondly, I believe this is a time to be bold. Remember the 80’s Chorus, “Be bold, be strong, for the Lord thy God is with you.”? My inclination is to safety, but the need of the mission is courage – the mission doesn’t end here, it’s a reset and relaunch if anything. Think big!

Lastly, take time to love on people as much as the vision you cast. On the Wednesday of Holy week, Jesus took the whole day off to simply be with His friends. There was work to be done, but there were people to enjoy. Make sure you are with the ones you love as often as you need them – they bring so much to your life and strengthen your heart for the mission.

May God give you His peace and His power as you lead in this season!

Tony Sands

Partnership with Greater Europe Mission

“If the church is to demonstrate its faith, that faith cannot be divorced from caring acts ”
Peter Davids in Patterns of Discipleship in the New Testament

Over the previous few years, FCC has been developing a strategic partnership with Greater Europe Mission (GEM). Their desire is to plant significant numbers of churches in the UK and, rather than have a “scatter gun” approach, they have opted for a more targeted and strategic policy of planting extensively in a single region before moving on to other areas.

At the moment the first strategic objective is to plant many churches in the West Midlands, under the banner Engage West Midlands. FCC and ForMission College are key partners in this initial project. For this reason, we are featuring two messages. One from the UK director of GEM, Andrew Hodson, (directly below), and a second which is a conversation between the international leader of GEM, Jon Burns, in a conversation with an American church leader. Jon is an Englishman, from the North East of England and he brings a refreshing perspective to what began as an American mission organization. To watch that interview click on the link that sits below the message from Andrew Hodson.

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Jon Burns Interview with Calvary Church, Santa Ana

Resources

Using Social Media

During “lock-down” many churches have been using social media in a whole variety of channels, partly to stay in touch with members, partly for outreach purposes. As “lock-down” gradually comes to an end, this is the time to be thinking about how to continue to use social media effectively. Paul Fenton who was brought up in the Mitchell Street Church of Christ, Wigan, and who now lives in Cornwall has a wealth of experience in helping local churches to use social. He is offering a seminar on how to move to a new level – see the ad below.

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Thinking about mission

ForMission College partners with the Missional Network in North America to produce an on-line journal that reflects on the challenge of mission in the western world. It is more of an academic read but it should be accessible to the ordinary reader. The latest edition is available on-line and it is free of charge! Click on the link below.

http://journalofmissionalpractice.com/

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News

Rowheath Pavilion Church – plans for public worship

As you will be aware, it will soon be possible to meet together for public worship. But that will not be straightforward, and we will need to use some imagination in terms of how we go about this. There will be many approaches and we will try to feature some over the next few weeks. Rowheath Pavilion Church are going to attempt their first worship service out doors in the park that surrounds the Pavilion on 12 July.

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It will be easy to socially distance one another. It might not be so easy to actually structure the event although the church has worshipped out of doors before. We will report on how this experiment goes. They have also had baptismal services outside in the past, so there is some experience to draw on.

FCC Strategic Board Members – Introducing Tony Sands

Tony Sands served for many years as the senior minister in at least two Churches of Christ in Australia as well as serving for one year as the minister of Rowheath Pavilion Church in Birmingham. Together with his wife Rhondda, Tony currently works on the staff, of a church based on the Medway in South East England. Tony is a member of the churches Property Board and a Trustee of the Ilford Church of Christ. He represents the Property Board on the Strategic Board.

Until next week… Martin Robinson

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