Purpose

For six months we have been seeking God in prayer and taking input for our VIP. This week we begin a mini-series looking at a summary of that as we look at our new Purpose and Vision.

Purpose

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

Vision

In Bedhampton Parish we seek:

To be part of the whole community building relationships and seeing God’s Kingdom come.
To be a place where the community gathers for celebration and commemoration from birth to grave.
To enable all ages to grow in discipleship and faith in small groups whilst giving and receiving support, love and practical help. To be a place where all ages gather together to worship God in a range of expressions.

Micah 6:6-8

Matthew 28:16-2

Speaking Notes – Caveat

These notes are my speaking notes and are provided as an accompaniment to the recording. Please accept that they are not intended to be a published grammatically correct essay. I do hope and pray however they help you move towards Jesus.

Now onto the content…

If you have been around for the last six months you can not help but to have noticed various opportunities to input into what we have called our V.I.P.
Our Vision, Identity and Purpose.

I invited you to join me and others to come together to pray around the table. Some of us fasted. There were exercises in how we would spend the money and time we spend as a church, if it was down to us individually. Some of us wrote letters imagining what this place would be like in five years time if God was to bless us. There were Lent groups, there was forty days of prayer, and finally I have had letters, emails and conversations from and with many of you. I think it is fair to say that anyone who wanted to have had the opportunity over the last six months to feed into how we as a church move forward.

Now we reach the point of the rubber meets the road and from that time of prayer and input our leadership team on the PCC have tried to summarise what our Vision and Purpose is.

In the next two Sundays we will look at our vision what we aspire to be as we move forward as a community of believers here in Bedhampton. But before that and this Sunday it is our turn to look our our purpose.

Why do we exist as a church here, what does that actually mean?

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

Those are the words your leaders on our PCC chose to summarise the input we have received over the last six months for our purpose.

Outline

When we began this exercise I said something along the lines that our purpose would end up being that we are to love God and love people.  

I would have been surprised, indeed concerned if that was not the case, because that is what Jesus said when he was asked to summarise our purpose for being here.

Mark 12:30-31 New International Version (NIV)

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

And true to form that that is pretty much what this says.

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

But the question that lies before us today is what does the nuance of this slightly different purpose statement actually mean, or is it just words on paper?

It is important that we as a community understand what these words mean because as we move forward everything we do will pass through the filter of this purpose.

Every time we look at starting something, the question will be.

Will this new program serve Bedhampton and share God’s love or friendship?

Every time we review what we do, the question will be, is this still serving Bedhampton and does it still share God’s love or friendship?

So let us look at these three areas.

Bedhampton

We are a local church. It has been very clear through our whole time of prayer that we always been called, and are still called to serve the community of Bedhampton.

That does not mean as individuals that we necessarily live in Bedhampton. What it means is that the vast majority of what we do will be to reach out to Bedhampton.

It doesn’t mean that we won’t do things that help us to walk towards Jesus elsewhere. Our Gospel said.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

So of course there will be times when we go elsewhere such as Ghana to help grow Disciples. But most of our effort will be Bedhampton. This was confirmed through all our prayer but can perhaps is best summed up one email I received. The email said.

I haven’t been able to get 2 Chronicles 7:14 out of my head whenever I pray for the parish. I’ve been asking God what he’s saying through that verse.

Let me read that to you.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

They continue.

This morning when I was praying I got a real sense that we need to not just pray for the parish but also to get out into the parish and pray. God has appointed us to be salt- we need to affect the flavour of the parish. Salt is no use if it stays in the pot, it only affects the flavour of food when it is put on it. Likewise we will only affect the flavour of the parish by getting out into it, by mixing with others in the parish and by getting out and walking and praying for the parish.

We are Bedhampton Parish Church and we are called to be that to the whole of Bedhampton. We are called to be that to the business owner in Old Bedhampton. The family of five in Scratchface Lane. The electrician and his family in Barncroft, as well as everyone else.

Until we have a church family community that represents the whole of our parish we do not have a community that represents God’s people here in Bedhampton and that is what we are called to do.

So don’t be surprised if we get out there across the whole of parish in the years to come. To share God’s love and friendship mixing with those across the whole of our parish.

God’s love and friendship

Which brings me to God’s love and friendship? That is also in our purpose statement.

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

What does it mean to share God’s love? Well it will mean many things, but to begin with it must mean sharing God. Because if we don’t who will? Paul puts it like this in

Romans 10:12-14

12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

We are the ones called to share the love and friendship of God in Bedhampton.

We will do this in many ways. Sometimes we will do it as we always have by sharing friendship at places like Fun Club and Friday Coffee and Cake.

Other times we will do things that you have done before. Things like explanations of God’s love through Alpha or some other introductory course.

But we will also see to show his love through new ways.

How do we show God’s love in that area of our parish to the East, that we barley break into right now? God is stirring something up in some of us.

He is creating a heart for the people of Leigh park that live in our parish and I am excited to see what he does.

How do we show God’s love and friendship to the older members of our parish as the demographics of our parish show a climbing average age? How do we show God’s love for the young people and families. God is string people’s hearts in these areas as well. Already I see God parting the waves to enable us to move forward into these areas. There are exciting times ahead.

The Big Idea

But as I conclude the question I want you to begin to think about is where is God calling you in this purpose statement of

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

What is your part?

You might think hold on a minute I am not sure if this is just a bit of hype. That is Ok you can think that.

But don’t let it hold you back from joining in. Remember our gospel?

When the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.

Even some of the disciples doubted Jesus plan of purpose. But that did not stop Jesus sending them any way. He went on…

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

So what is you part in God’s purpose for Bedhampton? What is he calling you to?

Hold on a minute Max, you don’t understand you might say. I’m too old, too young. I’m a busy person, I’m retired, I already do loads.

That’s OK, I am not saying do more than you already do. I am saying review what God is calling you to. As we move forward with our Purpose I don’t want you missing our on your part of that purpose that God has for you.

Another verse that constantly came up over the last six months of prayer is from Micha

Micah 6:6-8

6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I think God was saying all we have to do is share His love and friendship across Bedhampton by acting justly, merciful walking humbly with Him. That’s our part.
His Holy Spirit will provide the power and the energy and the way.

Maybe your take away this week is to ask him specifically what that means.

Maybe this week take away that book mark with both the Micah verse on it and our purpose and pray each day for the next three weeks. God what does this mean for me?

Do you know. I believe that if we do that and then act upon the results, then we truly will be

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship. 

I invite you to come and join me in doing just that.

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