Thursday, 24 November 2016

Study Day (2)

Circuit Study Day  
The study day took place last Saturday at Emmanuel Church, Bestwood.

Values Based Discipleship

On a cold, bright morning, Laurence Singlehurst was among the first to arrive having driven from Harpenden to lead us through the day. Very soon there were twenty or more people ready to go. What sort of values were we talking about? The values we are looking for will be found in Jesus himself and Laurence based his opening remarks on 2 Peter 3,18:  

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The day divided into four sessions: 
  • The Big Picture
  • Four Key Values
  • Values for Mission
  • Values for Daily Living 
Laurence took us on a sweep through the history of Britain from Roman times to the present, highlighting the moments when the church had to rethink its mission:
  1. After the Saxons (AD 450-550): The Celtic church and its mission
  2. After AD 1066: Wycliffe, the Lollards, the Reformation
  3. After the abolition of the monastaries: Puritan revival
  4. In the eighteenth century: the Methodist revival, the Wesleys
  5. Now: the second half of the twentieth century/in progress
Laurence drew his key values from Mark 12,30-31:  

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength ... (and) Love your neighbour as yourself.

In this context, he encouraged us to have:

  1. a high view of God
  2. a high view of other people
  3. a high view of yourself
  4. a high view of love
Living by these values is tough and it gets even tougher. Values based discipleship is not an easy option. In Matthew 5,43-45, Jesus says: 

People say: Love your neighbour ... but I say: Love your enemies. 

Mission is about connecting with people but it is not so much something we do as something we are. We need to be a big-hearted people, warm, welcoming and hospitable, living a life full of forgiveness, generosity, faithfulness, encouragement and integrity. As such, our values based mission will be about creating spaces for people using, among other things, the rhythms of the church year - Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Harvest - as well Messy Church, Buggy, Toddler or Family Services, social media, Alpha and other resources - opportunities to invite people to explore what a values based life is all about.

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