Dear Church Family
I was asked to speak at York Deanery Synod last week on 'Being a Resource Church'. It was good to be able to share some of the things we've been doing over a number of years to resource others, as well some plans that we hope to be doing as we look to the future. Since the days of David Watson's missions and Renewal Weeks from the 1960s and 70s, our desire as a church has been to reach out beyond ourselves and to share and give away what God has given us. This culture of resourcing is central to who we are. It comes from a God-given call. It is important and precious.
Any organisation that knows it exists for the benefit of others will often be distracted from resourcing. There are always pressures and influences pulling inwards which can lead to a loss of focus and a neglect of the things that are most important. Roger Simpson used to say this of small groups, that unless they keep looking out and aiming to gather new people, 'they tend to rot'! That's why we regularly talk about our vision at The Belfrey, when we're reminded why we exist and share what the Lord is saying to us. As we've spoken on serving God's transformation of the North in 2018 through being a community of overflow, it's been great to see people embrace afresh that vision and becoming enthused about making a difference beyond our church doors. We've seen people continuing to invite friends to church, and most weeks new people have made professions of faith. We've had a good response to our renewal of financial giving, asking the church to establish a new link with a project to lift people out of poverty through Tearfund, as well as wanting to send James & Tash Fletcher to Greece and Rosie Brabbs to Eastfield. And of course recently we've announced that Ben & Ellie Doolan will be going to Newcastle to start a resource church there next year! This is yet another sign of overflow and resourcing others. It's a great honour to be asked by the Diocese of Newcastle to do this and that their Bishops recognise in us a desire to be a resource church that can help another community in the North.
Resourcing others has at its heart the desire to give. The Kingdom is extended as we give our resources of time, energy, love, prayer, money, people and much more. It also involves trust. We need to trust that as we give away, so God will generously give back. As we overflow, God will refill. Jesus says (in Luke 6:38) this is how resourcing works. Many of us know this in our own lives. When we give little, we don't have to trust God very much to replenish. But when we give a lot - in a way that stretches us - we really do have to trust him to refill! There's no way to learn this except though practice. Giving away causes us to trust that the Lord will provide.
So as we become even more a resourcing church into the future, I'm excited by what the future holds. But let's not think that this will be easy! It will involve much stepping out in faith and trusting in God's provision. But, as I said in my Friday Message last week, we have nothing to fear. That's because our good Father is with us by his Spirit. He's the One who 'is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine' (Ephesians 3:20). So let's trust him and keep resourcing.