Big apologies for the long hiatus from blog writing. Planting a church when you’re a student has numerous benefits but the closer that dissertation deadline got, the less able I became at writing anything other than detailed breakdowns of ecological experiments. However during that time, we were still meeting weekly and had been continuing our series on the early church; investigating the culture into which they were planting and the struggles they came up against.
Previous blog posts detailed the first church of Jerusalem and the church in Antioch. Since then, we have looked at the church in Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth and Rome. All of these cities were big cities of power either in trade, cultural influence or government. The early church had the challenge of bringing the gospel to people in a time of widespread idolatry as well at the risk of persecution.
Not only were there challenges to be overcome externally in terms of outreach, but also internally within the church. Paul’s letters are not only rich in encouragement and information, but also guidance as well as pain over issues being faced within different churches.
When the early church was formed, they didn’t have years of strategy meetings and interviews to assemble the perfect team. In fact, from a strategist’s analysis, they probably at best had the potential to form cliques in the corners of cities that may have lasted a couple of hundred years before the message died out. However, instead what happened was miraculous. The early church grew and spread across the Earth. People were saved and lives transformed because of the truth of a God that loves us. In 2000 years, the message never lost its contagious passion or contentious truth.
When we are part of the body of Christ, we never go into challenges alone. God takes our messy attempts and miraculously multiplies the goodness from it far beyond anything we could’ve achieved alone. I was reminded recently of the feeding of the 5000; Jesus thanked His Father in heaven for the small offering of food and multiplied it beyond the human perceived potential. Our Father in heaven is thankful every time we share the message of the loving God who transformed our lives, however much we mumble it awkwardly. He is thankful for every group who meet across the world, showing love to each other in His name, however small the gathering.
We have a God who can be relied on to turn up to our outreach events, or be present in conversations with colleagues. He was present in the letters passed across the middle east that encouraged the early believers and was present in every first church meeting that took place. He performed miracles within people to equip them for their callings and multiplied these attempts to share His love with others, in order to achieve results far beyond anything we would perceive as possible.
And over these last nine months, I have seen God turn up to every meeting in Costa and every private bible study preparation session. He knows what we’re are stepping out into because He has been through it all before and He walks in front of us, preparing the way as we do so.
Our prayer for our church in the city centre is that we will discern God’s calling for our family here and will see God multiply what we offer up to Him.
If you’d like to find out more information about us and stay tuned for exciting updates for the city centre over the coming months, head to the CCM: City Centre website, contact Heather, like us on facebook or come along to Costa on a Tuesday evening at 7.30pm.
We’d love to have you.
Written by:Heather Chiles