Change

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There’s the old Baptist joke that does the rounds from time to time: “How many Baptists does it take to change a lightbulb?” The answer is simply, “Change?” in a shocked and startled voice. The point being that we don’t handle change very well and will often do anything to avoid it.  Is that true?

The McBains have been through a big change again, we moved into the new manse last week and have been thrown back into the chaos of our life being in boxes, but not the boxes we thought as we get ourselves straight and make home in the lovely 21 Ringwood Avenue house.  This is our second big move in seven months and it is disrupting and sometimes bewildering learning how to make the new house work for us.

Our church is going through big changes as we manage the transition to one 10:00 am service. On that we are confident that we will be ready to announce the date next week, but as with all changes there’s some details still to be ironed out. But don’t worry we’ll get there and it will be good and worth it.

Roberta and Gerald officially leave us this weekend- a big change for them and for the church.

We’ve had new babies over the last few weeks and Mairi and I sympathise with the new parents over the changes to their life and particularly sleep pattern – it is brutal, but absolutely worth it.

And of course, there are sad changes with bereavements or even relationship breakdowns; learning to live without a loved one is a tough change. Some changes are not sought.

But our faith is based on a belief of change. Today is Good Friday, Jesus’ death changed the world. It was a horrific, ghastly physical death but it changed things; and from that point on the world has never been the same.  The relational divide between humanity and God was changed in the most beautiful way. Death was changed from something to be feared, into a passage to eternal new life with God.  I’m sure we’ve all seen lives that have been totally changed by a meeting with the crucified, risen and changed Jesus.  Jesus’ change from life to death to life transforms the worst things that have happened to us to eternal delight, as the joy of our new life becomes so much greater than any scar we bear.

So, I’m a big fan of change, because I wholeheartedly follow and worship a God who paradoxically ‘never changes’ yet brings about the most profound change to everyone and everything that encounters Him.

 

 

Refuel, Refocus & Relate

Refuel, Refocus RelateLast night at the church meeting the members overwhelmingly supported the Elders’ proposal;

‘We are a church united in love and shaped by mission. We resolve to have one Sunday morning service at 10.00am and to explore new ways of reaching our community for Christ.’  

We have not set a date for the new 10:00 am service until we have worked with the different Sunday team leaders to ensure that the transition can be made as smoothly as possible. The plan is that it will happen between Easter and the May half-term break.

The vision for this change can be summed up in three words: Refuel, Refocus and Relate.

Refuel

In 2012 the move to two services was the right one for RBC and good things have come from it. However, matters are different in 2018; attendance levels have dropped, and we recognise that feelings of weariness have set in. We don’t want to stay in this this place. Now is a season to refuel and reimagine our purpose and mission as we build and strengthen each other. This period of refuelling will involve a greater focus on prayer, praise and worship. We are also going to (re) introduce teaching and training on outreach and evangelism. It’s time to join together, strengthen and support each other not exhaust each other to have a greater kingdom impact.

Refocus

It’s time to redefine who we are and what kind of church we need to be to serve God and our local community. We are not a town centre church but are strategically placed in a large residential area, a stone’s throw from the Cromwell Road estate and with a new local school opening next door to us. We also have a history of planting new congregations and sending people to mission and ministry training – it is part of who we are as a church. We are also so blessed with being such a multi-cultural church. It’s time to refocus to be certain of the kind of church God needs RBC to be in 2018 and beyond.

Relate

We acknowledge that for some people relationships have been lost or weakened by the two-service model. We believe that holding one Sunday morning service will allow more time for joint activities and socials, including people on the fringe of church life. One of our strengths to build on is our warm welcome and friendliness which we will do by prioritising relationships over programmes.

Not only was the Elders’ proposal so well supported but Mairi was interviewed by Emily about following her ‘call’ into Baptist Ministry. She’ll be interviewed again in the services this Sunday morning if you want to hear her story.

It was a big night, a powerful night and an encouraging night as we begin to act on what we believe God is saying to us.

See you Sunday

Graham

 

 

 

 

Complete!

Well,  the church have bought a new manse!

Last week after painful and tedious last minute negotiations the sale contract was completed and 21 Ringwood Avenue became the new RBC manse. The keys were handed over and at 5:30 PM we gained access and were in! Since then, we’ve been spending every spare moment either packing and sorting this end or cleaning and painting that IMG-20180303-WA0000.jpgend.

On Tuesday we had the two prayer groups praying and praising in every room of the house (even the garage). I wonder what the neighbours thought with loud worship music blasting and flags being waved. This is something we have always done, praying around new homes before we move in, praying that the home will be a place of peace and any unsavoury residue or atmosphere from the past prayed out.

Jo in the church office has been brilliant at organising a rota of painters and decorators to help spruce up the place ready for the big move.

This will be our home but it’s also important to us that it is very much the church’s house.  Our desire and prayer is that it becomes a place of ministry and a place of welcome for the church and the surrounding community.

We also believe that this is a future proof purchase that will be suitable not just for us but for future incumbants, whatever size or shape their family may be. So it has been worth waiting for the right house.

We are moving in on 22 March and look forward to welcoming you all to the new manse as soon as we get settled. We’ll probably begin with a couple of ‘open house drop-in’ weekends- hopefully well timed with good weather so we can use the garden.

Next Thursday we have a really important church meeting where we will be talking, praying and deciding on the future shape of our Sunday morning  services, please do come along if you can make it. The agenda will be out today (Friday) and the Elders’ proposal, to read in advance of the meeting, on Monday.

Before that, this weekend I am at my eldest neice’s wedding so won’t be at RBC. Roberta is continuing the ‘Inside Out’ series in the morning and I’m thrilled that Grant and Shaleen Roberts are coming to tell us about the Recovery course and all God is doing with them in the ‘In My Place’ evening service.

See you soon

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Men

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The Time:            08:00PM

The Date:             Monday 26 February 2018

The Place:            The Hatch (One of the finest pubs in Redhill and conveniently close to both home and the church centre)

The Occasion:    12 Guys from RBC meeting for a chat about what it means to be men passionately committed to serving Jesus in their homes, work and church.

The Impact:        Could be huge – the possibilities are endless- the impact on me- quite frankly I’ve been buzzing all week.

The Reason:       I have seen focussed men’s ministries transform men’s personal lives, married lives, family/home lives, work lives and church lives and I believe it could happen here at RBC.

Why?  Let me tell you about my last Baptism service in my previous church.

Jerry could tell you all about hardship, bad luck and fury with God. His own life was blighted with tragedy, a child hood accident followed by botched surgery led to amputation of his lower leg. All this while coping with the suicide of one son and a late diagnosis of illness for his second son resulting in life changing brain damage and disability. Oh and his house was repossessed! Add to the mix his (understandably?) atheistic wife and Jerry’s temper troubles and you have a man who has every right to be angry with God.

What an absolute privilege it was to take this man through the waters of baptism and hear him declare aloud his commitment to Christ. What changed in Jerry was some men from the church befriending him and inviting him to the CVM ‘The Gathering’ festival, where the only way I can put it is, he met Jesus.

Next, I baptised Chris, an ex-homeless ex-squaddie with a back story of child abuse, violent assault, burglary and drug addiction.  He looked me deep in the eye and said with all the conviction he could muster, ‘Jesus is Lord’. What changed for Chris was being befriended by some of our men whilst he was a guest at our homeless shelter. He also was taken to ‘The Gathering’ where he could not believe the man on stage knew so many details of his life and could speak so directly to him. (The speaker didn’t and wasn’t). He almost ran to the front when the appeal to commit to Christ came. Last year Chris was giving his testimony on stage and volunteering as my right hand man at the homeless shelter.

Next, I baptised Mark, an older man who had come on our ‘Q course’ (our version of Alpha- shorter and with better questions). Antagonistic to God after seeing so much suffering when he served in the army I almost couldn’t believe it when he said he wanted to be baptised because he realised Jesus died for him!

I could tell you many more stories and they all have the same thing in common. Men befriended by men, challenged about their life choices, supported with the help they needed, and totally transformed by Jesus- because the man we’re telling them about is Jesus.

I could tell you about the four men that met in a caravan every fortnight for curry, banter and prayer – and the saving of one of their marriages that came through it.

I could tell you of the heart-warming hug I watched Hannah give her husband Simon when he got back from ‘The Gathering’ and told her he followed Jesus now.

You see when men of God get fired up about Jesus, and support each other, challenge each other and spur each other on- amazing things happen. And when men of God are content to just crack on with their lives and be busy and kind of stay in the background spiritually, they wither away.

Last Monday twelve guys got together and talked about supporting each other, committing to God’s word, pledging obedience to Christ and making a difference – High Challenge and High Support! A commitment to disciple and learn from each other, a commitment to see men won for Christ, a commitment to be real men of God.  Not everyone is on board – I know that – but even the possibility of five or six guys from last Monday capturing the vision… wow.  You see why I am so energised.

So, women, show this blog to any men in your life: husbands, brothers, friends etc. Men of RBC lets do this. If you missed Monday and you want to be in on this, let me know.

1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

This Sunday at RBC is going to be great: the talented Trystan Glaze is preaching in the morning continuing our ‘Inside Out’ series. The inspiring Freda Clarke will be speaking at the evening communion ‘In My Place’ service on homelessness

See you then

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