Why Are We Here?

18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.  (Luke 4:18-19)
 
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:41-44)
These verses are very precious to us as a church, because it’s through these verses that God spoke to us back in 2011 when our church was based in just one building in Wimbledon. We were happy seeing people saved, seeing people’s lives transformed, and seeing more and more people coming along on a Sunday – when suddenly we were offered a building in Kingston and invited to plant a new congregation into that new location. I was inclined to say no, and I wasn’t the only one. Somebody said memorably at one of our leadership meetings while we weighed the invitation together - ‘why don’t we just stick to our parish?’ Yes, I admit it, we really were a bit small-minded!

But then God spoke to me one morning so clearly that it felt like I was being punched in the stomach. As I read what Jesus said to people in these verses, my heart started beating fast. “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Suddenly, we started to realise as a church leadership team that we are here for the surrounding communities too – that’s the reason why God has put us here. As we stepped out in faith, the people of Southfields Baptist Church also decided that they wanted to join us to be part of this vision, and they became Everyday Church Southfields.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve got a few things wrong over the past ten years. One mistake we’ve made is that we’ve tried to do things ‘top down’, rather than ‘grassroots up’. We’ve announced with great fanfare that we are starting a new Sunday service somewhere, assuming that the rest will all quickly fall into place. We’ve needed to learn from Luke 10 that the strategy that Jesus gives his church is for us to start small and to trust him to grow us from there. Proclaim the good news, find men and women of peace, gather small and then let God make that mustard seed grow. Another mistake we’ve made is that we’ve been centralised, rather than mobilising every member. We’ve announced our vision and have asked who will help us to achieve it, rather than asking people: What has God placed in your heart to do, and how can we help you to achieve that through your faith in him?
 
But wherever we’ve got it wrong, we’ve got it wrong in the way you’d want your church to get things wrong. We’ve fallen over forwards in pursuit of the big purpose God has given us. We haven’t made the mistake of forgetting why we are here, and frankly we don’t intend to. Post-Covid, we are not going to batten down the hatches and drift into maintenance mode for the next few years. No way! We know why God has put us here. “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

Has God increased your passion for your local area? Then let’s talk about starting a Life Group where you are. Are you already part of a Life Group in your area, but longing for more? Then let’s talk about making that Life Group two Life Groups. Are there already two or more Life Groups, with some real momentum, and you are longing to see God reach your local area in a deeper way? Then talk to your leaders. We want to go forward together with wisdom, not making any of the mistakes of the past, but we aren’t going to stop dreaming together. Reaching other communities is why God has put us here. We are still caught up in Jesus’ mission.
  1. What courageous purpose is he stirring in your heart for your local area?
  2. Reading through Luke 4:31-44 together over the past three days, we have talked about Courageous presence, courageous proclamation, courageous prayer, courageous power and courageous purpose. In which of these five areas do you sense the Holy Spirit flowing out of you the most? In which of these five areas do you sense it the least?
  3. As we end the Enjoy The New You series together today, what has God taught you most through the series? What do you sense that he is calling you to do in response to the Good News you have received?

We are going to take a two-week break from our Everyday Devotions for the two weeks of the Easter holidays. We would encourage you to spend those two weeks reading the Easter story in Matthew 21-28. Since there are 14 days and 7 chapters, if you read a chapter a day then you will enjoy the whole Easter story in that time.
 
We will be back with more Everyday Devotions on
Monday 12th April, as we start our new learning series: “POST-LOCKDOWN CHURCH”.
Father God, I thank you for all that you have taught me through the Enjoy The New You series. Please help me to do just that – to enjoy who I now am in Jesus through my faith in him. Please transform me more and more into the image of Jesus by the power of your Holy Spirit. Please also transform me into a courageous carrier of that message to others. I ask it in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Phil Moore, who leads our team of whole-church elders.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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