Sunday 26th July, 2015

It has been a joy and privilege to serve at St. Matthew’s over the last two months.  There are several things I have observed that bring me joy and a sense of hope.  I would like to encourage you by highlighting a few of them.

St. Matthew’s is a brave church.  Under the leadership of Ian and the wardens you have taken the step of changing a pattern of church that was not producing new disciples.  That is to be commended because most church communities get stuck in ‘doing’ church and then refuse to change in order to stay comfortable.  Moving ‘church’ into the foyer is a positive move and breaks down several barriers for new comers.

St. Matthew’s is an outward looking church.  Well done on embracing mission.  The Op Shop, Tate St PS, and Play Group are excellent examples of being witnesses for Jesus in the local community.  A lot of you are involved in these.  That’s great!  However, I encourage you to look for more ways of connecting.  There members at St. Matthews who have gifts and abilities that can create more connecting points with the community.

St. Matthew’s is a Jesus centred church.  You love Jesus!  The purpose of our existence is his glorification.  The reason why you are brave and outward looking is to make Jesus look great! 

These are fantastic attributes to have.  However, there are a few things I think the church can wrestle with.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing these insights with you.

Share the Vision.  The new direction is exciting and the possibilities of bridging the gap between everyday life and church are tangible.  Sharing this vision clearly will be a big challenge, but a necessary one.  I look forward to seeing every person at St. Matthew’s understanding and contributing to the new way forward.

Do Mission and Discipleship.  St. Matthew’s heart beats for mission.  But, be aware that strong intentional discipleship using the Word of God is the fuel for mission.  Mission will peter out if the Word is not central when you gather.

Pray for Breakthrough.  St. Matthew’s has a history of embracing the movement of the Holy Spirit.  A new movement of prayer and humility before the LORD is the beginning of all new life.  We must be on our knees in order to see the Spirit move.

May the prayer of Habakkuk ring in our ears as we seek to see Jesus glorified in our day and age;

LORD, I have heard of your fame;

I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.

Renew them in our day.

                In our time make them known;

                In wrath remember mercy.  (Habakkuk 3:2)

Grace and Hope,

Stephen.