I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep
John 10:11
 

UPCOMING EVENTS:


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Welcome to Christchurch Abbeydale

We offer a warm welcome to all.  Christchurch is an ecumenical church which embraces four Christian denominations, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Church, worshipping together as one congregation.  Whether you already belong to one of these denominations or not you are most welcome. 


We welcome children of all ages. A crèche is available for pre-school children. There is Junior Church for children aged 5 to 11 and ‘The Core’ for children aged 11 years +. Children stay with us for the first part of the service and then go with the youth leader to take part in planned activities 


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Dear friends

Warm and sincere greetings in the name of Christ.

I am delighted to be able to make this contribution towards your newsletter – the first of many over the years to come.

I am very grateful at being given the opportunity to become your Minister. This is God’s call to me and to you, and there is much to look forward to with joy and hope. I pray that I will be able to serve you faithfully in the power and love of God’s Spirit.

When I begin work among you later this year, I will initially be concentrating on the pastoral side of things – getting to know you and developing relationships of respect and trust. I sense there are many of you looking forward to having “a pastoral Minister”, one who will be seeking to care for the Church and be ready to pray for you in your homes.

I will though – from day one – begin to analyse Christchurch’s attitudes and commitment to no less than ten areas of Church life. These ten areas are all significant to growth – whether that be spiritual growth, numerical growth or simply growth in unity and common purpose. The following are things you can begin to think and pray about now. How can we strengthen our life in these areas? How can I play my part? Where can I use my gifts? Where might I prayerfully help to bring development?

The first challenge is to consider Christchurch’s commitment to the authority and power of the Scriptures. How can biblical authority be strengthened in our Church – and in my life?

Then there is Christchurch’s commitment to prayer. How do we ensure that prayer is the foundation of the Church’s life and mission? Prayer must be a priority. How do we ensure this is the case?

Next, we must consider building effective leadership. All successful organisations and businesses need good leadership – the Church is no different. So, I must spend time with the present leadership team, and together we must look at developing strong servant leadership for the Church.

Close to this, we need to encourage a mobilised membership. This involves all our members growing in their understanding of the gifts that God has given them – and then putting those gifts to use in the Church and local community. Everyone has a calling and a part to play. What is yours?

Not surprisingly, I want to also think about eventful inspiring worship. This will be a personal priority as I seek to emphasise the need for everyone to prepare themselves to meet the living God in each act of worship at Christchurch. Expect to encounter, hear and be changed by God during worship!

Worship should inspire us to be witnesses in the world. Therefore, understanding the need for continuous evangelism is the next area of importance. It will be challenging to see how we can educate the Church in sharing its faith naturally and relevantly. Evangelism as a natural outflow.

I have already mentioned my commitment to pastoral care but aiming to build a united and loving community life is a challenge for us all. Such a loving Church family life will be the starting point of all effective mission to the local community and beyond. Do we really love one another?

Compassionate service is the eighth area of concern. How is Christchurch reaching out to the real needs of the Abbey dale/Abbey mead communities and to the wider world beyond? Where are we presently exercising compassionate and caring ministry? How and where can this grow?

Then there is the need for openness to change and to the Holy Spirit. New growth will come as the Spirit breathes life over us, and as we are challenged to move and grow in new ways in many different areas of Church life. Where does Christchurch need to change under the leadership of the Holy Spirit?

Finally, there is released resources through generous giving. Our financial giving is very important, and without that openness to be generous and bold in our giving the Church will never reach it’s potential in mission. There is a cost to everything, and you usually find that growing Churches have growing incomes to meet the needs and the challenges that lie ahead.

There we are. The ten areas that I will be thinking and praying about.

Biblical authority

Commitment to prayer

Effective leadership

Mobilised membership

Eventful worship

Continuous evangelism

Loving community life

Compassionate service

Openness to change

Giving

I hope this excites you as it does me. Your praying and thinking can and should begin now. Seek the Holy Spirit’s touch upon your life and be open to personal change and growth.

May the Lord richly bless you all.

Please keep Julia and I in your prayers. It’s going to be a big move and a big change for us!

Love in Christ

Peter