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My highlight of 2015 was spending two days hosting the first Navigating Change conference at SwanBank. It was a busy few days and extremely hard work but an immense privilege as over 150 church leaders from across the UK gathered to look forward with hope, to explore together what is necessary to see growth within the Methodist Movement in the UK.
It was an amazing time of connecting and hearing what God is doing across our churches. I am convinced more than ever that God has a great future for us if together we learn how to navigate our way through this time of transition and change for the church.
I did the funeral of lady just before Christmas of 2015 and she was 101. I spent time with her nephew discussing all the changes she had seen during her lifetime, incredible changes socially and technologically. The way our communities look and function are almost different worlds. We live in a period in history of unparalleled change. And I for one know that when I was trained for ministry 20 years ago – I was trained to lead in a world that no longer exists.
Many of us are now leading churches and conducting ministry in a world that is almost gone – but not quite – the church is often the place where the remnants of the old world are clung to for dear life and the church begins to look alien to the community around it as the community moves on at a fast pace. The hard truth that we need to face, and face quickly is that while the church becomes a safe place for some from the change around we fail to fulfil the call upon us to communicate and fulfil the great commission for the current generation. I am always challenged by Fred Pratt Green’s words… ‘The Church of Christ, in every age beset by change but Spirit-led, must claim and test its heritage and keep on rising from the dead.’ It is time to again rise from the dead and become the church God asks to be – that will mean for many of us Navigating a different course, taking difficult decisions and not always being able to carry everyone with us on the journey. Our challenge is to be obedient to God, not the loudest voices in our congregations.
Are you, like me, tired of talking about decline and restructuring for death? Why not journey with us as we explore the future with confidence and expectation that God will continue to use and bless this church. The purpose of journeying together is to help each of us be more effective leaders, to share good news and catch new vision – to grow the Kingdom! Let’s Navigate Change.
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