From The Minister...
Every month Melbourn Baptist Church Minister, Stuart Clarke gives us a roundup of the latest work and challenges within the Church. This month's article is below.Archive >
“Yet a time is coming when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and truth.” At the end of January, through the month of February and into the first few weeks of March I reflected on the nature of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
I have been a part of the Baptist organisation of churches for 25 years. In those twenty- five years I have seen the charismatic renewal movement have a great impact on some of the ministries I have been involved in. I have found within the implicit ethos of Baptist churches the core value of loving the word of God and the importance of preaching the truth for the renewing of the mind. I have reflected on Jesus challenge to worship in a balance of “Spirit and Truth.” (John 4:23-24). If our worship is to have this balance of “Spirit and Truth.”
I have wondered whether we have tended within our denomination to focus more on truth being preached rather than spirit being ministered to one another. A core value of Baptist Churches has been the notion of the priesthood of all believers. Baptists have been a movement that has sought to facilitate sharing times of reflection together, accountability to the word, faithful encounter with God with sharing gifts. This body ministry seems to be distinctive to our Baptist roots and yet how often when we gather, is this participation encouraged? Do we have an ethos of coming to church to share ministry together or do we come to receive ministry?
We share ministry as we worship together, hear the word of God preached, and minister to one another through sharing scripture, praying and using spiritual gifts. As I have reflected on a shared ministry time through my Sabbatical I have reflected on the nature of the values we must have as we approach a ministry time together. What environment of expectation do we need as we invite the Holy Spirit to minister?
Ministry Time (Environment of expectation.)
What ethos needs to be at the heart of this ministry time?
- Inviting Jesus to minister through his Spirit.
- Confidence to share gifts and enjoy the presence of God.
- Spiritual hunger for God to do the impossible.
- Longing for God’s cleansing, renewal and empowerment.
- Patient waiting on God.
- Longing for the sovereign plans and purposes of God.
- Seeking an intimacy with God, to love what God loves.
- Intentionally hear the voice of God.
- Desire to see what God wants to say or do through ministry together.
- Shared desire to equip, use and minister our spiritual gifts together.
In Melbourn Baptist we have been sharing ministry for a while now and my hope is that in the coming weeks and months we will continue to come to church with an ethos of being open to share our lives, gifts and faith together.