“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” (Matt 13:31,32)
This is the kingdom of which we are part – the kingdom which we have entered by the mercy of God and in which we now each have a part to play. Though its beginnings often seem to us insignificant, this kingdom is literally driving the whole course of world history!
As disciples of Jesus and as a church we want always to be changing, growing and developing. We believe that God is showing us the next steps that we are to take at Gateway in order to see his kingdom continue to advance amongst us – both as each of us is equipped and released to use our gifts, and also as God joins new people to us to play their part in the things God has given us to do.
And so at our recent midweek meeting I outlined how God has been leading us. To hear a little more of the detail, you can listen to the recording of the evening here.
We believe that the first important step that we need to take is to get some growth momentum going again. So from January 2013, we will reduce the length of our Sunday morning meeting to an hour and a half, and run our children’s groups for the duration of the meeting. We estimate that this will release at least another 50 seats in the main meeting.
This is a relatively cost free first step which can be done quite quickly. In terms of subsequent steps, we’re seeking God and haven’t yet come to a firm conclusion. The most obvious subsequent step, and one that we’re considering very carefully, would be the multiplication of our Sunday meeting. We’re open to what God wants to say to us, and as we take this first step, we’re asking him to confirm what we’re to do next. So please do pray for us!
We’re keen to make the changes in January as smooth as possible, and indeed to prepare well to build in those we believe that God will add to us. So we’re focussing attention in three key areas to help this. These are:
- Children’s Work
- recruiting strong teams which are not over-burdened
- adding an extra age-group
- making it as easy as possible for people to connect
- strengthening small groups as the key building block for connecting
- multiplying and clarifying sources of information
- upgrading our material
Hopefully you may have noticed one or two things moving in this direction already.
We now have a pot of money which has been given towards developing our accommodation – after giving away approximate 10%, and some expenditure on our PA, we have approximately £50k. This money will not go into general funds but will remain designated for the development of our facilities. One thing that we are looking at immediately is how we might use some of this money to create a better ‘meeting experience’ within our current auditorium – particularly in the area of audio visuals.
…by my Spirit…
We believe that God’s plans for Gateway are many and varied. Since the church began – 20 years ago this month – God has spoken, through many different people, of significance and impact. I’m constantly aware however that we’ll only do anything of value as each of us gives ourselves to obeying Jesus and being filled with the Spirit. As God said to Zerubbabel when he was given the job of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit” (Zech 4:6)
Please pray as we prepare to make these changes – and please pray that God will continue to lead us very clearly from this point. Please be ready to serve if you’re not already doing so, and please look out for those who are new to Gateway and help them get connected. Jesus is building his church!