Let Light Shine 2017 Vision

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2017: Vision

Just a couple of times a year, and New Year is an obvious one of those moments, we try and articulate something of the vision we feel God has given us as a church. It’s simple really. It’s laid out in places like Acts 14:21-25. The church’s (any church!) strategy is:

 

To Reach People

“They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples.” (21). The church has a burning, unflinching, self-sacrificing ambition to tell people who haven’t heard about Jesus about Jesus. And to do that in rationale, persuasive, engaging, truthful, integral ways that mean people are ‘won’ – lots of them.
 

To Grow Disciples

“Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.” (22). Conversion to confidence in Jesus is only the start. Then they are to build, grow, strengthen, reinforce, and establish those people as firm followers of Jesus.
 

To Catalyse Churches

“Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust”. (23) People are reached, then grown and then organised into a vibrant church with committed leadership and a growing, mutual trust in Jesus. Churches that repeated the cycle so not only are we disciples-making-disciples but churches-making-churches.
 

And to start again!

“After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.” (24-25) And then they start again…and again…and again. The church is to never outgrow this basic, three-fold sequence; reach, grow, catalyse.
 
 

What does that mean for Beacon Church – one church with many beacons – in 2017?

We think it means seeking God to birth some things in 2017, and to conceive others ready for 2018.
 

Planning, praying, hoping and working toward seeing God birth:

• A Sunday Morning, monthly meeting as part of the congregation on Highfields, starting late January/February time and called PubChurch.
• A step evolution in Sunday Afternoons at Sandon Road with the swell in numbers, especially of children. Under 11s out number adults and we need to readjust how we do this!
• To initiate two Sunday Morning meetings to replace the one we now have at the Beacon International Centre to enable us to reach more people, love each other more effectively and practically fit in the building. This will probably be in April.
• To start a weekly meeting on Marston Grange, small but authentically a true congregation of the church. This will start early February.
 

Praying, hoping, giving, pleading and plotting God would conceive for a 2018 birth:

• A significant opportunity to reach the 6000 students that will populate the Chinese education centre (to be called The New Beacon Centre) that used to be the Staffordshire University campus next door to the Beacon International Centre.
• To journey with discussions of planting a church reaching students at Staffordshire University Stoke campus and Keele University.
• To explore a strategic partnership with HEBA, our regional Baptist network, to assist the rejuvenation of churches in Staffordshire.
• To begin relationships, conversations and a prayer network to see the 4000+ Burleyfields Development in south Stafford reached. Building of these homes is underway.
 
We are daring to believe God will move us from six to eight congregations by the end of 2017, and to around a dozen by the end of 2018.
 

God is able. Will he do it?

It is vital we remember it is Jesus’ work and we are called not to commit unyielding to our plans but to his glory. We are praying and working hard to see many, many people reached and won for Jesus. But we do not claim God has promised any of this. Indeed, we realise we may fail. But we want to have a go for Jesus and not die wondering what might have happened if only we’d trusted more and tried harder. We have no idea how Jesus might enable us to keep multiplying. We are content to wait upon him. In fact we rejoice to recognise that ‘our vision’ may well be accomplished through other networks, people and generations – we are glad to serve them if that is the case. God has granted us a tremendous sense of momentum and an exciting suspicion that we have only just begun and so we ‘strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in us’ (Colossians 1:29) and trust him for the rest.
We shared a more detailed version of this vison on Sunday January 8th (audio coming soon). Afterwards one paragraph from the Bible was repeatedly highlighted by various people. It is appropriate to hear it again:
 
‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ (Joshua 1:7-9)

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