I believe one of the tasks of a leader is to try and work out where the church is going next. By this, I don’t mean launching a fully laid out vision on an unsuspecting church and trying to force them to adopt it. I’ve seen that kind of leadership in action and it isn’t pretty. No, what I mean is more trying to listen carefully to the Lord and work out what are the right questions we should asking at this time, and seeking to find others in the church who can help work out the answers. Now, finding time to sit down and listen is time-consuming. It can seem from the outside not very productive. But it is an essential part of ministry if we are to keep in step with the Spirit and work out how the Lord is leading us.
On Monday I sat down with a Bible trying to work out what we should look at as a church from April to September in our preaching programme. I consider this planning of our sermon series to be the most strategic part of my ministry, because it’s in the ministry of the word we hear the Lord speaking most clearly, and it’s from there we start to discern how He wants to take us forward.
So after many scribbled drafts and much prayer, I felt that after Easter we needed to
look at the latter half of Romans. Paul says some challenging things about how to live together as a church community and live out our faith in the wider society. It’s important stuff we need to listen to, not only for our own local parish church, but also in the context of the many disagreements that are tearing our denomination apart and undermining our witness.
Then we’re going to move on to look at a few of the themes in Proverbs. It’s not an easy book to cover on a Sunday morning, but it does cover issues we wouldn’t normally think about elsewhere. How many sermons have you heard on the theme of laziness, for example!?
Finally over the summer, and into September, we are going back to Matthew’s gospel, to chapters 14-16 because we need constantly to be reminded who the Lord is and what He calls us to do. If our lives aren’t full of worship, then any attempts to live for Christ will fail.