allbelievers

Supporting laos ministry ...

the Christian ministry of the whole people of God.

How to be heard

It's the political party conference season in the UK and talk is about the election expected in 2005.  One radio item took an interesting angle on getting one's message across.  On the issue of people not trusting politicians, a contributor noted: “... in the US, they have stopped using politicians so much, and have started using local advocates.  So if you're, say, a lorry driver or a barrister, you'll get a lorry driver or a barrister telling you what the Republicans or the Democrats are up to.  This is one of the problems about Labour's [but it could be any party's] retreat in membership. In the days when there was mass membership, you could ask a workmate about labour policy, and if they were a member, they could tell you.”  What another contributor called: “… the absolute value of the hundreds of thousands of party members, their personal networks and how they communicate a message at the grassroots.”

Which resonates strongly with our belief in laos ministry, the ministry of the whole people of God.  All Christian believers acting as channels of God's truth wherever they find themselves in an age when, sadly, there is plenty of scepticism about the institutional church.  This presupposes two things, relevant to all of us as individuals and to those who exercise leadership within the Christian community.

First, we all have to know what ‘policy’ is!  If we are to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have …” (1 Peter 3:15), we need to know and understand God's mission.  Where is the cosmos headed?  What gives life meaning and purpose?  And what answers can we give to the questions that bug people such as “how can a good God (so you say) create a world full of suffering?”?  Sounds like a need for more, and more coherent Christian education to me.  As Mark Greene concluded his excellent Imagine publication, "The UK will never be converted until we create open, authentic, learning and praying communities that are focused on making whole-life disciples who take the opportunities to show and share the Gospel wherever they relate to people in their daily lives.”

Secondly, as active ministers of God's grace, mercy, love and truth, we have to live what we speak.  And perhaps in our age to pay particular attention to building, not breaching trust.  When the children were small, our weekly worship was for years a family service put together by CPAS, which meant that most weeks we said Psalm 15.  Verse 5 in its quaint prayer-book form sticks in the mind as a pretty good motto - “Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, or who shall rest upon thy holy hill? … He that sweareth unto his neighbour, and disappointeth him not, though it were to his own hindrance.”  The other verses are also good - if you too are concerned about trust, you might like to read them!

Yours in Christ

Peter Nicholls



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