This will be a new initiative aimed at the regeneration of the town centre, serving the thousands of new residents and workers who will join our town’s community.
One thing is already becoming clear. This is not a solo mission for a new ordained person, however gifted and energetic they may be. This will be a team initiative, which will bring together several ordinary people who are called by God to make a shared impact. How should we plan for this team and might some of us be an active part of it? What should we do to get started?
Nicky Gumbels’s material, based on the story of Moses in Exodus chapters 3 and 4, offers a good framework for thinking this through:
1. What do I do that feels more like fun than service – but when I do it I know God made me for this?
It could be chatting in a coffee shop, looking after young children, cooking meals, teaching people new skills, making music, helping out in the night shelter, running a young people’s group, praying with a friend, or sell-ing baked potatoes from a street cart – or whatever, fill in the blanks on what works for you.
2. How can I make myself open to new ideas and available to take up opportunities?
These might be ordinary things – like making coffee or buying the cakes for a meeting – or perhaps something new like joining a drama group, writing some songs, making a video or contributing to a web site. How will I recognise the opportunity? We read the story of Moses getting challenged by God to sort out Egypt – and just to get his attention, God spoke to him out the middle of a burning bush. I guess that worked. These days God has a lot more media options. Maybe he’ll speak to us.through a voicemail, a tweet or a line in a TV programme. Let’s be ready to spot the opportunity.
3. What if I feel inadequate, badly equipped or just daunted by the scale of the task? Well yes Bracknell is quite big. Moses had a few scale issues too – he said in Exodus chapter 3 verse 10, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God accepted he was not perfect and he would need help, so gave him several special miracles to show people God was in this. He also agreed Moses was not the ideal front man – he had a speech impediment – but lined up Aaron, Moses’ brother to do all the press interviews and PR for him. If we share with God about how we feel, he will help us and support us. He knows all our weaknesses – the visible ones and the secret ones – because he made us and he chose us anyway to get involved.
4. So how can we get started? Moses decides his first step (Chapter 4, verse 18) is to go back and see if any of his family are still alive. He starts small. We can take the same small steps, maybe just go and sit in one of the town centre coffee shops for half an hour and see what happens. Maybe we will see someone we know and invite them over. Maybe we will bump into someone in the queue and get talking. Maybe we will end up having a ten-minute conversation with someone we have never met before. Let’s start with a walk round, having a look at the new structures that have gone up in the past few weeks – and feel excited because this is our home ground and we are called to serve here. Let’s pray for all the big stuff that is coming later this year – new appointments, opening ceremonies, new shops and so on – but let’s see if we can get started now.
And by the way the Bible tells us Moses was 80 when he set off to see Pharaoh. Age doesn’t seem to be an issue, so …..
…. let’s just do it. Paul Copping