Changing the expression of Christianity across Chesterfield

  • Our vision is to change the expression of Christianity across Chesterfield by building a loving community, with Christ in the midst reaching out to non-believers and people in need in every Chesterfield community.
  • We want to rescue, reconcile, restore and renew people in the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus Christ who we believe is the way, the truth and the life for everyone.
  • Our mission is to bring people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to see them grow as followers of Christ.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Vision Sunday 2018

What we are about as a Church?

Reading: Matthew 25:31-46


When I concluded the message on last year’s Vision Sunday, I made the following statements:

Those who receive “Grace” through the Suffering Servant [Isaiah’s title for Jesus] are called to exemplify that grace by living servant lives.  There is only one way to find out if you and I are truly servant hearted and that is to gauge our reaction when people treat us like servants.

What shall we do then?

  1. Continue to extend ourselves `a la Isaiah:58.
  2. Reach out with our story that will encourage others to follow the Christ we love.
  3. Be demonstrations of the love of Christ. What we have done for others here, we will seek to continue to do so.
  4. To find our identity as a church in our own right as we step into this new phase of being on our own; extending the leadership, expanding ministry, thinking big and using the nuggets of gold we have. Having not just fresh vigour but strength of purpose to see people born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, using gifts of the Spirit and making disciples for Christ and not decisions only.

Just as in previous years, some of what we set out to do has seen partial fulfilment, but as always we are a work in progress.  There is always more we can do, that much is true – more evangelism, better worship [whatever that is], more use of Spiritual Gifts etc., etc.  The bottom line is all these things take place when we take our place at the “table”.  I’m reminded of the word that Deborah [Howarth] brought.  “Church is not like the formal wedding banquet but like a family meal where all in the family are welcomed to come and eat, also including the Holy Spirit; he too should be welcomed as a family member at the table and not just an onlooker.”  Christine Marshall also brought a picture recently; “A boat in a harbour with people clinging on the outside of the boat, where it is unsafe once outside the harbour. Once at sea we need to be inside the boat where it is safe, especially when it is rough”. A picture of what life can be like without the security of Christ and of being in and part of His Church; not acting in isolation but being together.  She also recently gave a prophetic thought in a recent Family Service.  Speaking about the 12 spies: 10 brought a negative “but” into the conversation and introduced twice the difficulties, 2 brought a positive “but” into the conversation and saw 10 times the blessing of possessing all that God had for them.

We are those whose worship and lifestyle would want to be Spirit directed and not those who treat it as a consumer product or preferential style.  In her novel “And the Shofar Blew”, Francine Rivers wrote this telling statement:

“Let God do the moulding and shaping – and the breaking, if necessary. Keep your focus. What we believe determines how we serve Him. Often, that means keeping our noses out of God’s business……..People created their own little gods, when the Lord didn’t work according to their timetable.  A programme. A plan. A schedule.  All with the illusion of control.  Until disaster hit.”

Our Vision & Values as a Church

One of the beauties of being in the New Frontiers Family is that we are a fellowship of Churches and not a denomination that be identified so often by practice, form and regulation.  What that means for us is that we are unique as a Church, trying to be all that God wants us to be working with the material God gives us, therefore in that sense we will never be like Church in the Peak, Matlock or Christ the King, Brighton or Emmanuel, Oxford; but we will be how God shapes us, with whom He gives us, by the power of His Holy Spirit through the work that Jesus did on the cross.  However, there are things that unite us as a Church with others in the family of Churches.  I wish to affirm some of those things today [see Statements attached].  I know for some of you it seems irrelevant and of no interest to you, but the fact is people come to a Church, any Church with their own set of tradition and values.  Whilst they may not be wrong in themselves they can cause conflict when it comes to moving Church forward. In Church life, there always needs to be a continuity of purpose and mind to enable the work to progress and to move forward.  The bottom line is, we all want the Holy Spirit to move in power in our lives; but there always needs to be that which holds us together as a family, and helps us to see clearly what God wants for us as a Church and individuals.  We feel that our Vision and Values statements help us to do that.

What then for 2018?

Jesus, in Matthew chapter 24 vs 42 to 25 vs 46 gives 5 parables which essentially speak about our behaviour and conduct for the end times.  Whether or not you believe we are in the end times is of no matter because the principles he applies stand for all time. After all Jesus gave clear instruction to the fact that our life and times are his, and we need to live with that always in mind and view.

  1. The nocturnal thief [24:42-44]. We are encouraged to be watchful, God can guide expectant Christians who are open to Him and are ready for anything.
  2. The disorderly servants [24:45-51]. God is looking for those servants He can rely upon and who are willing to take responsibility and live according to His pattern.
  3. The ten virgins [25:1-13]. Jesus is coming- be prepared! Don’t be a stranger to the Holy Spirit. Are you known by Him? Don’t miss out on what God wants to do in your life!  Are you using what God has put in your hand?
  4. The varied talents [25:14-30]. The key to all that is done for God is obedience and faithfulness. Nothing can be achieved, or is worth doing, if those two ingredients are missing.
  5. The sheep and the goats [25:31-46]. Whether I like it or not, I am accountable.  I am free to live my life as I please, but at the end of it all I will have to give an account of my life to the One who gave it in the first place.  The heart of this Christian life is relationship with Jesus Christ, which shows itself in a loving, sacrificial care for others; in particular the poor and needy.  It is this that I particularly want to address today.

[Headings from “The Message of Matthew” by Michael Green]