Actress Diane Lane says: “It’s always refreshing to step into another time.” Linda and I felt we had stepped into another time as we found ourselves on the water in Milford Sound. The surrounding cliff face that makes big cities look small, and the cleansing waters that stream down like vertical rivers. The analogies of God’s goodness and splendour just kept washing through my mind. How could little us, matter at all when you see such grandeur? It dawned on me that little us have the privilege to enjoy it, again affirming that little us are showered with big love. As we journeyed through the bottom South and through the Catlins (wow) it dawned on me that Heaven must have similar qualities. When God had finished creating the world; we are told “it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Soaking in God’s creation is a great place to reset your focus, getting back to the foundation of your personal call and discovering a new spring in your step. It gave me a bigger view, a bigger faith, a greater sense of anticipation and clinging to possibilities instead of forecasting negative probabilities.
The negative probabilities are showing that our churches, not just Baptist Churches, are struggling in terms of growth and are declining. This is not new to our history, as churches have bounced up and down and some have disappeared. For example, most of the early churches from the New Testament no longer are in existence, but they have transmitted themselves to other places. I grew up where the State Lutheran church (Norway) was on decline and looked like dying; until they had a breakaway group calling themselves the Free Lutheran. They are on the way up and having a move of God in their midst. There is no clever program that will save us; but here is the truth about our future existence if we are to belong, grow and influence:
- We will continue to be missional – at home as well as overseas.
- We will be a worshiping community, called the “Body of Christ” where we value coming together with the Word, Communion and expressions of worship and praying together. •We will anticipate and welcome the Holy Spirit to move personally and congregationally.
My prayer is that we will reset our mission, lift our sights higher, honour Jesus and expect an outpouring of the Holy Spirit