‘What does God want for Cambray?’
This was the opening question posed at our recent Pastors & Deacons Away Day. Marcus Honeysett, our invited guest to help Cambray through a review process, was quick to assess our shared understanding as a Cambray leadership team. We soon established that we are very committed about: ‘Encouraging and equipping everyone to become fully committed everyday followers of Jesus’.
However, although that may be our agreed strapline, there needs to be lots of work done regarding the specifics. Our shared experience is that although we provide a wide range of church programmes, we are actually much weaker when it comes to growing strong and active disciples who are confident to disciple other Christians and take on leadership responsibilities.
So here are a few aspects from our leadership Away Day, to give you a flavour of the matters we discussed, and to enable you to also consider them.
1) What leadership questions do we need to ask?
Marcus forced us to be specific about the pertinent questions we sense God wants us to address, in order to be the disciples and church He wants us to be in 5 years or 10 years’ time. The answers will focus our decision making and influence key areas such as:
* What sort of leadership will we need?
* What structures will be necessary?
* What premises will enable mission and discipleship?
* What money will be necessary to make these things happen?
The future direction of Cambray church life must be shaped by every disciple committed to see the purposes of Christ worked out. Examples of mission and church growth prove that when churches shift from maintenance mode to a greater intentionality for making disciples, it releases the gifts for serving ministry to everyone (and not just the paid-staff team), but at cost.
2) How do we help everyone to catch the disciple-making vision?
Admittedly, we have made belonging to Cambray church life rather like an optional-extra. It is great if people join us, become Christians, get baptised, even become church members… however, too often we implicitly convey the message that being a Christian involves mainly church attendance. We are guilty of selling the discipleship message of Jesus much shorter than Jesus does! One phrase Marcus used repeatedly is the danger of churches like Cambray providing a chaplaincy for Christians, rather than training disciples for active daily Christian service.
So as a leadership team, we were encouraged to consider all the ‘entry points’ into Cambray church life, where we could explicitly focus our intentionality to stress our main aim is to make and grow disciples:
* Whether at Sunday services as newcomers join, or
* Special events where we explain more of church life activities and expectations, or
* Interviews for church membership, or
* The intentional message about following Jesus that we communicate to our children and young people who grow up in the church family.
Our hope, via this review process, is that every member of the Cambray church family will be able to commit to our shared goal of Christian service being about making strong (reproducing) disciples of Jesus. Hopefully, very soon everyone would be able to articulate the agreed 5 year goal of our commitment and direction to that end.
3) So what needs to change and how do discipleship shifts happen?
If we are content with our present life and arrangements, then nothing needs to change! However our record of equipping Christian women and men to be confident disciples is not as effective as it should be. So how can we create more intentional discipleship communities which will impact individuals, families and activities?
Marcus emphasised our need as a church to create SPACE and to stop treading water in some areas, so that gospel-centred change can be enabled. There are also leadership implications, to ensure we are not simply ‘caretakers’ of God’s work in the local church, rather ‘leaders’ of Christ-centred change.
As a leadership we identified several areas that potentially thwart discipleship change at Cambray: successful activities going on; fear of criticism; desire not to offend; fear of the unknown, caution about leading versus representing others, etc.
I hope that gives you plenty to think about! As a leadership team, we realised how quickly our joy in the Lord can dissipate, as more structural governance/ busy lives dominate. That is our challenge to rectify quickly, so that all our service arises from the joy of belonging to the Lord Jesus who is the source of all joy and purpose. He who has called us is faithful and He will equip us.
Thanking you for your continued prayerful support for us as Pastors and Deacons,
FOR YOUR DIARY
We will continue to explore these and many other aspects on our Away Day on Saturday 7th May, with Marcus Honeysett speaking, to which we hope as many as possible will be able to attend.