In November 2017 we heard from the Leadership Team during the Vision Sunday about a redefined and clarified vision for the church family and church building. During this, I highlighted some of the key problems that face our historic building; including the leaky roof, dangerous electrics, and unworkable layout. I painted a picture of what our building might look like if we were able to overcome these issues; including the possibility of an atrium in a classic contemporary style that could offer a lobby area and house a café, which could be open to the 100,000 or so people who work within a 10 minute walk of our site.
Over the last year, I have been working with the architect and key volunteers to secure funding and approvals to complete some of the urgent repairs to the church roof. This work is due to start in Spring 2018, and will be step one of a staged programme of works to restore and repair our church building. As a church family, we have permission to get excited about the sense of momentum that is gathering around the site, and in this, should be prayerfully hopeful that over the coming few years the aspirations and dreams we have talked about for decades might, by God’s grace, become a reality.
We believe that ‘the fullness of life is found in Jesus; we are here to help the people of Bristol to follow Him’. In this coming season, we have 3 key vision areas, which we will be the focus of our investment for the coming season:
‘Encountering Jesus’ in the Scriptures, in prayer, in worship, all the time. Without Jesus we can do nothing and so everything we do flows from our life in him. We need to be walking with Jesus ourselves before we can help other people to walk with him as well. We want to see the city transformed for Jesus, but our prayer is that He would start with us. Off the back of a week of prayer in 2017, we have started Encounter Nights. Here, we seek to come humbly before God and go deeper with him.
‘Redeeming Life’ Inspired by ‘The Emotionally Healthy Church’ by Pete Scazzero, we want to help one another to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy by spurring one another on to pursue the abundant life that Jesus gives. Currently, this predominantly happens in Core groups, however we see this growing to include marriage and parenting courses, support groups for those who are dealing with grief, drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness and debt, which would be open to everyone.
As we live a life of Encountering Jesus and Redeeming Life we will look to how we can ‘Love the City’; our third area of focus. We want to follow Jesus’ example in the gospels and unreservedly share the love of the Father with everyone we meet; helping them to know and follow him. In a city where many struggle with loneliness and hopelessness, encountering Jesus helps us to see that we are part of a bigger story. In a world of transition and turmoil, we have found a home, as family, with Jesus as our rock, our shield, our Saviour and our friend.
We are excited about what the Lord has done with us over the last few years, and look forward with this new momentum and direction to everything that He is going to do through us. We haven’t experienced this as an easy ride, and we don’t expect instant success. We are working in a city centre location with young professionals, families, and older generations, each with differing priorities and work/life patterns. However, we truly believe that as we invest in these areas, introducing people to Jesus and helping them to follow Him, our church family will continue to grow, prosper, and multiply as we see God’s Kingdom come here in Bristol as it is in Heaven.
- Tim Browne