This month I have attended 2 events aimed at bringing new life and regeneration to town and city centres.
On behalf of Street Angels – CNI Network at the first I had a display in the exhibition area and at the second a 20 minute presentation. It was great to share about our work, the difference this Christian organisation has made in 120 communities across the UK and to challenge people to consider the church and Christian projects when looking at making our towns and cities better places.
At the first conference I met no other Christians or Christian organisations (certainly none mentioned it when speaking with me), thankfully at the second there were a few more Christians who passionately believed that our faith should motivate us to partner with others for a better society.
The question I asked myself and God was, “where is the church?” Are we too wrapped up in our Christian bubble to notice that God is at work in a wide range of people and agencies who are passionate to see good things happen in the wider community?
I find that people outside of the church are not put off by our faith – they are not against us but want to work with us because they recognise we have something good to bring to the table. Of course Jesus hinted at this in Mark chapter 9:
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
Can I encourage you – become part of the big picture! Seek what God is doing through people outside of the Christian faith in your local area (or follow them on Twitter and Like what they do on Facebook) and then ask them if you can help them (not take over but come alongside!)
God’s Kingdom reaches every person and every corner of our world (on-line and off line) – God partners with people to bring his Kingdom – part of that is improved, vibrant and prosperous communities! There is nowhere God isn’t – let us reflect that as part of our Christian life…
I finish with a thought from someone at the second conference:
Several times I was moved close to tears with a deep emotion welling-up inside me. I recognised the feeling. I’ve felt it before. For a moment I wondered what it was, because last time I’d felt it was in a Christian meeting. I was aware of maybe four or five Christians at the conference today – though, of course, there may have been more, but I wouldn’t know. But they were mainly secular initiatives and I guess mainly ‘not Christian’ people. So what was that familiar feeling I felt so strongly today? Then I remembered what it was. It was a inner witness to the presence of the kingdom of God!
God’s at work out there people!