We started the series by using the analogy of sowing and reaping and how we are hoping to inspire a new level of financial investment to enable us to move into a new season here in The Black Country Church.
“We plough the fields and scatter” was a hymn that I think everyone sang when they were kids up until recent times. It reminds us of Harvest time, and probably takes many of us back to our school days. But, I heard recently that in Jesus’ time, we did not plough and then scatter after all. We actually scattered seed, and then the ploughman, after lunch, pushed or drove his plough to where he saw the seeds lying on the surface. Our aim over the next few weeks is to turn some soil, to stir some thinking and ultimately to gather some significant seed from across the Black Country region that will be scattered with the express purpose of attracting the divine plough, releasing the greatest harvest of souls imaginable.
The seed attracts the plough…the Ploughman looks for where the seeds have been sown…and sends the plough there.
We picked up the narrative by taking you way back into our history to review many of the things that have happened, going back almost 25 years, and the way in which vision and strategy have opened up significant opportunities for investment that led to notable increase in the corporate nature of The Body of Christ in the region . We saw that the spiritual climate in the region has changed over this period, and that none of this happened by accident, ie, it has been intentional and has always followed investment by God’s people.
As we seek to cultivate the spiritual soil or ‘culture’ of our area, we recognise that as the spiritual seasons change, a NEW FIELD can only emerge on the earth when something shifts in the Heavens. It is the over-arching ENVIRONMENT that determines the health of the soil for sustained seasons. Without change ‘up there’, where the spiritual battles are ultimately won, we will see little significant change over time, and we will continue to harvest an OLD FIELD that cannot really produce much more life, not for too much longer.
Even where good seed have been sown……..we need good soil to receive them, and this largely depends on the climate at the time.
We then continued the journey by celebrating all kinds of people who have been part of the movement over the years to tell us their stories and offer their reflections. They told us that the spiritual climate in the region has changed loads over this period of time, and we noted again that whilst it is great to gather, connect and network in various ways and with various events, spaces and activities, it is PEOPLE that we are here for, not activities.
Without doubt, the greatest aspect our the vision is both the quality and the quantity of the relationships that have developed and blossomed over so many years, across the denominations, the boroughs, and now the generations. Jesus is preparing the nets for a huge catch, and He’s doing it with ‘we’ and ‘us’. He has His plough in hand, and I believe the angels are looking on with massive anticipation right now.
It is men and women who change their worlds, not events, and whist it is very often the visible or tangible stuff that we recognise as the sign of change, it will always be people that create the movements for change, whether they are known by many or few. They are well-known where it really counts, in His heart.
The celebration of people moved beyond the congregational world into the third/voluntary organisation sectors and the business world where lots of fabulous people serve out their God-given callings seeking to establish The Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in Heaven. We invited a number of these modern-day heroes of the faith to join their testimonies to His-story here in the Black Country, and we did a very simple calculation of ‘OUR’ collective presence in the marketplace. Pretty impressive really;
We calculated that with just the organisations in the room on a recent gathering, and there are many more who would see themselves as part of ‘us’ but who for various reasons were not there on the night, if we take advantage of their desire to be part of the ‘us’ we keep referring to, then WE, as a collective Body…..;
– Together employ over 700 people in and across the 4 boroughs
– Have a volunteer base of well over 1000 people
– Contribute over £25m to the local economy each year
It is great to recognise these people too, and to intentionally seek to break down the clergy/laiety divide, as men and women like these are also changing their worlds, and we are called to reach the world out there once we’ve sorted ourselves out within our own walls.
Chapter Five – Back to The Present – Part II – Where has your past investment left us?
After pausing with ‘the interval’ where we reminded you again of how the past few chapters were all part of the same narrative, we tried to join up the visible and the invisible, the people and the activities, to highlight how The Lord has been at work bringing us to a greater point of unity as ONE BODY, and that this is ultimately His most potent of weapons for MISSION. By sharing the stories of what is happening around the region right now in the present day, we hoped to give you all a better picture in order that you can thank Jesus with a more informed understanding of how He is building His Church locally.
He has had us more focused on the invisible (relationships/net-working) than the visible (activities/events). The nets are being mended, relationships are flourishing, partnership is an incredibly high value system, and there is great hope. We hoped that this would inspire many of you to invest into seeing this step up a gear or ten too.
This has been our primary purpose over the last 25 years. He called us to mend nets, and you get an idea of the scale He is focused on when you think how long it is taking. We’re being called to get ready. We’re being told to prepare, not for incremental change, but for an unprecedented shift, a move of His Spirit that will overshadow what any of us have seen before, maybe even more.
I have sought to explain that we operate as a network on both a tangible level with visible gatherings and activities and a more invisible and less tangible basis where relationships are valued, sought, developed and maintained. My hope in this was to encourage your investment into these aspects of ‘your Kingdom come’ especially the latter, as it is the bedrock of all that we are as well as what we actually ‘do’.
Please remember, these greater dreams will only be possible as we release the visible from what happens in the invisible.
After sharing with you the many areas that past and existing investment has brought us to, we moved on to seed some of the new dreams and visions that people like you and me are now waiting to release across the region. We highlighted the need for new investment, and that we only need this if we decide as a network that it is the right time to step into this as we do not seek new finances to remain as we are.
These are some of the dreams and the visions that we would love to release and resource into the future to serve and honour our Black Country Church. These are some of the reasons that we believe The Lord asked us to put together this ‘Seeding for Change’ heptalogy, and to seek to gather our seed together to prepare for what is to come.
Let’s be prepared to move forward from the ‘status quo’ and sow for ‘carpe deum’ (Seize The Day!) as I think we all believe deep down that many things need to change and maybe much of that can only be seen by a significant representation of The Body of Christ TOGETHER, and this what we believe The Lord is asking us to seed for.
“Can we release what we have within us to resource the kind of future we could dream for?”.
We hope you make the decision today to take up this opportunity to invest with us…
Click here or return to the email and see what Chapter 7 will bring