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  • Writer's pictureJade Zerk

Opportunities to bless and be blessed can be found in unexpected places

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

by Rev. Jade Zerk, Hope Baptist Church, Highbridge

Autumn is upon us, and I wonder how it makes you feel, Brits tend to moan about autumn and miss the summer gone by, a summer they also moaned about!

I took a walk recently and noticed the signs of the season, the grey clouds moving rapidly with the wind, leaves falling off trees, crows replacing seagulls, the comfort of a warm coat. As we embrace a new season, lets do so mindfully. Grateful for Harvest and the seasons past, preparing for Winter.

The theme for this edition is Community Outreach, there are some great things to hear about and even get involved in. I’ll be honest I don’t like the term Outreach, I don’t like many terms we use in church, as with them we tend to compartmentalise and make things other people’s responsibilities, instead of being part of what it means to be a disciple.

The early church emerged because the disciples had scattered into the world – going out into communities and gathering to share news of what God was doing in those spaces, outreach came first and the gathering with believers second. Gathered worship came out of a reflection of what God was doing through the disciples going out and being present in communities.

In fact, go back a step further, Jesus’ ministry was out and about meeting with people as he went, he gathered the disciples as part of this, but it wasn’t just about gathering/feeding disciples. It was about being present in the world God created, reaching out to those others avoided. Jesus found it was the religious people who struggled with this approach, let’s not be like them but rather let’s recognise God goes with us wherever we are and opportunities to bless and be blessed can be found in unexpected places.

As Baptist’s we hold a Declaration of Principle, within which we recognise the priesthood of all believers. N.T Wright shares a bit about this in his explanation that we are God’s Image Bearers -

“God’s people as the royal priesthood, summing up the praises of creation and bring them before God, reflecting the rest of the world before God. When humans look after creation and bringing God’s healing restorative justice to creation in all sorts of different ways, there they are reflecting God into the world.”

As we gather each week to worship can we honestly say we bring the rest of the world before God, are we part of that world? Do we know people in the world, locally? Can we truly intercede?

The beauty of community outreach is that we can simultaneously listen to God’s heart for each person we meet as well as the prayers of each person we meet. Some of the articles are a glimpse of some of community outreach taking place between Churches.

I encourage you to pop along to those still taking place and as you do, pray knowing God goes with you and expect to meet Him already there for even in the beginning “the Spirit of God swept over the face of the waters” Genesis 1:2

In this video, N.T. Wright considers what it means to be an image bearer of God. He suggests that what the book of Genesis and the apostle Paul mean by humans reflecting the image of God is less a static picture and more of a “creative, dynamic” proposition.

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