While at university (a little while ago now!) my husband shared a house with some other Christian guys. Perhaps unusually – but encouragingly - they are all still following God. One of them (Rich) leads a church which aims, like ECB, to have a positive impact on the community around it. His church runs a number of initiatives including a community centre. He recently spoke of an important ‘health check’ that needs to be regularly carried out in respect of the work they do. He was challenged to ask the question – ‘do these projects have the life of Jesus in them?’
During our current sermon series we are looking at hospitality including a focus on the ministry and outreach that ECB is involved in, and our prayer is the same – that what we do would have life and lead others to Life in Jesus.
So far we have heard about the missional house and Cherish. The church is also well known, particularly amongst the parents and carers in Bure Park, for its café which enables the church to be open and welcoming to the community during the week.. Personally I had never been to the café until I had our daughter, when it became something of a life-saver – providing somewhere to go and friendly faces when I was not used to being at home full time but to 13 years of working in an office with plenty of chat!
I have been challenged about the importance of saying thank you to the staff and volunteers in the café, of praying for them to be encouraged and strengthened, and filled afresh with the Holy Spirit. To pray for there to be frequent, but not forced, ‘God-conversations’ with those using the café, and an atmosphere that is tangibly different from other places where parents take their children in Bicester due to the presence of God.
We were reminded earlier in the month in Clive’s sermon that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2 v10. Your good works may or may not involve a church ministry. They may be your employment, or caring for your family or all three. None the less, as members of ECB, it is helpful to remember that we can all be involved, be it directly, for example as someone living in the missional house, helping to run Cherish, or volunteering in the café; or indirectly, giving support financially or through prayer and encouragement.