Vision and enterprise (16-02-23)
Bible Readings I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem…By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I said to my companions, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. (Nehemiah 2. 11 – 13, 17 – 18)
Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29. 18 King James Bible)
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves. (Proverbs 29. 18 The Message) A Thought Last Friday I found myself standing with friends on a little bridge over a canal just outside Oxford. We commented on the vision and enterprise which had led to the development of this amazing network of inland waterways criss-crossing Britain.
The history of the canal network is varied. Canals have been used for both irrigation and transport in the past. During the Industrial Revolution, men of vision responded to the growing need for commercial transport to link industrial centres with cities and ports by investing in canal building. They had the imagination and daring to bring their vision into a reality. Channels were dug out to link other waterways and locks were introduced to change water levels, a masterpiece of engineering brought into being through strenuous physical toil and hard graft. Canals were a major method of industrial transportation until the railways took over. The canal network has now been repurposed for the most part. Today, canals are popular for recreational boating, bringing a new lease of life not only to the waterways but also bringing new life to isolated waterside hostelries.
In the Bible, we find Nehemiah, another man of vision and enterprise. He had heard that the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins but he had a vision of what they could look like if they were restored. Inspired by this God-given vision, he went to Jerusalem to inspect the broken down walls. Rather than being dispirited by the broken remains, he encouraged those with him to rebuild. He shared the vision, reminded them God was with them, and began ‘this good work’. It was not without difficulty or opposition, but he persevered and succeeded in the restoration work required. There has been repeated destruction and rebuilding down the centuries, but we can still take a stroll round the walls of the old city of Jerusalem today.
The writer of Proverbs tells us that without vision, people perish, they can’t see what God is doing and they stagger around aimlessly. Post-Covid, there has been much rebuilding in businesses and society in general. Working from home seems here to stay with far more work meetings online. This is both time and cost effective. There has been much re-thinking with vision and imagination. The church too faces its own challenges, if it is going to grow and flourish. This is a time to seek God and see what God is doing here in the Walgrave Benefice. It’s time for fresh vision and enterprise, so that our churches are able to continue their Christian witness and ministry effectively in the coming years. Leading Your Church into Growth gives us some appropriate tools for the task ahead, so why pray the LYCIG Prayer now.
The LYCIG Prayer for Growth
God of mission, who alone brings growth to your church, send your Holy Spirit to give vision to our planning, wisdom to our actions, joy to our worship, and power to our witness. Help our churches to grow in numbers, in spiritual commitment to you, and in service of our local community, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The next Peterborough LYCIG Online is on: Fri 10 March (evening) and Sat 11 March (Morning) Fri 24 March (evening) and Sat 25 March (Morning)
Free to all churches in Peterborough Diocese
Enquiries: Course Administrator Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 01604 887049 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leading-your-church-into-growth-online-conference-tickets-483705876297
You are my vision, Rend Collective (a contemporary reworking of a Celtic classic)