3 July, 2014 Hugo Charteris
Over the next few weeks a number of people will be leaving Newcastle and our church, which is very sad. We have grown to love each other; will miss the leavers enormously, as they will miss us left behind.
Here’s my response to people leaving:
My first reaction is to groan: mostly because of the friendships, yet also because of the roles I realise will need to be filled. Yet my next reaction is to remember that sending is good, and therefore I must rejoice in it. That is, those leaving this summer will be heading off to churches in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Durham, Manchester, Lancaster, London - and India. Jonny and Lizzy are going to help with a new church plant in Croydon. If we have God’s kingdom in mind, and not just our local expression of it, this is all very good.
I have some more thoughts:
- One is the opportunity that people leaving gives for others to step up. I hope a number of you reading this will, in the coming weeks, volunteer to take on new roles.
- Another is to remember that no one is indispensible. Really, no one! Indeed I take it that God has given us everyone we need to get on with the task he wants us to do.
- Next, just as we’re a church from which people move on, so others join. And that brings the opportunity to build new friendships. So, albeit separation may be very painful, we do end up knowing brothers and sisters in Christ around the country, indeed the world. It is one of the great blessings we have as Christian people.
- Finally we must never think that the work we’re involved in, in our place, is the most important thing going in God’s kingdom. Now I know that immediately sounds ridiculous. Yet frankly it’s an attitude (never stated but implied) I come across all the time. The underlying assumption is that, if it weren’t for us, God’s kingdom would come to a grinding halt. Well, without doubting the significance of any genuine church of God, we must remember that He is sovereign over all things, and will get what he wants done, done.
So to those who are leaving this summer – God bless you! May you continue to grow in Christ, serving him wherever you end up. For those of us staying let’s continue with the mission God has given of reaching out with the gospel, being built up in the gospel, then sending on with the gospel – all for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom.