Many of you know that we agreed to join the Senior Leadership Team of Dawlish Christian Fellowship at a time when there was a need for more people to share the burden of responsibility. Along with my wife we agreed to undertake this task to the best of our abilities until others could be found to lead us into the future. Although we would have liked to have seen through our task until the new building had been commissioned, the unanimous expression of support for a way forward, shown at the members meeting will draw to a close our time on the SLT. I feel that in support of this new way forward and the replanting of Dawlish Christian Fellowship as Hope Church the time has come for new things and this will be my last ‘View from Dawlish’. I would like to acknowledge the privilege this has been for me, and thank those of you who have encouraged me with your comments over the last couple of years. It has been my prayer that in some way what has been written may have enabled us as a church to stand together as we were unable to meet in person for some time and we thank God we are now able to resume services, albeit with some precautions still inevitable.
As we all look forward to our replanting as Hope Church we will find we need to express things in a different way. May I mention two related thoughts the new building and its use.
The building itself is just bricks and mortar. While some people build ‘churches’ and invite God to come to make the place into somewhere special that is not how the scriptures would have us think. Yes in the bible the tabernacle and the temple were places where God’s presence came and the priests would meet with him. But God no longer restricts himself to places, it is Christians who are now the church, his body, living stones, 1 Peter 2: 5 (CEV) And now you are living stones that are being used to build a spiritual house. So we are the Church and this means that no building is special. We do not need a special or consecrated place because we ourselves are that place, and wherever or whenever two or three meet, God meets with us, his Church.
The fantastic new building, which God has provided, is for the use of the whole community, it is not primarily for Hope Church, although I pray that we will make good use of it throughout the week. It is my challenge to you that we become more Missional in the way we think. Perhaps when we are approached by someone wishing to hire or just visit the centre we should ask these questions; What would Jesus say to this person? Would Jesus turn someone away? Did Jesus die for this person? Please hear me when I say that there are some things which we should not actively support, but we also need to show these people the love that Jesus has for them, however, we should not go against the tenet of our charitable status as a Christian organisation, there is not a single, simple answer to this question.
What would we say to someone in response to the words of Jesus in John 6: 35-40? (CEV) Jesus replied: I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty. I have told you already that you have seen me and still do not have faith in me. Everything and everyone that the Father has given me will come to me, and I won’t turn any of them away. I didn’t come from heaven to do what I want! I came to do what the Father wants me to do. He sent me, and he wants to make certain that none of the ones he has given me will be lost. Instead, he wants me to raise them to life on the last day. My Father wants everyone who sees the Son to have faith in him and to have eternal life.