St Wilfrid’s has a wonderful history. For nearly 100 years its members have provided a faithful Christian witness to our community. There has been much change: not only is our building very different to that originally built in the 1920s, how we worship, minister and reach out to Cowplain has moved with the times. Not least, St Wilfrid’s vision and willingness to try new ideas has led to the global phenomenon that is Messy Church.
We believe that God is at work right across Great Britain! Jesus is building His church, and St Wilfrid’s Church here in Cowplain is very much part of it. Church is for all ages and backgrounds; God shows no favouritism. This challenges us to focus on reaching out to our whole community. How is he working in the lives of babies, children, teenagers, working-age adults, the retired, the housebound and the sick?
Called to be Jesus' Disciples who Make Disciples
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said,
‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Matt 28.16-20 NIV
Being a disciple of Jesus means being a follower. It requires us to obey him, to put aside our own desires and wishes and allow him to lead and guide us. Growing as being his disciples is a life-long process. We each need the Holy Spirit to fill us and inspire us day by day. And we need to recognise that we are each called to play our part in his work.
So as his disciples, we are called to make disciples. When we catch that as Christians we are Jesus’ ambassadors and witnesses, we start to see how God uses us to draw others to himself. It’s about loving them and being willing to speak about our faith.
When we are open to the Spirit’s prompting, he can use us to do remarkable things. Yet we are still ourselves, ordinary people. But that ‘word in season’ or offer to pray, that going the extra mile, that invitation to church – when we are willing to act as he calls us, we can be the ones to make a difference in the lives of those around us.
Who are you praying for that God might use you to draw them to himself?
God calls each of us to be worshippers, disciples and witnesses. Together they are the heart of what it means to be a Christian – none make sense without the others. When we truly worship God, we grow in what it means to obey him each day – that’s the heart of being Jesus’ disciple. When we give our lives to him, we can’t fail to want others to know him also – naturally we become witnesses through our words and actions.
Worshippers - Psalm 100.1-2
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Disciples - Matthew 16.24-26
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Witnesses - Acts 1.8
‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.’
St Wilfrid’s Vision
Our vision for St Wilfrid’s is to be the heart of our community.
A community where everyone feels valued, included and part of something bigger than themselves.
And where an ever-growing number of people are living in the sure and certain hope of eternal life, knowing that God loves them and that their life has a purpose.
That’s what it would be like to have Jesus at the heart of Cowplain.
And that’s our vision as St Wilfrid’s, the local Church of England church in Cowplain.
Broken relationships would be restored, addictions would be broken, self-harm would be no more.
We would see a reduction in abuse and homelessness.
And we would see miracles. Laughter and joy would fill our homes and streets as young and old are set free to be the people God has truly made them to be. And Church would mesh seamlessly into the fabric of our society.
This is just a flavour of the responses we got when we asked you – the local church in Cowplain - what it would be like to have Jesus at the heart of our community.
The responses you gave fit into three categories: transforming lives, transforming communities, transforming church. Perhaps the third is a little surprising?
This is not just a pipe dream. When we partner with God – aligning ourselves with his good and perfect will - our dreams become a reality. We see him answering our prayers and lives are changed.
Amongst your responses, there were many simple things that we can all do more of – making eye contact with others, greeting others with a warm smile and words, (if we drive) letting others out at road junctions and offering our space in the queue at supermarkets.
And praying more, being caring and compassionate, less ‘me’ and more ‘we’.
We can all be part of making this happen. Are you ready for it?
'Dare to dream God’s dream'
'Dream dreams that are destined to fail without divine intervention'
Martin Luther King
God has a big vision and calls us to dream big. Jesus wants his Church to grow. He wants Christians in Cowplain to make a bigger splash in our community. But growth is not primarily about numbers; rather it comes back to more people choosing to follow Jesus.
God’s vision for St Wilfrid’s and Messy Church is for a vibrant, growing church. It’s a church full of people of all ages grappling with what it means to be worshippers, disciples and witnesses. It’s full of people choosing to obey Jesus’ commands and willing to take the risk of standing up for him.
As Martin Luther King famously wrote, God has a bigger dream for us than we can humanly achieve. What is impossible for us is possible with God – when it is his will and his vision.
Let’s together seek God that He might show us how he wants us to make a difference. What part does he want each of us to play? Maybe he is calling you to take a step of faith beyond your imagination?