During the first COVID-19 lockdown, we began to understand that church life would not and should not return to what it used to be after the pandemic. This period of time gave us an opportunity to slow down, listen to the voice of God and to break away from ideas and ministries which may have served us well in the past but are no longer in sync with the vision and mission of our church.
Two important aspects became clear in our minds:
1) This was A Kairos Moment For EBC
The word 'Kairos' is a Greek, New Testament word meaning ‘the right, appointed time’. For us, this is the right time to make the required changes to ensure that we are a church that is available and that makes a difference in the lives of those in our community and beyond.
2) This was A Pentecost Moment For Our Church
At Pentecost, God moved in a fresh, new way. The Church was born and grew phenomenally, and the believers came to experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that God wants to move in a fresh, new way, similar to that of Pentecost,
which will bring:
An outpouring of the Holy Spirit
Power given to believers for service
The occurrence of the supernatural
People being saved and added to the church
And so, the vision and focus of our church is discipleship and outreach.
In order to achieve this, we have identified four areas that need to be developed:
1) A Greater Openness To The Work And Presence Of The Holy Spirit
Through our Sunday gatherings, teaching and conversations with one another, we should seek to create a sense of expectation, anticipation and openness to the work and presence of the Holy Spirit.
2) A Greater Focus On Prayer
We can do this by continuing to develop the practice of regular prayer in our church:
3) A Greater Focus On Discipleship
In Acts 2, we read that the believers dedicated themselves to the teaching of the apostles.
For our church to grow, we need to have a firm faith foundation and this is achieved through an effective discipleship programme. As such we are seeking to develop two main areas:
Firstly, we will do all that we can to support one another in our personal study and growth of our relationship with God.
Secondly, we desire for everyone to be involved in a Life Group as they are a foundational part of spiritual growth.
4) A Greater Emphasis On Outreach
Acts 2:47 // "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved".
As part of our desire to see people coming to faith in Jesus, we will be taking some steps.
Firstly, we are going to refocus our existing ministries. Whilst all groups have a dimension of fellowship, this should not be the primary reason for their existence. For the next few years, the primary focus of our ministries will either be outreach, discipleship or both.
Secondly, we want to equip and support people who are passionate about starting new areas of ministry that fit with the vision of the church. The next few years will present different needs to those of pre-COVID-19 days. Issues such as unemployment, financial issues, mental illnesses and loneliness will become much more apparent, and we want to cater for that.
Here are some of the new ministries we will be starting:
Courses in response to specific needs (e.g. addictions)
Job application coaching
School and college ministry
The continued development of our Food Bank