On April 1 we will be holding our Annual Assembly at Parkside Community Baptist Church. Over the last few years, it has been wonderful to see how our Assembly gatherings have been transforming into key times of inspiration and intentional discernment of God’s will and purposes, in the context of an active commitment to our core value of being Relationally Committed. We come together, under God, to Shape the Future as we seek to understand and obey His will for us.
My hope in this is that you are encouraged by the growth in your Association of churches and consider joining this important event by coming along or logging into the live stream.
Above all, our gatherings are a response to God’s grace in our lives. Hebrews 10:19-21 reminds us of this grace:
19Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
The passage then goes on to exhort us as people of faith to respond in particular ways to the grace freely given us in Christ. I suggest these have relevance for us as we gather at Assembly:
1. Draw Near Our gatherings help us draw closer to God
22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings….
Our assurance of faith in Jesus brought about by grace leads us to draw near to God. Our assembly gatherings are now firmly grounded in this desire to help you connect with God, to hear his voice and respond to his call. We set time aside during these events to reflect on what God is doing and where he is leading.
2. Hold Fast – Our gatherings help us stay strong in faith
23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Often when we step out in faith, fear, uncertainty and doubt creep in. We ask ourselves “did we make the right decision?”. Assembly is a time to hear how God is moving in our movement, in our vision and in our goals. It is a time to reflect on what we are doing and why we are doing it so we can be refreshed to keep holding tight to what we have been called to together, and to press further into it. We are helped in our faith walk and built up by co-workers in the Gospel.
3. Stir up each other – Our gatherings inspire us to greater things for God
24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another….
The writer of Hebrews knew the importance of us being encouraged by each other as we seek to live out our faith. My dream is that Assembly would be a time of inspiration and of spurring each other on in faith and ministry, and I think each year this becomes more of a reality.
I encourage you to engage with Assembly. We will be focusing on the theme of disciple making as we look at how we may further embed this value and practice across our churches. We will look back and give thanks for all God has done among us in 2016, make decisions about streamlining our constitutional governance, discern God’s leading for a number of people taking up service in key roles in our movement and welcome a new church into affiliation. We’ll look ahead to some of the exciting future opportunities, including the ongoing development of Morling College and the land it is on at Macquarie Park as a ministry hub. And we will pray and worship together in unity as God’s people from across the breadth of our movement.
Can I encourage you not to miss this opportunity to be part of Shaping the Future together!