***Please save the date! Saturday 31st August is the date for the service of induction of Revd Mark Woodhouse at Derriford URC. Further details and timings will be announced next month.***
The Elders are delighted to report that they have met with a potential Minister for Derriford URC, who is coming to preach with a view on the weekend of 27/28th April. Further details of the opportunities to meet the candidate will be issued soon. Please continue to hold this important weekend in your prayers, asking that God’s blessing will be upon all the proceedings. Rob Weston will continue as the Interim Minister until any new Minister arrives.
Growing the Church…
In 2014 the Church Growth Research Programme published a report, having studied churches across the United Kingdom that are growing. The research had been thoroughly carried out and the findings analysed – some of the findings may come as no surprise to you, others may be a complete surprise. They concluded that, while there is no single recipe, there are common ingredients strongly associated with growth in churches of any size, place or context:
- Good leadership
- A clear mission and purpose
- A willingness to self-reflect, to change and adapt according to
- Involvement of all church members
- Being intentional in prioritising growth
- Being intentional in
chosenstyle of worship
- Being intentional in nurturing disciples
As I look through this list, I am encouraged that many of these ingredients are evident at Derriford United Reformed Church. When I preached in February I was delighted to be inundated by ideas on how the church might reach out to the community and engage in new mission opportunities. I believe you are a people of faith, with great ideas; and as we discern the way forward, I pray that we will see the church grow in holiness, unity, effectiveness and numbers.
You may like to use this prayer for growth that we have used in our worship recently:
God our Creator and Redeemer,
help your church to grow in holiness,
unity, effectiveness and numbers.
Draw us closer to you
and those around us.
Give us enthusiasm in our faith,
and wisdom in sharing it
with young and old.
Open our eyes to new opportunities,
our lips to speak of you,
and our hearts to welcome
Grow your kingdom in us
and in the world,
in the name of Jesus and
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
When was the last time you were excited about something? Did you tell someone about it? When we hear great stories or things that stir our hearts with excitement, we have to share them.
In Luke chapter 2, verses 8-20, we see this to be true for the shepherds in Bethlehem. They were considered by many to be the lowest of the low in their society and spent their days with animals. What’s so amazing about Jesus’ birth is that God chose to share the birth of His Son with these lowly shepherds first! What’s even more amazing is the response by the shepherds. They simply had to share the good news they heard. They had to talk about this amazing hope that was now available to the world!
Hope is contagious. When we’re promised great things, we’re filled with expectation that something incredible is going to happen. True hope cannot be stopped, and it cannot be contained.
Jesus came to earth to conquer death and allow us to have a relationship with God again. Jesus gives us hope. This is good news we cannot keep to ourselves. In our schools, in our workplaces, and in our friendship groups, we know that some people are hurting and desperate for hope. Just like the shepherds, we can share our hope by sharing what Jesus has done for us.
I’ve been so encouraged in recent weeks, to hear of so many answered prayers here at Derriford Church, so many pictures of new growth and a new start. Some people have shared a picture of shoots just poking through the ground, like the bulbs in the garden that are just breaking the surface in our gardens. Some people have shared a picture of a sheepfold, surrounded by sheep that are making their way into the sheepfold. The spirit appears to be showing us that just like the shepherds on the hillside, we should be excited, for God has something special to show us this Christmas…. and I look forward to finding out more about what God is doing at Derriford Church in the coming weeks.
Rev Robert Weston
“It is doubtless stating the obvious to say that living the Christian life and walking the path of discipleship is not easy. We can become distracted, preoccupied, disheartened, diverted by all sorts of things. This can affect all of us, but some folk have more to contend with than others. But several people have spoken very clearly on this recently, reminding us that what we can’t do in our own strength we can do by fixing our eyes on Jesus and drawing on His endless resources. We’ve heard about letting our lives be powered and driven by faith; being open to transformation; and accepting God’s boundless grace.
We know God uses the weak to confound the strong (1Cor. 1:27) and the unlikely to turn the world upside down. Jesus chooses each of us and appoints us to go and bear fruit (John 15:16) but He doesn’t call us to do it alone. Paul tells us that we are all parts of the one Body, with Christ as our Head, working together in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our verse for this year at church says, ” Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live a life of love.” (Eph.5:1) That is the way to stay on the path of Christian discipleship.
Over this period of vacancy at Derriford, I believe we have worked together and looked to God for strength and guidance, and have indeed grown. As Geoff and Linda spend time with us this weekend, may they feel welcomed into our family and encouraged by what God is doing in and through us, in the church and out in the community.”
– Carrie Bowman
Last Sunday, we were challenged to be bold and speak up to others about our faith; we should stop being pirates in hiding the treasure of the gospel from others, rather take every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. I wonder how many people we have spoken to this week about Jesus – how have we responded to Jesus’ commission for his followers to ‘ Go to all people everywhere and make them my disciples’. We can sometimes be reluctant to share our faith with others, keep it hidden and quiet – but Jesus wants us to be his disciples and teach others about Him; He has promised to be with us as we do this – for always.
– Karen Grimshaw