Posted by - Julian Mann, July 2012COMMUNICATING WITH OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
Imagine a military base were located in our local community. Some may not relish that, others of us would. But imagine the base decided it wanted to communicate with us as a local community.
So it produced a magazine to be distributed to every home in Oughtibridge, Worrall and Wharncliffe Side.
What would you expect to read in it?
Surely articles about the activities of the personnel on the base and given that they are wanting to connect with us a community one would expect to learn about the involvement of their personnel locally, eg visiting schools, speaking to community groups etc.
Now the church is not the army, you may be relieved to hear (though Christians are called to be spiritual soldiers for Christ). Nonetheless, the analogy does apply. We are a group within the community and we have a distinctive ethos to uphold and a mission to fulfill.
Our calling as the parish church is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in this community. The church does Christianity! Or it should do. Christian people should not be ashamed of the gospel message, for, as the Apostle Paul taught, 'it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes' (Romans 1v16).
So, as part of our service to the three villages of this parish, we are planning to produce another full-colour parish-wide magazine in September. God willing, it is to be distributed free of charge to every home in the parish. We are a small church family so producing and distributing a parish-wide magazine is a challenge, but one that should be joyfully undertaken.
It is a privilege to be able to serve our local community.
I am very thankful to God for those members of the church family who contributed articles, photographs and worked hard to produce our summer magazine and our Christmas newsletter last year. They looked lively and they rightly proclaimed the Christian message and told stories about the Christian family here.
If people want to read about secular activities, services and enterprises, there are good non-religious publications that well serve our local community. We have limited space in our magazine so we need to be using every inch to get our distinctive message and ethos across.
But it is also important to be clear that the gospel is a message that takes root in people and transforms lives. So our magazine should feature the Christian people who belong to the parish church and tell stories of their involvement, service and engagement with our local community.
The gospel message and its transforming effect on people's lives are not going to be popular with everyone. But the love of Christ compels us to share the good news of Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of all who believe and who rose again as the eternal conqueror of death. To him be the glory.
July AD 2012