Ray’s Personal Ministry Values

In his sermon on 23 April 2017, Ray shared his personal mission values with the church.  There has been a considerable amount of positive feedback, so they are reproduced here for all to read.

Core Value 1: ‘God at the Centre’

We can’t survive spiritually on yesterday’s experience of God. At worst ‘tradition’ is yesterday’s experience of God preserved and acted out and at best ‘tradition’ can be a springboard to a fresh experience of God. The ‘ancient paths’ are important but it is important to try ‘fresh paths’. I want St B’s to be a community that is hungry for a fresh experience of God. So often, we do the same thing time and time again and expecting a different result!

Core Value 2: ‘St B’s is an Estate Church’

We are an estate church with an estate mission. We are not all estate people but as members of St B’s we all share in the mission of the church to Quinton and the Welsh House Farm area. We are not members of St B’s just because we like the church but because we commit to share in its mission. We will have many ‘mission frontlines’ but one should be Quinton and Welsh House Farm.

Core Value 3: ‘The Priesthood of All Believers’

I am the vicar of the parish, and Janet & I are both priests, but I believe in the priesthood of all believers. It is a shared ministry at St B’s with a number of people leading and preaching at services (and serving in many other ways). I believe this is good for the church as it releases different gifts and energy and ways of doing things into our church’s life. This results in a variety of way of leading worship and preaching (which is fantastic) but this probably means there will be times when we don’t get exactly what we want from worship. My vision is to express the ‘Priesthood of All Believers’ in worship and the life of the church. St B’s is a church of all ages, backgrounds and gifts. The multifaceted nature of our church should be reflected in the life of the church. We must release the gifts  (and fruits) of the Holy Spirit into the life of St B’s.

Core Value 4: ‘Calling Comes First, Gifting Second.’

God equips the called not calls the equipped. Calling comes first. I believe it is very important to remember this in a mostly working class area where people might feel a strong sense of calling to a ministry but often will feel ill equipped for that ministry. This is exactly how I felt when starting Theological College and jumping from O levels to a degree! We need to be a church where people can grow in a culture of love and acceptance and where we can explore our gifting. Those who are more gifted should not stand in the way of those who are less gifted but have a strong sense of calling. Those who are more gifted should use their gift to train others. Paul wrote this to the church at Corinth: Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Core Value 5: ‘A Broken Church’

I remember reading a book by John Ortberg: ‘Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them’. If I was to write a book (which I won’t!), the title would be: ‘Everybody’s Strong Till You Get to Know Them’. St B’s isn’t a church of the strong and the weak but rather we are all strong or weak at different times (and at the same time). Therefore we should care and be cared for in equal measure.  Paul writes to the church at Galatia: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. It is important that we care for the carers! It is important that in our own need we don’t forget the needs of others.

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