Ps Peter Prothero
22 February 2018
Almost nine years ago we spent a significant amount of time, energy, and money refurbishing the Hub in Chertsey. Our commitment was driven by a vision to see the local area touched with the life of God, revealed in Jesus. We began with youth on a Friday night, adding the Coffee shop and Fun Tots soon after. We were connecting with our community and our church grew.
However, from the beginning we realised something that influenced our choice of name; ‘The Hubʼ would be a centre of ministry, a blessing to our community and a home to our church. Notice I said a home to our church. It is not and has never been our church. I've moved house twenty-seven times, twenty-five of those times with kids in tow. In each place we made it a home. We made it ours, we stamped our style and preferences in every room, but it wasn't us. It reflected us, but it wasn't US.
The Hub has been like this. It continues to be a vital part of what we do to serve our community, but it's too small to serve our church. So eighteen months ago we moved our rammed 11.30 service to Cleves School in Weybridge. Did it cost more? Yes. Did it mean more work packing in and out each week? Yes. Would it have been easier to stay at the Hub? Definitely. But if we had done, we would have hindered our growth.
Instead we have chosen to do what we've always done - let God define the limits of our growth. As long as we grow we will continue to find venues that allow us to contain all that God chooses to send to us. When my kids were growing up, we often had to buy them new shoes - even before the old ones were worn out - they just outgrew them, and it was costly at times. Never did we blame our kids for growing. Never did we try to force their feet into shoes that wouldn't fit. We choose a shoe to fit the foot. Consider these words from Isaiah:
“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.” Isaiah 54:2-3 NKJV
We need a bigger "tent". That's exactly why we are moving our 5pm service to Cleves. We need more room to grow. We want more people to know Jesus and we're prepared to pay the price to make that possible. Our church has always taken steps of faith based on vision - what we see. This is one of those moments. Can I encourage you to get behind this move with your faith, servant heart, enthusiasm and participation.For some people it's going to mean an extra ten minutes driving - not a bad price to pay to potentially see more people coming to faith in Jesus and being built into the life of the church. In the book of Numbers, the people of God had to follow the cloud. When it rested on one place, they made camp. When it moved, they had to pack up everything and move with it.
“So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the LORD they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the LORD they would journey. So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. At the command of the LORD they remained encamped, and at the command of the LORD they journeyed; they kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by the hand of Moses.” Numbers 9:20-23 NKJV
Imagine that. Sometimes they only stayed two days. Sometimes a month. Sometimes a year. They moved day or night! There is a lesson here for us. We are not moving for our sakes. We are doing it to increase the possibility of others experiencing the cloud, God's presence. That is where the glory is. That is where healing is. That is where salvation is.
Jesus has told us to go and make disciples. It's part of our vision. It's why we are here. Join us in this ongoing adventure. Help us get people there by offering to pick people up and take them. Stick around to connect with those who are new or you don't know that well. Let's believe that God will continue to give the increase as we continue to plant and water the good seed in peoples lives (1 Corinthians 3.6-7). There is more. Let's not be the ones who say "enough". Let's be those who go forward believing for more.
Your friend and co-labourer,
Ps Peter Prothero
Senior Pastor - Equippers Church Surrey