“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT

HOPE - Hearing other peoples experienceHope (Hearing Other People’s Experience) has been the current theme of our Sunday mornings as we gather together, because this year has been a year of needing to hold on tightly to the hope we affirm. So many people have been going through difficult circumstances, dealing with loss and grief, and it’s often in these times that people are tempted to retreat. However, what we’ve noticed this year at Kingfisher Tredworth is a growing connectivity to church family and to faith in God. Hospitality has flourished, relationships have deepened, and it’s been so good to hear people stepping up to share their experiences of God in the midst of tough times. Hope is often stirred in us by hearing what God is doing in the lives of others.

I recently heard the question again, ‘Do I need to go to church as a Christian?’ And my answer is, ’Well, it depends what sort of Christian you want to be!’ Of course you can have a personal faith in God and never meet up with other believers, but to follow Jesus takes courage and motivation and that is almost impossible to muster on your own. Full devotion to Him is not an easy call, and you will need the support, prayer, counsel, and hope that you can only really experience part of the family of faith. This is what enables us to be effective witnesses and ambassadors for Christ and to keep us on mission!

Going to church becomes more meaningful when you realise that you are an important part of the church, that we need each other, we need the vitality of fellowship, we need the encouragement of others, and of hearing God’s Word. That’s what builds resilience in us and motivates us to continue pursuing acts of love and good works. This is only really possible in community where we see God’s love in action, where we set aside time to worship Him, and where we discover again and again that He can be trusted to keep His promise.

The headlines around the Church in the UK will tell you that it is in decline, with dwindling congregations and a turning away from God, and it’s true that many people are neglecting to meet together, but it’s been a different story at Kingfisher Tredworth this year. 2023 has seen a 28% increase in attendance compared to the same period in 2022! Primarily it’s not about attendance to a church service, but it is evidence of a growing desire to know Jesus better, to pursue His Kingdom come, and to be part of something greater than just myself.

Despite all the bad news that surrounds us right now, I am feeling so hopeful as we head towards another new year, and I can only encourage you to connect into church life. Come get in an environment where people are sharing their experiences of God and where you can grow in your knowledge of Jesus and His good, pleasing and perfect plans, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.

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