Today we revisit the strength of taking a partnership approach, as we continue to examine love as one of our core values. Those of us who attended last Sunday evening’s celebration service at Slough, when the local cluster of Baptist churches in Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead met to worship together, heard our regional minister Joth Hunt speak on the subject. Looking at the Apostle Paul’s relationships with his co-workers as outlined in Colossians 4:7-11, he unpacked how our partnership or togetherness as Christians is strengthened by (i) the power of team, as we work together rather than in isolation; (ii) the power of news, as we share our triumphs and trials; (iii) the power of encouragement as we draw alongside each other, and (iv) the power of prayer, as we bring each other’s needs and situations to God. You can hear Joth’s full message by visiting http://www.sloughbaptistchurch.org.uk/churchbuilder/medialib.php?id=756 .
For over 400 years, the Baptist church in Britain has not only recognised the value of each individual gathered community of believers, but has also promoted mutual interdependence with our brothers and sisters in other congregations. You can read much more on the Baptist Union website, which gives interesting information on our Baptist history, and also explains the values and practices which help to make us who we are, and which alongside our own church values and practices help to identify the role which God is calling us to play in the wider Church – http://www.baptist.org.uk/ .
Of course, in addition to the relationships that we have with other Baptist churches, we recognise that we are part of the wider Church community across other Christian denominations, and so our partnerships with other churches in Windsor through the work of Churches Together in Windsor and of Windsor Christian Action are equally important.
These mutual partnerships are vital in church life, expressing as they do the covenant love and sacrificial service which God calls his people to show both inside and outside the church. Whether it’s working on one of the many teams in our own congregation; enjoying the fellowship of cluster services; joining with neighbouring churches in running holiday clubs or night shelters; supporting our link missionaries, or any number of other initiatives and callings, our primary purpose is to worship God together in fellowship, because it is through our loving concern for His people that the world recognises us as His disciples and His kingdom grows.
Let me encourage you today that each one of us is vital in this work. Never underestimate what God is calling you to do, no matter how small it seems, and take up the challenge of this shared ministry as you find your role in the body of Christ here in this church and community.
With my love and prayers