“I can see a place that is saturated in the presence of God. Where people are captivated by His love as they walk across the car park; where they feel like they’re coming home as they walk through the door; where everyone feels a sense of belonging and where the lonely and isolated find their place in the family of God.
I can see a place where the Presence of God brings about conviction of sin, a place with an ethos that says “God loves you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you the way you are.” A place where sinners lay down their burdens and walk away cleansed and set free, healed, restored and forgiven. A place where strongholds in people’s lives are demolished by the powerful hand of God, where habits are broken in Jesus’ name, and cares are lifted off.
I can see a place where young people are not the church of tomorrow, and where old people are not the church of yesterday. A place where everyone has room to grow to develop their God-given gifting, and where ordinary people are inspired and empowered to do exceptional things for an amazing and all-powerful God.
I can see a place where there is a passion for excellence; where the term “Oh it will do” will not do. A place where people are stretched and challenged to be the best that they can be, but at the same time creating an atmosphere of grace and encouragement, where people feel confident to try new things knowing they will be safe if they fail; where growth and grace go hand in hand, and where a commitment to excellence is never confused with professionalism.
I can see a place that is committed to mentorship; where the leaders, movers, shakers, Kingdom builders and world changers of tomorrow begin to develop their giftings here, today. A place where teaching and making coffee, prophecy and offering a warm welcome, life changing worship and sweeping up the floor are all seen as an indispensable part of building God’s house. A placed where there is a commitment to teaching and to teachability, to mentoring and being mentored, to growing and investing in the growth of others.
I can see a place where the real issues of life are tackled head-on; where human frailty and weakness come face to face with an almighty, forgiving and life-changing God. A place where strong relationships are built, so that people are strengthened and supported to lead godly lives through accountability and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I can see a place where miracles are commonplace because there is a bunch of ordinary people putting their hope in an extraordinary God for whom nothing is impossible. A place where people see miracles in their bodies; in their relationships; in the salvation of their families and loved ones; in God’s provision in their finances; in outrageous and faith-filled giving; in deliverance and in freedom for those who have been held captive.
I can see a place where there is a passion to reach out to the poor and the needy. Where resources are channelled into changing lives, communities and nations. A place which reaches out to people who are trapped in poverty and brings them freedom in the name of Jesus by being His hands and His feet; by demonstrating His love in practical ways which restore dignity and establish the principles of the Kingdom of God.
I can see a place that speaks truth in the arena of power and influence. A place where the truth of God’s word and the power of God’s spirit have impact and help to shape the behaviour, policies and actions of governments and industry so that fairness, justice and righteousness will be established at the highest places in society.
I can see a place where there is a commitment to excellence in the teaching and nurturing a hunger for the understanding of God’s Word; a place where the relevance of the Bible is talked about and lived out in God’s people on a daily basis.
I can see a place that has an outward focus; where there is a determination to make the name of Jesus famous in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond. A place where people flock to hear the teaching of God’s word, commit their lives to Him and are changed forever by His love. A place where people are deeply spiritual, entirely supernatural but at the same time are completely normal. A place where people feel embraced, loved and confronted by the presence of God, shining through ordinary people. A place where someone who is here for the first time and someone who is here for the thousandth time can sit side by side and can both understand what’s going on, can both learn something new and can both walk out of those doors different to how they walked in.
I can see a place where there is never a shortage of power to heal; grace to forgive; hands to help; money to buy; or inspiration to do whatever it takes to carry out God’s will and build His Kingdom here.
I can see a people who touch heaven in worship and in doing so bring heaven to earth. A place where, as Jesus is lifted high, He will draw all people to Himself. I can see a place that literally establishes the principles, power and reign of the Kingdom of God right here in this place, in our time.”
Ste Bate, 04/04/2017