St Andrew, Glencairn

Glencairn Methodist Church

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July 2012

"Empower Ministry"

The three objectives of the current renewal programme in the Diocese of Connor are Engaging Culture, Effecting Change and Empowering Ministry. In this message I want to look at the third of these.

All Christian Ministry is empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is a must! Christians cannot engage in ministry without the Holy Spirit in their lives. At key times in the life of a Christian, powerful petitions are made to God for this to happen. At Baptism, the priest prays, "Pour out your Holy Spirit ... that those who are baptised may ... continue for ever in Jesus Christ". At Confirmation, the bishop lays hands on the candidate and prays, "Confirm ... with your heavenly grace that he/she may ... daily increase in your Holy Spirit." The Bishop also reminds candidates that "those who are baptised are called to worship and serve God." Further the Bishop asks candidates, "Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?" and "Will you seek and serve Christ in all people?"

"Worship and serve" The worship bit is perhaps not too hard. It does of course require sacrifice of time in regular and frequent attendance at church and in seeking to demonstrate the "Fruit of the Spirit" [see Galatians 6: 22-23] in daily lives and encounters. All of this does require the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. "Proclaiming by word and example the good news" is somewhat harder to do and people often shy away from this in situations outside the church fellowship. St Peter makes it quite clear that this is a calling for all. In 1 Peter 3: 1,15, he writes "All of you ... always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." And then "to seek and serve Christ in all people", well that is perhaps too much for many people to undertake.

But this understandable shyness and reserve on the part of some Christians (and I fear many Anglicans are like this - it is a cultural thing)) is somehow preventing the fullness of the Holy Spirit from working in this lives. It prevents a demonstration of passion, zeal, enthusiasm. St Paul writes, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep you spiritual fervour, serving the lord." [Romans 12;11]

Is your Christian Ministry suffering because of this? Do you need to let the Holy Spirit take more control of your life? You know, you DO have a talent for some form of ministry. Try to discern what this is in discussion with your clergy and others and then offer this as part of the "living sacrifice" of your "souls and bodies" to Christ. [BCP p221]


6th July 2012

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