My excitement at going to church reached new levels this morning! I have spent the last month thinking through the whole issue of discipleship and have focused on how we make disciples and how we create a culture of discipleship in church. The sermon that the minister gave this morning was entitled, "Building a Culture of Discipleship." His opening sentence was, "Jesus is here to make disciples who make disciples." I sensed God's blessing and encouragement through this message.
Church: Whiteinch Church of Scotland
Date: February 3 2013
Service: Morning Service
Congregational Make-Up: Whiteinch Church is a small family fellowship (approx. 55 members) that is clearly making inroads into its local community.
Central Feature(s): Whiteinch Church of Scotland has a strong charismatic undergirding to what takes place in worship. There is a real sense of immediacy in the worship - "God is here...here to bless...here to heal...here to save..." The ministry team were present at the end to pray for people to strengthen that conviction. Although it is a small church they are led by passionate worshippers. A woman (and some children) had banners waving as an expression of worship. During the service testimonies were shared as to the way God had led the church. For example, they have been able to open a “Christians Against Poverty” (CAP) Centre in spite of having little money four months ago.
The service takes place in "The Whiteinch Centre." As I left the building the cafe at the front of the centre was busy with local people. I thought it was significant that here is a community of Christians meeting to worship in close proximity to their friends and neighbours. This is what the church should be about!
Stand-Out Moment: After a time of worship a woman led the church in prayer. There was strong sense of the heart that this group of believers has for the community of Whiteinch. The church prayed for God to bless businesses, the schools, and the people of the area.
Conclusion: As I look back over the last four weeks I feel that I am a very privileged person. I have met some good people, appreciated worshipping in a number of church traditions and have had the opportunity to study central issues of church life. The minister's main teaching points this morning from Mark 1:21-2:12 were:
Intimacy with the Father is essential.
Jesus is full of compassion and willing and able to heal.
Jesus is the man in charge of all things.
Taking those thoughts into a new season of ministry would be a very good starting point...