Dear church family,
What is the route to gaining influence?
I’ve been pondering this recently, and in our reading this coming Sunday morning Jesus says, ‘...whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10.44-45).
The world sees the route to gaining influence is by taking power. But influence gained through power and control don’t really change the world, because it doesn’t really change hearts. Jesus calls his followers to a different approach, to be sacrificially loving the people around us. When we start to serve others, people will begin to look towards us because of the attractiveness of our service and love – then we will have influence! This is real influence because it will be influence given to you by others, not taken by you through power or force.
Jesus modeled this so beautifully, how did he deal with his enemies, did he use his ‘power’ and ‘control’ to force them to change? No, he died for their sins and as he died for them he prayed ‘forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing‘ (Luke 23.34). The way you and I are going to gain influence in this world is the same, through service, love and forgiveness. This week let’s look for ways in which we can serve our neighbours, friends, colleagues, community, and even our enemies, so a door may open to influence them with the greatest news of all!
Over the summer we have been experimenting with an in person evening service that is also streamed live on the St John’s Blackheath youtube channel. Happily, I can report that we are learning loads and will be continuing with this format, so please do join us at 6pm as we take a look at Psalm 25 under the title ‘God’s Guidance’.
Here’s a reminder of the practical guidance for attendance:
- If you feel unwell, please do not attend.
- If you are worried about attending, please feel under no obligation to attend.
- Please bring your own face-mask, to be worn throughout the service.
- There will be no pew Bibles, so please bring your own or use your phone (church wifi details: name St John’s Guest, password Welcome0511).
- There will be no refreshments, but you are welcome to bring your own water bottle and take it away with you.
- It really helps if you arrive early!
- On arrival you will be greeted by the welcome stewards and asked to use the hand sanitiser.
- You will then be asked to register attendance for “track and trace” either manually or by using the QR code (only one person per household needs to do this).
- Then you will be directed to your seat via the one-way system (filling up from the front is a great help).
- Once seated, please limit any movement around the building. Households, please remain together; household hubs can sit together.
- Toilet facilities are available.
- Sadly, we are not yet permitted to sing during the service but there will be live music for prayer and reflection
We are now a step closer to introducing in-person morning services. However, the plan for this Sunday morning is for a single 10am service that will be streamed live from St John’s Church building but this will NOT be open for attendance. The service will be saved on the Youtube channel so you will be able to access it at any time. The service will be followed as normal by virtual refreshments using the Zoom link below.
If everything goes well, we hope to have in-person services the following week and will give you further instructions about this next Friday. If you are a parent or carer with children/youth, you should have received emails from Sophie, Hannah and Matt with regards to plans for the autumn term.
Finally, I have one more exciting announcement to tell you about. As you will be aware we have advertised for a new Administrator/Operations Assistant and I am pleased to inform you that Cathy Livesey will be joining the team on Monday. Please do pray for her and for the transition from Wendy. God is always good and has shown his goodness in appointing Cathy – let us rejoice!
Your brother in Christ,
Don’t forget to join us straight after church for our weekly virtual refreshments. We’d love to see you, catch up & chat.
Meeting ID: 875 8169 6484