The start of a new year is an opportunity to think about the year ahead. We want to be the kind of church that changes the conversation. This starts with us. In this three-part series to kick-off 2024, we will explore three conversations that need to change. And each of these begin by changing the way we think. As we let
God change how we see ourselves, our church and the world around us, who knows what might happen.
Session 1: Changing The Conversation About Ourselves
Romans – Chapter 12, verses 1-5
Change starts with us. How we see ourselves is an important foundation in changing the conversation. If we think too highly of ourselves, we put ourselves on a pedestal over others which leads to hearts that are full of judgement. If we think too poorly of ourselves, we set others on a pedestal and will lead to a heavy burden that we can’t carry. The good news of Jesus shatters both of these views. Only when we are able to see ourselves ‘rightly’ does it lead to change in how we treat God, ourselves and others in a way that is truly life-giving.
‘The primary exacerbator of burnout isn’t really email, or Instagram, or a constant stream of news alerts. It’s the continuous failure to reach the impossible expectations we’ve set for ourselves.” (Anne Helen Petersen)
Session 2: Changing The Conversation About The Church
Romans – Chapter 12, verses 4-13
Recently, a local man turned up to one of our Sunday morning gatherings because he had been told ‘Go to Riverside, they’ll help you.’ What does it mean to be a church that changes the conversation? Perhaps it means being so transformed ourselves, that we relentlessly work to transform the lives of others. That’s the kind of community that changes everything – were people’s needs are generously met, as they are pointed to the generosity of God.
‘The Church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society, even if they do not belong to the Christian community.’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
‘What I miss about church is being forced to be in community with people that aren’t the same as me.’
(Win Butler, Arcade Fire)
Session 3: Changing The Conversation About Other People
Romans – Chapter 12, verses 14-21
We live in a tribal world, when it is easy to live in our echo chambers. We dismiss people who don’t agree with us, and only need to embrace those who do. And, in our connected world, we find a steady stream of people who agree with us! But, what if the good news of Jesus makes us see people differently? What if we bless those who are against us, and do good to our enemies? What if we try and live honourably and at peace with everyone? That would change the world!
‘The world is to look at the people of God and exclaim “So that is the gospel? I see it now!”’ (Darrel Guder)
‘An inflated estimation of human nature capsizes love for one’s neighbour’ (David Zahl)