The Diamond - Part 1
There’s a lot going on at St George’s, but Our Vision of Sharing Life and Loving Leeds is made up of 4 essential practices- Preaching Jesus, Making Disciples, Serving the City and Sending out Leaders. To put it another way, this is our diamond.
Diamonds are multi-faceted. There’s a lot of diversity and creative activity at St George’s. People are using their God given initiative and starting new things; but everything we do comes under one of these 4 headings (or we shouldn’t be doing it!).
TOUGHER THAN STONE
Diamonds are tough, enduring and persistent; and we’ve been preaching the gospel and making disciples in Leeds since 1838. We’ve been serving the poorest in the city since 1930, when the Crypt opened, and recently we’ve started Spacious Places and the Lighthouse. We are not a flash in the pan! We have been around a long time, and God-willing we are here to stay. We are part of the City’s future, as well as the past.
Diamonds can be tiny, but cut through the hardest of objects. A tiny diamond on the point of a drill cuts through rock. Small is beautiful, and St George’s is made up of dozens of activities and ministries and groups that are small, but very effective- each one preaching Jesus, making disciples, serving and raising leaders; put them all together and we’re like a chandelier, creating a beautiful light in the city, sparkling and shining in the darkness.
Diamonds are valuable; and these four activities are very precious to God; they are what Jesus did: Jesus preached- he announced the arrival of the kingdom of God; Jesus made disciples, teaching the crowds and the 12 in depth; and Jesus served the towns and villages where he and his disciples went- doing good and healing the sick, as God’s power worked through them; and Jesus sent out leaders, the 12, then the 72, and finally sending them out in the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to all nations, starting where they were, in the city of Jerusalem. We see it in the book of Acts, they were ‘Sharing Life, Loving Jerusalem’, and they had a huge impact.
1. Preaching Jesus
In Jesus, God has given us life to share; and he has given us a strategy, so we know how to share it. This is first part of that strategy - to Preach Jesus. We do this by making Jesus known week by week, through excellent contemporary worship and preaching, which is accessible to newcomers, and a warm personal welcome. Through larger events like Contemporary Carols and our Baptismal services, developing a culture that makes inviting others to church easy. Also through a well-run and friendly Alpha course, with generous hospitality and through invitational ministries like Play & Pray (which is filling up!) or the Farsi group; and going into schools and doing assemblies week by week.
Preaching Jesus is something we can all join in with. I’d like to encourage you all, when talking to colleagues or friends and the subject turns to church, or what’s wrong with the world, or terrorism, or anything- talk about Jesus. Recent research (find out more) shows that ordinary people would like to know more about Jesus, and so they want committed Christians to own up to their faith and talk to them!
It’s all about Jesus, the word of God, who was with God at the very beginning, is now risen from the dead- he’s alive- and he’s at work in our world today, everywhere; and so this is where we start, by Preaching Jesus.