If you can’t remember the Falklands war you probably don’t recognise this David Bowie lyric, “Ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange.” He was right about change, everything ahead seems strange, what lies behind seems familiar.
I never got into Bowie, he was always changing and always strange. But I do feel great about the changes we face coming into 2016. It’s like the impending excitement of the change you can feel as you turn the page of a page-turner.
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated 2015. I loved the montage video which Hannah created and you can view it on our Facebook page.
The following week I introduced two changes for 2016 – one is the next practical step of making Headingley our Home. The other was the theme for the year of “Invitation.” And your participation in both is indeed invited! You can read or listen to both those talks by going to the website resources page and clicking on the Taking Stock series.
Another change has been the new term of Small Groups. Some groups stay the same but there are new ones too: Thinking Aloud, Art & Worship and Treasure Hunting. I want to go them all!
Please can you look out for people who are new to the church and point them in the direction of the next Welcome Dinner (1 February) and the next Discovering Vineyard small group (starting on 2 February and meeting in Headingley).
A change we would love to see is the change in people’s lives when they encounter Jesus. Often the first step on that journey is an Invitation from you! On 4 February there will be an Alpha Launch party at Costa Coffee to which you can easily invite friends or neighbours. You’re not inviting them onto the Course, they can decide that later. You’re simply inviting them out for a coffee and cake and a chance to hear about why following Jesus is important to you.
So please ask the Lord to show you who you can invite and then get on the phone, “Hi, you know that this whole thing about following Jesus is really important to me? Can I persuade you with coffee and cake to come and hear a bit about it?” The worst thing that can possibly happen is that they’ll say, “Err, no thanks.” You will still have made an Invitation and, frankly, that’s what matters. It would be, as the young people say, wicked.
Another change - and something definitely strange - was the swap Rev Tim Boocock and I did last Sunday. I preached at the Methodist service and he preached at ours. We both enjoyed it, although it felt strange, and I think it revealed a fantastic change taking place in our partnership.
This week sees the annual National Leaders’ Conference for the Vineyard, Dangerous Dreamers. It is the first conference with John and Debby Wright as National Directors and promises to be a major point of change as it introduces a new chapter in the story of the Vineyard. The Leadership Group and others will be there all week – and you can follow it on line. Most of the talks and worship times will be streamed.
Lots of changes. More in my next blog. In the meantime let’s turn and face the strange with high expectations of what God is going to do in us and through us in 2016!