Who are our neighbours in this ministry area? What are their dreams and their concerns about our communities? How can we best welcome and serve them in order to make our communities better places to live? These are some of the questions we will have been exploring in our second Ministry Area service for our ‘Year of Listening’ on Sunday 1st July.
Jesus, of course, famously commanded us to ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’, but also modelled through his earthly ministry a way of loving and serving those around him, creating opportunities for healing, hospitality and reconciliation. Significantly, this loving service extended to both young people — like Jairus’ daughter — and those who are marginalised by our society — like the haemorrhaging woman.
For our churches to grow and develop, we will need to work together to follow Jesus’ example, ministering to those around us through loving service. One helpful question to ask ourselves is this: ‘What difference are we making to our community? If we left overnight, how much would we be missed?’
Outward-focused churches are healthy churches, because they are following Jesus’ example of service. Putting time and energy towards serving others builds us up in our own spiritual lives, helping us to grow in maturity as Christians and learn how to express our faith through every area of our lives.
We are unusual in Cyncoed Ministry Area in a couple of ways. Firstly, we still have a remarkably high proportion of church members who live very locally, either within our parish boundaries, or in some cases only just outside of them. But secondly, we are made up of several different communities which each have their own distinct identity. Cyncoed is different to Llanedeyrn, which is different to Pentwyn and Pontprennau, and we’re still waiting to see how those now living in the new housing around St Edeyrn’s choose to identify themselves.
Because of this, each of our church communities should also have a different feel to it, reflecting the neighbourhood in which it is situated. How can we ensure that our worship is accessible for our neighbours to connect with? How can we have the concerns of the community on our minds as we pray together? How can we make links with other groups and organisations to work together to strengthen our communities?
We have plenty of questions to wrestle with as we think about our future as a Ministry Area, but these questions are important to help us listen together and discern God’s plans for us. Sometimes the practical challenges we are facing can seem overwhelming. But as we continue to focus our vision on God, we pray that in the coming years our faith will be renewed, our love for our neighbours multiplied, and God’s Kingdom extended.
Originally published in the July/August issue of the Ministry Area Magazine.