-to see spiritual renewal through the transformation of lives inside and outside Avenue by the power of the Spirit and the work of the Gospel. This will result in God’s values in our lives not being contained within the church but flooding out into our neighbourhood, town, city and world.
Our values for a CHANGED life are:
Celebrating God’s presence
Never ending grace
Engaged in prayer
Deepening our understanding of the Bible
Over the last few months of 2018 the church spent some time engaging with the concept of a church marked by the five spiritual gifts found in Ephesians 4, that is Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds/ Pastors and Teachers (APEST). This was done through Sunday morning services, home group discussions and a leadership team retreat in September with the aim of further developing a creative and pioneering culture in the church. In response to this exploration it was decided to spend some time in prayer as a congregation and a leadership team. Out of this period 5 themes or waves were identified:
Wave 1-to increase our diversity
Wave 2- to increasingly use people’s spiritual gifts
Wave 3- to deepen our prayer life
Wave 4-to engage in pioneering and creative mission
Wave 5-to see an increasing fruitfulness in our life together in terms of love
Jim and Andrew met at the end of November to discuss the next step forward and we decided to focus on two ways to help the church engage with these five waves. Firstly, to help the church ‘deepen our prayer life’ we ran a 24/7 Prayer room. Secondly, to help the church ‘engage in pioneering and creative mission’ we had a church retreat on Saturday 29th June 2019 here at Avenue with the focus of discovering peoples spiritual gifts in terms of APEST. At the end of the retreat people were asked if they wish to use their spiritual gifts in the life of the church and if so a database was be formed. During the summer, Jim and Andrew identified five people who were asked to form an APEST group in September 2019 for a term of one year. The first person in this APEST group would have a strong gifting in the Apostolic, the second a strong gifting in the Prophetic, the third a strong gifting as an Evangelist, the fourth a strong gifting as a Shepherd and finally the fifth will have a strong gifting as a Teacher.
This group of five was then tasked to develop one or two of the waves identified during the time of prayer (increasing our diversity, the use of spiritual gifts, the need to deepen our prayer life, to engage in pioneering and creative mission and to see an increasing fruitfulness in terms of love in our life together) from September 2019 through 2-3 events during the next 12 months. To help in this task they had access to a fund to be known as the ‘Peter Berwick Fund’ which had £2,500 in it. The group also had access to the database which had names, contact details and identified each person’s gifting so that they could draw on others to help progress any events.
Andrew met the group at the beginning of September to remind them of the concept of the APEST group. Then met with them in November and finally in June to provide support and accountability.
Andrew then reported back to the leadership team on the progress of the group.
It is hoped that by identifying and then enabling the use of these five spiritual gifts in the congregation, we will further develop a pioneering and creative culture in the life of the church. For the fruitfulness of such a culture will only increase if it is actively engaged with by as many people as possible. The above strategy seeks to do that but also provide accountability and support to enable best practice to flourish.
Andrew and Jim