Grays Leaders Prayer Report
Thursday 14 April 2011

from David Bareham, with Rosemary Prtichard and Bob Love

Grays Church leaders meet every week to pray and fellowship together. On Thursday 14th April as we were praying, Bob Love shared what God had placed on his heart, and we felt that it was worth noting this so that the wider church in Thurrock can pray about this word.

Bob read out and spoke from a well known passage of scripture, Ephesians 4, which encourages us to work humbly and gently to maintain the unity of the body.

PICT1549He felt that God was saying that we have an opportunity to build on the unity in Thurrock, but that the next stage would be risky and challenging. We are used to applying this Scripture to the local church, but Bob felt that this is about the bigger picture.

Coming into Thurrock from outside, Bob recognises something very special, even unique about what God has been doing here. But we are incomplete – there are many members of the body who do not meet with us at the moment – and we need to seek out those brothers and sisters.

Bob believes that we should seek to identify the different ministry gifts that our Lord has given to the church in Thurrock (vv 11-12).

Who are the people with the ministry of an apostle, evangelist, prophet, pastor or teacher?

We should recognise the gifts that God has placed amongst us, and then encourage the sharing of ministry across the churches. The experience and joy of our unity today will become complete as we equip God’s people for kingdom work, as we grow in faith and understanding, and as we see a new level of the blessing of God upon His church (Psalm 133).

Reflecting together, we recognised the different opportunities that different sorts of churches have. Many churches are seeing growth – praise God – but some of the newer churches are not recognised by the community and the Council in the same way as the traditional denominations, who are trusted as ‘the church’ and have opportunities that other churches do not have. It was noted that with God’s grace and with humility, church leaders can work together for the sake of the Kingdom.

It was felt that we should pray into this and at our next Thurrock Leaders Network meeting (on Thursday 26 May at the Chafford Hundred Community Church offices) pursue this further and see how God is leading us as churches in Thurrock.

God knows the power of unity. In Genesis 11:6 the Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them“ (NIV).

The recognition of gifts, collaboration of churches, and kingdom mission work, could have a massive impact on the church and community in Thurrock. We can do more together than we can individually!

Ephesians 4:1-16 (NIV): Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Psalm 133 (NIV)

Unity1How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

A couple of related scriptures that have come recently to the Rock Thurrock Core Team

Nehemiah 9:38 (NIV)
“In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”

2 Chronicles 30:12 (NIV)
“Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the lord.”

All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord.
Longfellow, Hiawatha