Ad Clerum 4/13 May 2013
All our Christian heroes were people at work amongst their communities, and I think wecould benefit greatly by following their example and stepping outside in search of thelost. This will need courage, certainly, and there is the risk of rejection or ridicule…..butwe have witnessed Our Lord Jesus Christ deal with both those realities in Holy Week.The entire ministry of Jesus was done on the move, engaging individuals andcommunities where they lived and worked. The churches that have shown sustainedgrowth over many years have been those engaged in traditional door-to-doorevangelism, and those who truly know the families and needs of their people.The second challenge I put to us is this. Should someone come to us and throwthemselves at the mercy of God in real repentance, how would we cope? It is a seriousfailing that many Christians would have no idea how to handle such a person in need. Asa Priest, this should be a normal situation, the leading of another to a new life in Christ,and then guiding them in the path of Christian maturity. Are we always ready to meetan anxious enquirer after salvation?There is a third challenge I lay squarely before you. Are you sufficiently familiar withyour New Testament Scriptures that you would be able to show a would-be convert theverses that will lead that person to Our Lord? The Book of Common Prayer is wonderful,and it is a treasure for our church…..but, the Word made Flesh is found in the pages of Holy Scripture. If your answer to my challenge is “Yes”, then I am pleased; if not, whathave you been doing all these years?I hope that I have been able to shake us up just a little? I urge us all to make thepreaching for Salvation the primary part of our Priestly ministry.
Preaching to feed the Flock of God:
The Apostle Paul rebukes the people of Corinthwhen he says
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as unto spiritual, but as untocarnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with solid food; for to this time ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now were ye able.”
Here is our most difficult balancing act, to move those who have believed away from aconstant visitation of beginnings, into a situation of mature Christian growth, and thatwithout offending any who have come to worship. Part of this process is moving thepreacher himself, for if we are not careful we can find ourselves stuck in a
cycle of preaching. This change of focus will require a thoroughknowledge of our people, and consummate skill in both our preparation and address.What are the things that one would need to address in order to facilitate this‘movement’ from child-like Christianity to a robust life of Faith that is able to withstandthe assaults of the world, the flesh and the devil? Let us explore just a few together:
Developing within our people a rhythm of daily prayer and Bible study, and theemphasis of the importance of a ‘quiet time’ with God. I should imagine youwould have to supply reading material – it is readily available.
The emphasis upon regular worship, and in particular partaking of the Sacramentof Holy Communion. Exposure also to Prayer and Bible Study Groups.
Understanding what Holy Communion is and does for the believer. This wouldinvolve teaching Masses on the Sacraments.
The need, not only for repentance, but for a ‘new creature’ to emerge, free fromold sins.