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Last Sunday I gave a short introduction to what the content of this Sunday’s service will be. The Leadership Team has asked me to write this piece to say more about it so that you will come to it knowing what is on offer and therefore better prepared to consider it.
First and foremost, of course, our Sunday will focus on worshipping God. This comes before all else. Once the worship team has finished a colleague of mine, Pranaya Chhetri who heads up Tearfund’s work in Nepal, and I will tell the story of how the Church in Nepal is reaching out to its community in practical ways that builds up the Church and also influences the communities of which they are a part. The generic term for the approach is called ‘Church and Community Transformation’ (CCT).
Christians in Nepal are still a minority of about 1.5% of the population of 30 million, which means about 450,000 people. The majority community is Hindu with Buddhists and Animists also in the mix. Their context is challenging. A selection of around 150 out of Nepal’s 6,000 churches are at various stages in adopting the CCT approach. Nepali church leaders have called it ‘Sangsangai’, meaning ‘togetherness’.
What Pranaya and I will do is first set out the background to the country and to the Church in Nepal. Then we will demonstrate how CCT works in a church. This centres on doing bible studies that follow a deliberate pattern. (1) First is to immerse the bible study in prayer. (2) Then through the mediation of a facilitator, everyone in the group contributes their thoughts on the study. (3) Out of this come practical issues, problems or challenges, that need to be solved. (4) The group then agrees to address those issue(s), calling on support from one another in doing so. (5) Then there is a deliberate focus on celebrating for what we have achieved.
Sangsangai, however, is designed to reach the community; it is a church and community transformation process. We study the bible to address challenges we face in our everyday lives. Then it moves on to relationships within our families or with those closest to us. Then on to church related issues, and finally addressing challenges we see facing our community.
The Nepal example shows that this process brings about much fruit. Tearfund has carried out three extensive evaluations in the country. Each confirms that churches that have engaged with it show a greater commitment to Scripture as a result; it brings about changes in attitudes and in the quality of relationships, churches become stronger, as well as being more effective in their engagement with those who do not believe in Jesus around them.
The Leadership Team has allowed me this space on one condition, that it is not just to tell an encouraging story from a distant land, but to tell it with specific reference to our situation. So, throughout the time on Sunday I want you to think about that. Whilst listening, ask yourself: are there aspects of what you are hearing that could be relevant to you, to your family, to Life Church and to Petersfield?
The Leadership Team is providing a channel through which they will hear your reflections. At some point Life Groups will be discussing the content of this presentation and Life Group leaders will feed back your thoughts to the Leadership Team. They will then make a judgement on how to move forward on this, if at all.
I do hope you will find Sunday both interesting and thought-provoking. Do not worry about the format. Pranaya and I will make it simple and hopefully enjoyable. We look forward to seeing you there.
With thanks, Andrew Bulmer.
10.30 - 12:00 a.m. followed by refreshments
The Main Hall at TPS
SUNDAY MEETING AT TPS
CHURCH + BREAKFAST
Our monthly All-Age meeting
at The Petersfield School
A light breakfast from 10.30 a.m. All-Age Meeting, 11.00 a.m. - 12.00