Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:19-20
Is it time to Go?!
Well the answer simply is yes! Jesus last words, famously known as the Great Commission, are the battle cry for Christians to GO with the message of the gospel.
It is a call to action.
And as a church, we have felt a call led to go. To go in to Leatherhead, a place that would give us a greater opportunity to reach the lost and to make disciples.
The book of Acts shows us that it is important to think strategically sometimes. To think about where is the best place to reach out from, to have the most impact with the gospel. Paul travelled from one important city to another because he knew that they were the central hub where people travelled to.
From Antioch, to Derbe, to Philippi, Thessalonica and Ephesus to name a few…
Fetcham is well served with 3 gospel preaching, evangelistically focussed churches. Leatherhead on the other hand is the hub of our area, with a much larger population, yet it isn’t as well resourced. It is the heart of the Mole Valley, and with over 30,0000 people living in and around it (including Fetcham, Ashtead and Bookham), most of whom do not know Jesus as their Lord and saviour. Having prayed and reflected as a church, it seems we have reached the conclusion that it would make sense to move into the town to begin a new work!
So, is it time to go?!
Well, with the current situation, churches aren’t able to meet anywhere, so in one sense ‘going’ is physically impossible right now.
But the wonderful truth is that even before lock-down is lifted, we can begin the process of going.
Speaking of Paul and Barnabas as they were about to set out for their first missionary journey in Acts 13 Luke writes this:
2 While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
If the Apostles had to fast and pray before they began their gospel work how much more then should we?
While some level of Lock-down remains, we may be frustrated by the fact that we are unable to ‘go’ physically as a church in to Leatherhead yet, but our God is not in Lock-down! He is present in Leatherhead, his spirit is powerful to enter every home and every heart, quite without our help! Yet, he delights to use us in his plans and purposes, and one of the ways he does that is by using our prayers.
So I urge you, during this time, to start to pray (and maybe fast) for Leatherhead and the Mole Valley and for us as a church. To ask the Lord to prepare the hearts of those he wants us to reach. To ask him to give us a heart for the lost in Leatherhead and the whole Mole Valley area. To ask him to prepare us and give us great wisdom, courage and excitement to reach the lost and make disciples.
Another quote from my favourite book on prayer:
Christians who gain lasting results for God are those who have prevailed in their pleadings with God before venturing to plead with others. Those who are mightiest in their closets with God are mightier in their efforts with men and women.E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer
Maybe you could grab a map of the area and start praying for some of the roads or specific areas. Imagine, if in a few months time when we start meeting and someone new comes and you ask them where they live, you know the name of the street because you have already been praying for the people who love on it!
Maybe when you are next in town you could pray as you walk or shop, and lift up the people you see- the shop workers, the shoppers, the local businesses- and ask that the Lord might be preparing their hearts to receive him. Imagine, if in a few months time, when you are on welcome, and you recognise someone who you prayed for walk in to the church!
Maybe you could start thinking about how you could begin to engage with the local community in Leatherhead more over the next few months. When things start up again maybe you could join a new sports team or a club/group? Maybe you could get involved in some of the charity and social work that is going on in town? Maybe pick a cafe to go to regularly and get to know the staff (I’m encouraging you to eat cake for the gospel!)? Go and get that haircut you desperately need and get to know your barber. And start praying for those people you meet and engage with with confidence, knowing that though we may be just beginning to get to know them, our God knows each one perfectly already, and has sent his Son to pay for their sin. It is his great work we are joining with, both as we pray, and one day, God-willing, as we do physically ‘go’.
So let’s pray with confidence.
Because God doesn’t just ask us to ‘Go’ he says ‘And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’