It’s been great to see many different groups across HPC planning for our parish mission – Connect 2018 from 17 – 25 March 2018. Lots of ideas, lots of opportunities already planned into this focused week of mission – sharing the good news of Jesus.

First, to say you may well be thinking it all sounds really scary. If so you’re in good company. Christians have always found it scary to speak of Jesus – nothing new there! Second, as we’ve been discovering from our new housegroup material ‘Life on the Frontline’ it’s not about trying to be what we’re not but all about being Jesus people in the ordinary business of life. As Christians we’re children of our heavenly Father – we are the King’s kids – friends with God, citizens of heaven. It’s all about being who we are where God has put us. And He’s put us in touch with any number of people whom He loves but don’t yet recognise Him. We meet them as our family, neighbours, work colleagues, at the gym, through the Bowls Club, Ramblers, WI or whatever we belong to, we see them in the local shop, they deliver our post, mow our lawns, fix our cars. From a warm smile, a heartfelt ‘thank you’, an encouraging comment we begin to build relationships, that God can use, to help people to recognise Him.

It’s really helpful to be intentional about it, perhaps focusing on 2 or 3 people, praying for them, getting to know them better in an ordinary and natural way letting it be known that what really matters to us is Jesus… and seeing what happens.

In turn God will give us opportunities perhaps to say more, perhaps to invite them along to something. That’s where Connect 2018 comes in, lots of different things happening through the week – fun things, easy and relaxed things but with a short time in each when an ordinary Christian will speak about their own faith.

We’ll have a brilliant concert with musicians from All Souls London, a time of family fun with entertainer Bertie Pearce. There’ll be cream teas and jazz evenings, urban jumping and
ten-pin bowling, clothes swaps and games mornings, lots to invite people to and lots of fun. And of course it’s not too late to come up with some more ideas!

In Matthew 28 Jesus makes it clear his disciples are to be those who make disciples but He also tells us that in doing that He will be with us and He has all the power! So scary, yes but Jesus is with us!

And specifically to help us He’s given us friends from All Souls, Eastbourne. Mark Redhouse, their Vicar, will speak at some of the big events but otherwise it will just be ordinary Christians from All Souls for just 2 or 3 minutes talking about Jesus. They had a mission just like this in 2016, another church came and helped them – now they are keen to help us. Were they scared? Yes. Would they do it again? Yes – and they want to do it for us!
And if you’re not sure what to do – well one of their congregation hired out the local Indian restaurant and invited 17 friends to come along and eat and hear about Jesus – they did! So more ideas welcome!

So with just 6 months to go – what can we do?

1. Please pray
– Pray as the week of events is completed
– For Mark and the team from All Souls
– For those 2 or 3 people who you would really want to know about Jesus
– That God would use you to help them to meet Him

2. Please think about your ‘Frontline’ and how you can be intentional in building relationships.

3. Please do something – maybe use Christmas as a first step. Everyone likes singing carols – invite someone along. There’s a Women’s pamper evening as well or why not just invite the neighbours around for mince pies and a drink – if we all did that it would be not far short of 1000 people. No need to do anything more unless you want to – but you’ll have opened a door, welcomed them in and who knows how God will use that.

There will be two meetings before Christmas to meet with Mark Redhouse and some of the All Souls team on Thursdays 2 and 9 November : 1.30 – 3pm or 7.30 – 9pm.

Mark will tell us what happened in their mission week – encourage us in how we can take the next steps in inviting our friends to consider Jesus.