Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Cambridge God Adventure * 80) Ever changing

(*please skip if you have not been following this story).  Always people were coming and going.  Our associate minister and wife, Nigel and Sarah Manges with their first child moved onto Dronfield Baptist Church in Summer 1990. Simon Houghton succeeded him and was inducted into ministry on September 23rd 1990.  I learned so much through the three associate pastors I experienced as team members as they brought their distinctive gifts to help lead the church forward.

At the same time church members were of course coming and going.  The most positive moves were of students who had come to faith and were now moving onto careers all over the country - I continue to hear about church leadership that many of them exercise.  That was a great export.  Sometimes we had to engage in the much more difficult exercise of pruning the church roll of those who no longer shared in our life.  In 1989 we removed at least 25 people in an attempt to be more honest in our statistics which required a great deal of pastoral care and sensitivity.  How difficult it is to keep an accurate list of church family members!

Yet, so much was happening through 1990 as the Stone Yard Centre drew in hundreds of people for all its activities.  We had become a Christian presence on the main street and with joy men and women continued to come to faith in Jesus Christ, Lord of the upside-down kingdom.  Actually, during the year 48 members joined us of whom 25 were baptized.  Each of those baptized had their own story of being found by God and how their witness invigorated (as well as challenged) fellowship life. A. W. Tozer said: 'Give me a new Christian before he has met too many other Christians and heard too many sermons'.  This was raw discipleship.  Tough though many of the challenges were in our commitment to serve the city, the very vision to undertake this revealed Jesus alive and at work in our midst.  It was a thrilling time to be alive in ministry.

Yet, I cannot skate over the crisis that was to face us in Autumn of 1990.  The finances of the centre were still trouble.  A gap remained over  £100, 000 (actually I think  £105,000) even taking into consideration all the loans, promises etc.  this debt stared us in the face.  The Church Members Meeting in September had another crisis to face.

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