Had a good time at our local New frontiers church yesterday morning speaking about Paul's arrival in Corinth, according to Acts. Then in the evening they came to us to lead our celebration of the work of street pastors in Bromley. So it was a good day of cementing relationships between churches.
This week, I shall be working on introductory material for our series on Matthew to give to the home group leaders on Wednesday.
We're looking at Matthew through the final section - Jesus' commissioning his followers to pass their faith on - in particular reading the gospel as a story about mission, community and discipleship. It is, of course, a story about Jesus, but as with each of the other gospels it's told for a specific purpose to emphasise key aspects of Jesus and his impact.
It seems to me that Matthew is concerned that his readers grasp the connection between relating to Jesus and doing mission, being in community and living a life of discipleship. This might seem pretty obvious but I wonder if we have really grasped it. After all, many people still think evangelism is about persuading people to make a decision to trust Jesus. Maybe. But that's not what Jesus sends us to do according to Matthew 28:16-20. There the emphasis is on discipleship defined as commitment to Jesus (shown in baptism) and obedience to his teaching as a way of living.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Matthew's gospel will shape our life as a community in the coming months. My hope and prayer is that as we draw closer to Jesus, we'll draw closer to one another and more effective in our modelling of the gospel to our neighbours.