One picture has begun to dominate our thoughts more than any other over the past 3 years. This is the picture of a stream. In April 2013 we received a prophecy that would be the start of another change of direction in our lives. That prophecy stated that we would move from where we were and be planted next to a literal stream. We didn’t know at that time that God was going to call us back to Biddulph.
‘That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.’ Psalm 1:3
A little research into Biddulph resulted in us being reminded that the stream that runs through the town is actually the source of the river Trent, one of the longest rivers in the country, and one of only a few that actually flows North.
The image of the stream has kept coming back to us time and time again in so many different forms. It has become the vision for our church and informed our personal and shared values. We are to be a church that constantly seeks the source of the living water. We are to be a church that connects with others to form a river. We are to be a church that blesses the community with life giving water.
Life flowing from God, through his people and into the world.
This image plays itself out in so many different ways, too many to mention in just one blog. One of those ways is a deep conviction that we are to connect with others. A stream on its own can be beautiful but is not very impressive. However, when it connects with others, it becomes a powerful, life-giving river. We believe that, in order for this to be achieved, those connections will need to take us beyond denominational boundaries.
Today, I saw that vision being lived out again. Alongside the other ministers of the other churches in Biddulph, we have committed to regularly meet together, encourage each other, and pray for our town. This morning was one of those days. As we sat with the other ministers, in a lounge in Biddulph, there was a real sense of unity. We didn’t gather as ministers, simply representing our churches, we met as people who are committed to becoming friends and seeking God to make a difference in our community. We come from very varied backgrounds, and our theology would certainly differ, but it was clear that our hearts were burning for the same thing, we desire to see Biddulph transformed by the love of Jesus.
I am exited for our town and our region. These are just a few of the streams that are starting to connect. As we prayed together I sensed a unity that wasn’t false or forced, it was brought about by a desperation to see God’s living water impact our town. Unity doesn’t come about by pretending we agree on everything, it comes from recognising that we need each other, and that our commission is bigger than our differences. Get ready because I believe that the life-giving stream is starting to become a river, and that that river will soon overflow its banks and flood this town.