I can't shake off the verse from Mark's Gospel:
"And who would pour fresh, new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine will be spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into new wineskins.”
For every church, organisation, business, etc - we are in the days of new! Don't try and fit the dynamics of post-covid into the methods of pre-covid.
The world has changed drastically in so many ways over the last 5/6 months - every church/organisation/business needs to produce new wineskins for the new wine not patch up or make do with the old.
Around 25 years ago I had this concept of 'pastor the nations'. The thinking was that part of the role of the church is not only to pastor those who are connected to our activity but also to be about pastoring a town/city/borough, the region, the nation and nations. The Kingdom of God has dynamics, wisdom, principals and understanding that should be influencing every sphere of society not just those who attend a meeting on a Sunday morning.
To this end I started to get to know those who were the leaders in my own borough (it is always good to start with where you live!) When I had the vision for doing something in the night-time economy it was an easy sell because I knew and worked alongside key people in the local authority, town centre management, etc. They knew me, trusted me and we were on the same page in terms of working for the good of the community.
Since 2007/2008, as the concept of night-time economy work was replicated in other towns and cities, God moved me into the national arena. Over the years I have met with and worked alongside a range of national leaders in government, home office, police, royalty, business, voluntary and church. The concept of pastoring the nation is one that requires connectedness and partnership with others who have a national / international [not local or even regional - I have found they are very different levels of] concept and understanding. The heart always needs to be people and communities - which is what the Kingdom of God excels in!
As with any journey there will be struggles and people, especially those with a smaller concept and vision, will come against you. As I have faithfully followed a national and then international vision people who don't get it have sometimes turned critical and judgemental - trying to block growth and expansion, bogging down the vision with unnecessary detail and potential problems. This hurts (especially when the attacks are personal) but this is when you trust in God, knowing that when you are out of your depth is when God can be God!
So to all you who are called to pastor the nations - keep going! Let's work together! God is way bigger than you or me, any locality or nation anyway - he has a galactic vision and loves it when we grow bigger into his view and heart.
During lockdown Paul is filming some 'Coffee and Chat' videos with people connected to King's Church, Halifax.
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