The Freedom Café Service.
 
Can I start by saying a big 'thank you' to all those who have  helped with the freedom café, either through giving of their time, helping financially or giving prayer support.  Your support in this venture has been very much appreciated. Unfortunately I have decided to put the freedom cafe on the shelf for a while due to a couple of reasons.
 
Firstly, the idea of the freedom café was to try and develop a style of service that would be inclusive and non-threatening to non churchgoers, and for members of the congregations to invite non-Christian friends along to it.  The format of the service I feel has been good in being non-threatening  and inclusive, and has generated plenty of good discussion about faith issues.  Sadly though, this discussion has been with people that already go to church as folk have not brought non-Christian friends along.  
 
Secondly, I decided to move this service to run once a month and to move it to Bromham as this is a benefice initiative, to see whether this would help. In moving it to once a month though, it meant that more of my time was spent organising and trying to develop this service.  But I also found that I was having to do a lot of the practical stuff as well, e.g. setting up and putting stuff away, despite requests for help.
 
I don't want this to come across as being too negative.  The services I feel in general have been fruitful in other ways than perhaps the original intentions.  But I wasn't brought in to the benefice to try and develop another service for Christians.  The freedom café has been a useful venture in gauging where the churches are in relation to outreach and mission and this has been very valuable to me and I hope for you as well
  
The possibilities for effective outreach within the benefice are high and some people are already engaged with this. My heart at this stage of my time working in the benefice is to work more closely with the congregations, to give encouragement but also to gently challenge.  To give you the support that you need to reach out to people outside of the church.  To see you grow in confidence, to do as Jesus commanded his disciples to do in Matthew's gospel,
 
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptise and then in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
 
If Christ's Church is not doing this then what is it doing?
 
A prayer for 2008 is for God to show us what we can do to fulfil that commandment. For this to be a year where we grow in confidence, to realise our potential and do all we can to fulfil it.
 
Blessings, and much love
 
Your community evangelist
 
Martin