What’s your story, and when you tell it – if you ever do – who gets the praise? Only yesterday I was hearing a veteran ministry couple speak of how personally precious they had found regularly looking back and ‘counting your blessings’ to be.
And if that’s a healthy discipline for individuals, it’s also healthy for whole churches. Every church has a story and when we turn our gaze Godward and share our stories as ‘grace-stories’, then God is given the praise He deserves. Rather than ploughing on as if everything has rested upon us, instead we marvel together in genuine wonder at His generosity and provision. Indeed, the apostle Paul couldn’t normally get to the end of his first sentences without praising God for what’s going on in the churches he was writing to.
And that’s what St Helen’s Bishopsgate have done with this short film for their Annual Church Meeting. Take a fairly gloomy Anglican parish church, hidden away amongst the City of London’s offices and tower blocks, then throw in a couple of devastating IRA bomb blasts, and you start to see how remarkable it is that through this church God has stunningly impacted and blessed so many people across the globe. What a God!
And not only can our stories move us to thankfulness, they also urge us to perseverance. I found it really invigorating to hear how a church has sought to be faithful to God over a number of years, simply sticking to the God-given ministry of prayer and the word of God (Acts 6:4). As you watch the video you can’t help but see how at the heart of the church’s ministry is this unashamed conviction that God graciously and powerfully works through his word by his Spirit. And, wonderfully, as the church has done that God has brought gospel growth.
So, what’s your grace story?