Saturday, August 01, 2009

Could your church say this?

Found this inspiring statement of dedication the other day, following a recent conference of church leaders from a certain denomination. I've changed the names to make it harder to guess which church it's from. Could it be yours?

WE have gathered in the sacred name of Jesus from every corner of the world. In a spirit of humility we have given time to waiting upon God for his guidance for our own individual and personal lives and also for our sacred responsibilities as Church leaders under God.

We have spent time seeking the will of God in plenary sessions together, in small groups focused upon the Scriptures, and in solitary prayer and meditation. Our subject matter has included the following large themes and topical issues for the whole Church:

– a reaffirmation of the role of the Church, of all members, and not least of Church leaders, in the building of God’s Kingdom here on earth;

– the building up of God’s Kingdom through an ever-deepening commitment to Christ and personal confidence in the power of the gospel;

– working for Kingdom growth through the Church’s numerical growth and through the establishing of Church work and witness in new lands;

– the Church’s God-given role in working for social relief, social justice and human rights on every continent;

– the challenges of financing the Church’s global mission at a time of global recession;

– the challenge of working in Muslim cultures today;

– understanding current societal trends in relation to postmodernism, issues of gender, the younger generation, and our relations with other Christian bodies;

– the ever-urgent need to win and disciple children and whole families for Christ;

– the constant need to prepare the future leaders of the Church on every continent.

Most importantly of all, we have prayed together with earnest and seeking hearts, asking God to reveal to us with new clarity all he is willing to accomplish through us despite our failings, both personal and organisational. We have pleaded for a renewed spirit of humility, surrender and submission to the divine will for us and for the Church.

We have pondered again before the Lord, who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), a vision of the worldwide Church kneeling in repentance, prayer and rededication at the Mercy Seat. We have spoken together of all that this might mean for the Church, seeking new grace, new spiritual power, new divine prompting, and asking for and receiving afresh God’s mercy.

As we keep this vision before us, we give heartfelt thanks to God for his blessing upon his Church. We thank and honour him for souls redeemed, lives transformed, and a growing Church offering selfless service across the world. We praise God for the growing number of countries into which he is leading us. We pray for heavenly resources of wisdom and ability in order to meet the many new challenges and opportunities he is giving. We thank him for his constant provision and sustaining grace.

Also we affirm our conviction that, to be truly useful to God, the Church needs to be pure and free from sin, and that senior leaders must, by grace, be effective role models in this. We feel the urging of the Holy Spirit to examine our own hearts afresh to see if there be any wicked way within us. We want to yield again to the demands of divine love, to return to first things, to cast aside distractions unpleasing to God, and to be in a relation of entire obedience to the Father. We acknowledge our constant need of grace.

We renew our sacred vows and covenants as both members and leaders of the Church, thanking God from our hearts for the privilege of the calling he has placed upon us. We declare again our availability and our readiness, as senior officers, to go anywhere to do anything at any time under God and within the structures of the Church, seeking only the advancement of his Kingdom.

We acknowledge our humanity and weakness, seeking the unique strength that God provides when we are weak and he is strong. We confess our limitedness, knowing that God is all sufficient. We abandon explicitly any desire that has sprung up in our hearts to place self first.We ask for the prayers of our fellow Christians to help us in this renewal of our covenants as soldiers and as leaders, and in so doing we recognise our vulnerability and our personal need of divine help.

In sharing this Spiritual Statement with members everywhere, it is our hope and prayer that it will be received with humble and understanding hearts, and that by the abundant grace of God it will be used to inspire and prompt others to seek with us repentance, with renewed purity and holiness in Christ.

My Personal Recommitment and Rededication
By adding my signature to this Statement, I wish to identify personally with the spirit of repentance, humility and availability shown by my comrade Church leaders gathered in conference with me in London. With renewed confidence in God, I pledge myself afresh to these shared goals of personal holiness and of seeking to do only his will in all things.

I would love for General Synod, indeed pretty much any Anglican body, to come up with something as God-focused and rich as this. Who knows, miracles do happen. In the meantime, here's where I got it from, if you've not already worked it out.


  1. David, I wonder if by rewriting it, you've changed its meaning. Not only does the original never use the word Church, but other than a mention of "other Christian bodies" which lumps them in with postmodernism, issues of gender and younger people as social trends to be understood, they don't seems to have a vision of working outside their own structures at all.

  2. Fair point, but if you don't have a vision for the work you do within your own structures, then you probably shouldn't exist in the first place. I was struck particularly by how unapologetically focused on God and his kingdom it was, and what it said about the way its leaders spent their time together. I guess the Lambeth conference is a fairer comparison than General Synod, which would come off very poorly by comparison!

  3. Yes. I can truly say that this statement was written by General Shaw Clifton of The Salvation Army; the conference was held July in London, Eng.
    Ray B.

  4. You can see the legal training coming through, Shaw Clifton was a law graduate before entering the ministry. It gives a clarity of use of english, and an accuracy in the use of terms such as "covenant"

    Mark W
    (yes, I am a salvationist!)