RURAL CHURCHPLANTERS FORUM IN CONJUNCTION WITH FRESH EXPRESSIONS
Making and growing disciples
in the countryside 4-5 May 2011, Bawtree Hall
• You have planted or are seeking to plant a fresh expression of church in a rural area
• You long to see new people becoming disciples of Jesus in the countryside
• You want to keep growing in faith and love yourself
• You want to learn and pray with other rural pioneers
If these things are true of you, “making and growing disciples in the countryside” is for you – not just a conference but a gathering for learning from each other, story-telling, and prayer.
Our learning will be facilitated by Graham Cray (leader of national Fresh Expressions), Sally Gaze (author of Mission Shaped and Rural and leader of the Tas Valley Cell Church) and other members of the Rural Churchplanters forum. Our hosts will be Pete and Kath Atkins (leaders of the Threshold family of churches in rural Lincolnshire).
If you would like to receive an invitation to this gathering, please contact Sally Gaze (firstname.lastname@example.org
) with some brief details of the Fresh Expression of church which you are involved with or hoping to start.
Rural 8 www. countryway. org. uk
The plural of ‘person’ is ‘people’ – that’s what I was taught at school. And then I was puzzled to find that a crime could be committed by ‘a person or persons unknown’ – persons? And then I came across references to the ‘peoples’ of the earth – peoples? Obviously this was more complicated than they were letting on…
Yes, it is more complicated. A person is generally an individual, whereas a people is not just a collection of individuals but a community, bound by nationality or some other common feature.
The people perspective has held sway for most of human history. We are unusual in that currently it is the individual as the unit that matters. The Bible talks about the People of God, or the Body of Christ as a unit. The journey of faith is not one that we are intended to take alone.
Ancient Israel saw itself as ‘a people’. What is more it saw itself as ‘the People of God’, whom God had made ‘a people for his own possession’.
The relationship in the great covenants made between God and Israel were made with, or had implications for ‘the people’. In the Hebrew of the Bible, ‘people’ (Hebrew ‘am’) is singular – they are one people. Within that entity, there were tribes, clans and families. The individual took his or her identity from their place in that wider community. And because the community stood in relation to God, the whole people had a common responsibility for the exercise of justice, the guardianship of morality, and the care of those who fell into poverty or trouble.
When they gathered as the People of God to celebrate and offer sacrifices, they were to ensure that no-one was left out – not widows or orphans, not landless people, and not foreigners. Again and again comes the instruction to ensure that the whole community
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