God is Enough
the alpha and omega of church
I have come to know Bishop Matt Brain since his move to Bendigo three years ago and have developed great respect for his Christ-like leadership for the Diocese. I am challenged by his humble demeanour and all-embracing care and concern for everyone he meets. As I read God is Enough, I could sense his passion for us to place our full dependance on God as we move forward as a Church in these days, and to nurture one another in that knowledge.
It is a natural impulse for me to want to fix things that go wrong, or to find a solution to a challenging situation. So, it is a discipline for me to be patient – to stop, listen and take a measured approach. In addressing some of the challenges the Church faces – a decline in acceptance and changing technology and social behaviour – Christians might naturally lose heart and become discouraged. Or we might seek to devise ways to become more attractive and acceptable only to become more isolated and worn out as we do so.
Bishop Matt, in Part A of this book, encourages readers to see that we have the ultimate resource – God himself: the provider of the gifts we need and the founder of a community (the Church) bound together in love, which has the capacity to demonstrate the character of Jesus and influence others by the way we live. We are shown some of the common pitfalls congregations face as they work through daily life together and we’re presented with some descriptions of why we may have hope as congregations, churches, and the Church.
We are reminded that, as disciples of Jesus, we have been given gifts to work and grow together as a church community, and that we can help each other identify what the gifts are and how to use them. We are shown that is not our style of worship on Sunday that will attract others, but the way we live our lives throughout each week. Using a marketing approach to tempt people to visit and stay could be a trap. We are God’s ‘sent ones’ and are to look for opportunities to grow alongside people in relationship.
In Part B of the book, we are given ten examples to encourage us in carrying out God’s mission. In particular, the first example spoke to me – ‘God is the God of the upside-down kingdom’. The usual pattern is where people dominate through their own strength. By sending the Spirit, God releases in us the power that we cannot summon for ourselves, which provides the strength and means to follow his calling.
I trust that as you read, you too will see more clearly which part of God’s mission you can fulfil, knowing God provides what you need to do so.