Richard writes…

“Keeping the main thing, the main thing!”

Of all the meetings in the church’s year, the Annual Meeting is perhaps the hardest sell. If you’ve ever been to an Annual Meeting as a member, whether of a residents’ group, sports club or parents’ association, you’ve probably experienced the extreme dullness of time spent simply trying to “keep things going”. Reading over accounts and persuading someone to stand as “Communications Secretary” doesn’t exactly get the blood pumping!

The Annual Meeting for All Souls is meant to be a very different sort of event.

It’s undoubtedly true that there is certain legal business we have to do together at our gathering. The accounts must be presented, PCC members elected, financial examiners appointed, and the like… but there’s far more to why we meet than simply keeping things going.

The heart of our Annual Meeting is actually about “Keeping the main thing the main thing”. So much in church life demands our attention: rotas to fill and run, a building to clean, grounds to maintain, communication to spread and a bank balance to, well, balance. It’s astonishingly easy in the busyness and pace of west London life, to allow the activity of church life to become the heart of what we’re doing – as if the institution itself were the point and our ‘main thing’ was simply to “keep things going”.

But Easter, with the declaration that “Christ is risen!”, tells us that there’s a point and a purpose to life and living that must be about far more than simply keeping things going. Jesus’s resurrection wasn’t about “more of the same”, but about a radical and joyful breaking of future hope and transformation into the present. Quite the opposite of simply “keeping things going”, now things were never going to be the same.

As a church, we believe that Jesus is alive today, that his life and joy is the “main thing” and that our main purpose – giving people the chance to meet Jesus for themselves today (and being changed by meeting him ourselves) – is the reason we exist.

Our Annual Meeting is a vital moment for us to look back with thankfulness on what Jesus, in his resurrection power, has being doing in and through All Souls through 2017. But it is also, perhaps even more importantly, a moment to reset our sights on the future, to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’ and to ask what the Risen Jesus is calling us to in 2018 and beyond.

We want to talk about our prayer and our life as disciples. We want to talk about our work with teens and children, our ministry among the communities of Ivybridge and our welcome at Little Souls. We want to talk about how we continue to offer the chance to encounter Jesus to those who would never, yet, dream of darkening the doors of church. And we do need to talk about what it will take, in terms of our giving of time, money and energy, to make the most of those opportunities.

If All Souls is the church you call ‘home’, can I ask you to make Thursday 26th April, at 8pm (to 9.30pm) a top priority? I’ll be speaking about our vision for the coming year and leading us in prayer and worship as we commit to keep “the main thing the main thing”: the Risen Jesus, at work among us and working through us to transform God’s world and draw people to Him.