Annual Vision 2018

Every year at St Mark's we have an annual vision that gives focus and challenge to all we do. Over the past few years we have focussed on sharing the Christian hope, living courageously for Christ, and being ALL IN for His cause. This year, after much prayer and discussion throughout the whole church, the overwhelming feeling was that God is calling us to dig even deeper into what it means to be ALL IN, guided by these amazing verses from the book of Romans: 
 
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Specifically, we believe God is calling us to even greater things in 2 specific areas: 
 
  • Offering our bodies to God as LIVING SACRIFICES
  • Being TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our MINDS
We will be focusing on how we outwardly offer our bodies sacrificially to God as we worship him in all parts of our lives from our work to our relationships to our recreation. We know that we are equipped to do this as, inwardly, our minds are transformed by God’s word in the Bible and his Spirit instead of being conformed to the world around us.

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How can I engage with this vision?
Looking forward, some great first steps for engaging with the vision personally would be:
 
  • Listen to Paul & Christine introduce the vision.
  • Hear a new member of St Mark's tell his journey from atheism to faith in Christ, and the part St Mark's has played in that journey.
  • To catch up on our foundation sermon series in Romans 12-13 and start thinking about how to apply it to your life. 
  • To pick up your own “My ALL IN” card from reception and start seeking God’s direction about (a) how He is calling you to grow as a living sacrifice, offering everything you are and have in His service; (b) what the areas of life and thought are where you most need to grow in your understanding of God’s perspective.
As we continue through the year do look out for ways in which you individually or your small group can get involved in the realisation of our vision.

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What will the coming year hold?
We’re hoping to equip our church family to capture and live out our vision for 2018 in a number of ways in the coming months. We trust that our Sunday teaching program, including the ALL IN foundation series in Romans 12-13, will provide a key opportunity for the transformation of our minds as we look at God’s word together.

A number of courses will be running in the coming year including the Wholeness Course which, in 2017, provided an excellent opportunity for transformation and equipping for sacrificial living. We’ll also be focusing on training and equipping our leaders and those witnessing in the workplace.

There’ll be many opportunities to offer ourselves in serving our church family including as part of the new 9:30 and 11:15 core teams we plan to develop. We’ll be encouraging fellowship through our small groups, Sunday lunches, the upcoming SIX weekend away and as we look forward to a whole church weekend away from 21-23 June 2019.

Along with these things we’ll be looking further afield as we encourage short-term mission and stand in solidarity with the persecuted church across the globe through prayer and partnership.

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Our prayer for the year
Father God, thank you that Jesus gave his ALL IN for us on the cross. In the light of his sacrifice, we affirm our desire to be ALL IN for you and your kingdom.

Show us what it means to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Help us to be committed to your causes – rising to new challenges, risking true accountability, serving others whole-heartedly and living a truly integrated life.

We commit ourselves afresh to you. Renew our minds by the light of your word. Keep us from being conformed to the world’s patterns and instead transform us by the power of your Spirit – so that we may prove what is good and pleasing and perfect to you, our God and Saviour, through Jesus Christ, Amen.


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