At Pathways, church is not just about a Sunday service. Church is family, and families are much more than meetings - they are based on relationships! Therefore, it is important for us to spend time getting to know one other and enjoying each other’s company.
Being family is one of the reasons we don't meet formally every Sunday. We meet for a celebration on the first and third Sundays of each month, which leaves time for other activities like serving the community and spending time together.
EXPEDITION TO TODDLERS COVE
Last Sunday was a great example: We met at Toddlers Cove playground in Canterbury for a fun-filled morning for all ages. We were blessed with beautiful weather. Although chilly, the sun was shining - and we had a great turnout of families and friends as a result.
Families with young children enjoyed the large wooden play area by the river. Another group walked along the historic city walls and around the old city centre by the cathedral. Another more adventurous group walked away from the town along the river towards Chartham.
ENJOYING CANTERBURY CITY
After the walks, we all met up in the city centre. Some enjoyed a well-earned coffee together, and others had lunch at MacDonalds - a great treat for the children! All of that was topped off by a beautiful stroll with friends through Westgate park, back to the cars
Lots of fun was had by all. Plenty of chatting and catching up with one another took place; new friends were made, and we enjoyed the wonderful outdoors together. It felt as though God was shining down on us!
If you would like to be part of a church family that enjoys spending time together, do get in touch! Or you could come along one Sunday morning to a celebration at the community centre - and check out who we are! We would love to meet you.
How are you feeling about starting a new year?
However you may be feeling, we do know as a leadership team that God has already spoken to us about HIS plans for us as a church! There is good reason to be hopeful! We can now introduce you to our new theme for this term: CHANGING CLOTHES!
This theme was very clearly given to us, with some remarkable confirmations, and is going to be setting us up for what God has indicated He wants to do in our lives this year.
Hazel Pattison initially brought a word about this at Ben and Kaat’s induction last October. You can find a link to the audio/text here: “A change of season requires a change of clothes.”
We already know that we are entering a new season, and it has already begun with the changes last year. But seasons change slowly, and there is more to come: This year we believe that more things are going to shift.
what does CHANGING CLOTHES mean?
In the bible, clothes are used to represent our internal state. For example, sackcloth was often worn during periods of mourning. The sackcloth material was scratchy and uncomfortable. The outer discomfort represented the internal emotional discomfort that the wearer was experiencing.
So when we talk about changing clothes, it represents changes happening in different areas of our life. This is a great theme for New Year, thinking about what things we want to leave behind from the past (take off) and things we want to put on in the year ahead.
Biblically, we can broadly group them into four areas of life that clothes can represent:
1. spiritual state
Clothes can represent our spiritual state or condition. Think about the following verses:
So we can take off things like fear, unforgiveness, spiritual bondage, generational curses, shame and condemnation. We can put on our new self in Christ, e.g. our new identity, salvation, oneness with Christ, freedom, holiness, righteousness and the power of the Holy Spirit.
In particular, white clothes or washing clothes represents spiritual cleansing, purity or righteousness:
We are believing God for some spiritual breakthrough and change in our lives this year! Also, let's believe for good spiritual shifts in friends and family, and in people who are close to us.
reflect and prAY
2. character or attitude
Clothes can represent an inner quality, such as our character or attitude. Here are some examples:
So we can take off attitudes and character traits that that are not good. (Galatians 5 mentions some, such as sexual immorality, impurity, anger, selfish ambition, dissections, factions, idolatry, outbursts of anger, envy, drunkenness… but there are many more.)
We can put on good attitudes and character traits in line with the fruit of the Spirit (listed in the same passage) such as love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.
I can think of some people in Pathways who have visibly grown over the past year in terms of their character and attitude. We are believing God to see visible evidence of positive change in all of our lives this coming year!
reflect and pray
3. SOMETHING WE DO
Clothes can represent our job, role, purpose or calling. In real life we have specific clothes for performing certain activities, like a nurse's uniform, business suit or swimming costume.
Here are a couple of examples from the bible. There are many more, such as wedding clothes and armour for battle.
So we can take off old roles. You could say Dave took off his business clothes and put on his handyman overalls. Nicky put on her children’s ministry clothes when she came to Pathways. Some people have put on parenting clothes.
We believe more of us are going to be called to change job, ministry role, or the things we do in some way. So don’t assume that what you have done in previous seasons or in previous churches, is what you will be doing in the coming season!
reflect and pray
The type or condition of our clothes can be indicative of our situation or circumstances. In the bible people often changed clothes when their circumstances changed. Here are a couple of examples:
Our circumstance includes having the necessary provision and equipping for what we need to do:
Our circumstance in Christ is that we have everything we need provided and available to us. That is our situation! But are we seeing that manifesting in practice? Does our situation need to change? Do we feel held back, restricted or imprisoned by circumstances, by lack, or by doors that won’t open?
We might need financial provision, practical provision, a job or a new house. We might need the power of Holy Spirit, or understanding/training (e.g. equipping).
We are believing for some of our circumstances to be changed this year!
reflect and pray
THROW OFF ANYTHING THAT HINDERS...
As per the verse in Hebrews 12 above, we want to encourage all of you to partner with the Holy Spirit to throw off anything that hinders you from walking in freedom and fulfilling your destiny.
fixing our eyes on jesus...
But we also need to fix our eyes on Jesus. It is not just about the changes that we would like to see happen. This is the time to seek God for what HE sees for you, in the new season. Ask Him to give you a renewed vision for your life.
You can use the prayer and reflection points in this article as a starting point to talk to God about these things.
This time next year things could look very different; You could look different! Your situation and what you do could look different. Let's trust that we will look back and be amazed at what God has accomplished, and at what we have accomplished in Him!
Here is the YouTube video version of this talk: