My name is Rich, I am a Baptist Minister concerned with issues of equality and justice, in particular how the church should be a leading example of inclusion, compassion and in challenging injustice. My primary concern is not with growing a particular congregation but in seeing God’s kingdom on earth – not a kingdom of power and strength but one of humility; a community where those who consider themselves vulnerable and broken are welcomed as equals and friends with feel healthy and strong. I believe the Church should heed the words of the Prophets Isaiah and Micah:
Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.Isaiah 1:17
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?Micah 6:8
The Church should be concerned with Jesus’ recalling of the commands to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves” (Mark 12:30-31) and even “Love one another as I [Jesus] have loved you” (John 13:34) before committing to his commissioning to “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).
When we as the church do go and make disciples this means going into all the world –
the world of disability; the world of the young; the world of the old; the world of LGBTQIA; the world of business; the world on unemployment; the world of isolation and loneliness; the world of addiction; the world of families; the world of grief and loss; the world of anger; the world of the enslaved; the world of refugees; the world of minorities; the world of majorities; the world of politics; the world of medicine; the world of science; the world of education; the world of sport; the world of the arts; the world of inequality; the world of the rich; the world of the poor; the world of doubt; and the world of faith
– not just other nations but the worlds we inhabit and find around us in the communities in which we live. This means leaving the comfort of our church buildings and Sunday morning services and engaging with the whole of God’s world, for all are made in God’s image.
The Church should be leading the way responding to the needs of our neighbours not just with benevolence but with love. Giving of ourselves to address issues of poverty, grief, exclusion and suffering as this the call of God upon His people throughout all scripture.
The Broken Church is a space for me to discuss my thinking and connect with others who feel the same. The church does not need any more polished pastors who can offer a good performance on a Sunday morning but we need honest, authentic pastors who recognise we are broken and that God works most perfectly through our weakness and brokenness rather than our strength. I strive to be a broken pastor.
Grace and peace