Digging in!

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We live in a West London suburb. We're about 20 -30 mins into the centre of town. Crossrail, which is going to link West to East London, will change the area in which we are dramatically. You'll be able to get right into the City in 15 minutes and so house prices are expected to rocket over the next couple of years. We're not really sure what that means for us as a church family but our hope is to continue being a local church that is invested in people and relationships in the area.

Why am I writing this? People often ask me what has encouraged me. Well, over the last two weeks two young families from our congregation have bought homes in the area of our church. Neither of the couples have well paid jobs. They are professionals but nothing spectacular. It's a big sacrifice for them to stay in this area when they could have bought a larger house further out. I did a jig of delight when I heard. What this means is that, God willing, there are families bedded down in the area. Children who will go to local schools, parents that will be reached at the school gate, kids dragged along to the church's clubs, families cajoled into coming to the church bbq, baptisms to which folk will be invited. God willing relationships that will last decades in the community.

Those are great reasons but I think the reason I am so delighted is the huge difference it makes to a church family to have stability, with families who are willing to dig in and stay in the area for the long term . I was speaking to one of the Dads in our congregation and his son has made best friends in school with two lads in the last couple of years, each of whom has moved on to a different part of the world at the end of the year. The disappointment, the loss  that there is when there are not deep seated friendships for our children is enormous. We need within the church, both as adults and as children, long standing friendships which will endure.

I don't want to go all right wing on this. Immigration is fantastic in that it has brought the nations to hear the gospel. It means our children get to know parts of the world in a way I never did growing up in glorious Swansea; but there are downsides to it. Our area has been in such a flux the last number of years and is constantly changing. The lack of stability of even our neighbours has a great effect on many of our streets. That means deep seated relationships are harder to build, community is more difficult to sustain and so people become more isolated. There are upsides too undoubtedly. Our church is enormously blessed by being international but there is a need for people, and particularly families, to forgo a bigger house in the country and stick living in the city. I look around our church family and there are people who are now older but have stuck with the church and this area and have been the spine of the congregation in many ways for decades.

It's one of the reasons I'm so glad these families have committed to this area. It says to the world around us: ''We are here to stay; we are committed to this area to see the church built, people reached with the gospel and (dare I say it) to see a community transformed by the Lord''.
Posted March 24, 2015 @ 5:26 AM by Paul Levy

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