"The Gospel is powerful. It changes lives."
Chris Sayburn, our former Worship Pastor, is now training to be a vicar and has a new role at St George’s involving alpha and missional events. He shares stories with us about how his family are growing in their bold life and encourages us to do the same;
"The Gospel is powerful. It changes lives, cities and nations and I want us to be more confident in sharing it."
Tell us about your role and some of the highlights...
It’s been a great season; this term we saw 3 guests from our Alpha Course get baptised. In October I was invited to speak at a city wide youth event on the evening of Halloween; this is often a time when we say no to our young people at Church, but ‘Club Neon’ was a chance to say yes, bring friends and let’s party! I simply shared the good news of Jesus and 3 young people gave their lives to Him that night and are now plugged into a local church. At our first Christmas event, Contemporary Carols, I invited people to ‘step into the Light’ and many people came to faith in Jesus.
The Gospel is powerful. It changes lives, cities and nations and I want us to be more confident in sharing it.
Training to be a vicar, working for a church, being a husband and a dad must take up a lot of time, so how are your family trying to grow in bold life?
Firstly, I work hard to try and get the balance right between my differing roles. My most important role is being a husband and a dad. I’ve had to learn this the hard way at times but have grown in this area and it makes all the difference.
Secondly, it’s important to recognise that God calls us to be missional; not just to study the Gospel and attend services, but to live it. My wife Cat and I try to be a Christian presence in the local school our kids attend, and have had the privilege of journeying with many people through difficult times. For a week we were at the bedside of a child in my son’s class when he had a brain tumor removed; the doctors gave him little odds to live. We were able to pray for him and his mum and simply love them in such difficult circumstances. I’m so glad to say he is fit and well and causing all sorts of mischief! He moved into our area with his mum and we take him to football every week with us.
We’ve recently started using Facebook local buy and sell pages as a way to be able to meet and bless others in our area. As a result we’ve been able to give to those in need, pray with people and share Jesus with them. One person has joined an Alpha Course in their local church as a result. We’ve also recently made friends with a non-church couple in our area who bought a coat from us; they are coming round to ours for drinks again soon!
Being intentional and creative has led to new opportunities and we’ve had our eyes opened to the needs of those around us. My son, Jacob, has also been keen to step out in bold life at school, encouraging his classmates to sell toys to raise money for St George’s Crypt. He loves speaking about Jesus to his mates….and he’s 8 years old!
"I believe it’s no coincidence that as we’ve stepped out in faith, we’ve seen people come to know Jesus."
How can this work for the rest of us?
As a church family we are great at gathering for services, Networks and Small Groups, which is really important. However, my prayer is for a greater confidence in the Gospel which will lead to a greater boldness in mission; so we gather in order to be sent out.
Some of you will know straight away where God is calling you to step out, but if you are not sure where to start, consider inviting friends to join you at the The Alpha Course which starts on 14th January. Or why not consider doing Alpha as a Network or Small Group with your friends? What a great yet simple opportunity to meet with others for a meal, chat in a non-threatening environment and talk about the big questions of life and faith! There’s no greater privilege than seeing people’s eyes opened to who Jesus is and seeing them discover who they are in Him.
"...as we step out in boldness, God meets us there."
I believe it’s no coincidence that as we’ve stepped out in faith, we’ve seen people come to know Jesus. I’m aware it is tough (and awkward!) at times, but as we step out in boldness, God meets us there. He really does. The Gospel has so much power to transform lives, so let’s start living it out!
"...why not take time out even now to seek God’s guidance; where does He want you to invest?"
Finally, what can St G’s pray for?
Pray that we as a church grow in our bold life. Pray for more people to come to faith in Jesus. Pray that more people join Small Groups and Networks for deeper discipleship and stronger relationships with God. Please also pray for St Barnabas Theological College as it trains missional leaders for the church in today’s culture.
Finally, in all this, why not take time out even now to seek God’s guidance; where does He want you to invest? Who does He want you to get alongside? How can you step out and be more missional?
Listen to stories from other members of St George's here, including Julie Collins and why she serves the homeless at Christmas and Mark Pallant sharing about his love for music and the Gospel.