31 Years of ACBC

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Chris was one of the first people to join us after we were planted as a new church by Ashford Baptist Church

ACBC 31 YEARS OLD:- The Early Days – Reflection by Chris for our 31st Anniversary

PS 63: O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,
just like in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

Oh that we were all longing for God and above all, with that intensity, all the time

Beware – this is my Personal view – what I remember, and memories are so fallible – some even talk of false memories – and it is what saw and heard etc – all this is from my perspective, others will have seen things differently, and will evaluate differently.So if you see me Martin  and Roy in fisticuss later on that’s the reason

 Also memories are so selective – I have remembered some things, but forget most of what happened. Also we see selectively and that often betrays our sheer selfishness and how self-centred we are. I am going to let you see my sheer selfishness and self-centeredness in spades. If I cause offence, then that is not at all intended. I will make about six points.

A. Not there at beginning- R and Flo, Davd, Eileen and Kathryn, Martin and Hil, Norman are alone still  here of the originals My ex-wife Anne and my few months old first child Daughter  E, now herself the mother of a slightly older daughter, were there very near the start, but I came a few months later.

It was a Church Plant from ABC, who sent 3 leaders – Roy J, Roy W, and Ron Goddard to open a church in an Anglican daughter Church of St Saviours, then a very high Anglican church, no longer in use situated in Napier Rd, Ashford Common, near where I live at present –indeed I chose to live there for that reason-but guess what, shortly after that we moved here. Terrible – I could have lived in Egham near work

B.An VeryExciting Time – building a church from scratch, founding a church just like we see when reading our bibles, a NT Church. A real buzz and excitement about that and the Holy Spirit we were seeking to empower us, for our daily life and for our church life. We were asking God to send his Spirit so we each had special gifts to do this so his great name would be honoured. Every time we met –what will God do today. It was so exciting, fresh, liberating, and beautiful – sheer joy to be alive.

C.We were mainly, middle class, quite a few been to Uni. We were young-the non leaders were 20-35, and it felt male as males were leaders at all levels. Fortunately now we are much more inclusive, wider spread of class and educational backgrounds and female especially in leadership. We are much more focused on evangelism thanks to a previous leader John, but mainly and especially due to David and very much so to Lindsay. So great improvement at all levels but one – we desperately need more younger people -0-16, 17-35, 36-55

D.Great for me – When at RHC, asked to be on CU Committee as Prayer Secretary, but strongly believed God did not want me then, or now in Leadership, Leadership of any form. They then asked me if I would do a subcommittee post- menial tasks such a oversea students, tea party – Bible study coordinator- a one off post, never had before, and never had again-4 Bible Studies a week of many types – in my element

At NRCF, People seemed to like my bible studies at the evening meetings on sun evening and wed evening meetings. Then I would work out some points which I turned into questions – Unfortunately I have lost that knack since now I just tell my interpretations – I was better then, but a bit boring now. Soon 2 housegroups set up with Paul Barrow and Martin Taylor in charge. I was Paul’s Deputy and did many of the Bible Studies –I loved it. Eventually I was allowed to Preach-1st few were grim, I was full of nerves and worries before and in the delivery and above all I felt really, really, really bad after it – so assaulted, almost physically it seemed, by so many negative thoughts – but I was allowed to continue and felt good eventually but only after a few years of the bad thoughts, the nerves and  the worries in preparing, delivering and afterwards – the only bad time now is in the service just before the delivery, were I am full of worries and nerves. Any of you out there if you have felt bad during or after doing worship or preaching – just hang in on there and with time, patience, perseverance, etc God will turn things round – in some cases God will do it miraculously, and very early

E. Society has massively changed since then – from then mildly pro, or indifferent to Christianity, to what is so often now - outrightly hostile. The traditional view would often coincide with the Christian view on moral issues – now seen to be way out of line or even racist, anti-feminist, anti-gay, even sheer bigoted etc- though we hate any form of bigotry.

Cof E was called Tory Party at prayer, now Evangelicals seem to be UKIP at prayer –we have not changed –but society has – and massively so

F. Future – Lets get that desire for God to act and be desperate for his Holy Spirit, recover that feeling of newness, going places,  freshness, while continuing to be inclusive, better at evangelism, and, above all, seek out the young

 O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy


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