As most of you will know, about 12 years ago I shared a vision with as many other Ministers and Pastors I could at the time in Papakura. It was to do with what later became known as Papakura Alive And Transformed (PAAT) which was a movement of like-minded church leaders who wanted to see our local community transformed after God’s own heart. There was huge enthusiasm and buy-in from those of us who were there at the time; we held combined church services once a year for three or four years, and these were always well-attended with hundreds being involved.
Over the years as you would expect, there has been a change in leadership amongst us with some Pastors retiring whilst others going overseas to mission fields, or simply moving to other districts in NZ. This has brought about a significant change in the make-up of the current gathering of Ministers and Pastors, such that, the original vision has become somewhat blurred in the minds of some present, in spite of revisiting the vision at times over the years.
One of the key points of connection of course, is the leaders all share a similar theology and emphasis of the Gospel based on historic, orthodox Christianity. By acknowledging that our theological foundations were the same, we could then rejoice in the differences of interpretation that would not impact the core of the faith. This too, in terms of the make-up of the leaders group has changed.
It is perhaps this last thing which has, more than anything else, encouraged me to come to that conclusion of which I never thought possible, which is to recognise that the season for PAAT in its current form has drawn closed. As a result, Warrick, Andrew and I will not be participating in the local leaders gatherings in their current form from now on although the vision for PAAT remains strong in each of us personally and together. I shared my concerns with Session earlier this month and received support from them for this decision.
This does not mean that we, as a local church, cease to pray for the other ‘flavours’ of God’s Church as we have done every week for the past 12 years; of course we will and we must. It is crucially important, and our calling, that we pray for God’s blessings on each other’s fellowships because we are still God’s family together. His Kingdom is still working out in our midst and we, sure as eggs, want to be a part of what He is doing in part through us. So we keep seeking God’s Kingdom for Papakura and beyond.
Seasons can and do change, so this is what this is at the moment. I am sure that God will lead the leaders into a new era of possibilities of which we can all be a part, and I for one look forward to this.