Trustees' Perspective: Different perspective
The Rev David Cameron calls on the Church to embrace uncertainty in faith.
If we all agree on one thing it is that we have overly complex systems within the Church – which we have committed to simplify as they can hold us back in making critical progress.
There is still such complexity in the way we work that we often can't see the impact of every change initiated, and therefore what results is often criticism and resistance to plans and strategies that seem to disrupt the day to day delivery of the Church's functions.
Considering different perspectives on the way forward, and staying up-to-date can be overwhelming, with much information to digest and comment to make, often leading to confusion and uncertainty. What should I believe? Who should I listen to? Who should I trust?
Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the "faith chapter" of the Bible highlighting the stories of individuals who exhibited unwavering faith in the midst of life's uncertainties and confusions. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah, among others – whose lives are a testament to the power of faith in the face of perplexity.
‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.'
Abraham and Sarah were called by God to leave their home and go to an unknown destination. Imagine the uncertainty they must have felt as they left behind their familiar surroundings, family, and friends. They didn't know where they were going, but they went in faith.
Likewise, we find ourselves in situations where we don't have all the answers. We may face theological dilemmas, disagreements, or questions about the direction of our Church. In these moments, we must be like Abraham and Sarah, continuing to move forward in faith, trusting that God is leading us even when the path seems uncertain.
Hebrews 11 is filled with stories of faith in action, acknowledging the struggles faced by faithful individuals. While not immune to doubts, fears, or uncertainties, they pressed on in faith, committed to God's plan. As we navigate the uncertainties and confusions in our Church, its crucial to turn our questions and doubts into opportunities for deeper trust in God.
We all know how difficult it is to lead a Church into a new place where the prevailing voice is, ‘it'll never work', or simply ‘no!' We are progressing the change to respond to changes in society and the Church. We are responding to a fall in our membership, a reduction in income, and a fall in the number of ministers working in our communities. The wide-ranging reforms involve congregations uniting, sharing ministry and reducing the Church's buildings footprint.
The reforms are designed to help local churches work together effectively and efficiently, to fulfil the Church's mission dynamically and sustainably. We need to experiment and invest to fund a capacity for community amidst the disrupting changes around us and be the thriving Church of a new era.
Amidst all our responsibilities, we are encouraged to cultivate the kind of faith that propels us forward, even in unclear paths, trusting God's guidance.
Much like the heroes described in Hebrews 11 may we embrace the uncertainties with faith, allowing our Church to flourish in the face of change.
Rev David S Cameron
Convener, Assembly Trustees
This article first appeared in Life and Work's February 2024 issue. Digital and print subscriptions to Life and Work are available.