Put out into deep water (Colin Brown)

Monday, 21 July, 2008

Colin Brown challenges us to put out into deep water.

'God believes in creative experimentation' claims a page in the Guide. And Are there any dangers? Haven't there been scandals in the past? talks of the importance of taking risks and moving forward.

Sand and seaA thread running through many fresh expressions is God's call to take risks – to step out of comfort zones. Maybe the Spirit doesn't want us to become too settled or reliant on our own way of doing mission and being church.

Jesus did this when he called his first disciples - pioneers who helped God to build his church. To Simon the fisherman, who had caught nothing all night long, Jesus says, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' (Luke 5.4) Although he is sceptical, Simon does so and then experiences what it means to trust in the power of God. Perhaps he doesn't really understand why his net is full, but now the way he sees Jesus is changed through taking the risk.

The spirituality of fresh expressions is the spirituality of risk. We can sit on a familiar shoreline and gaze at the shallows where we have grown comfortable with the way things are. But Jesus offers a deeper invitation: to try something different; to see that there may be new ways of reaching people and finding some way to answer the question, 'what might the kingdom of God look like for them?'

As fresh expressions leaders have taken a risk, however, sometimes they find that this didn't work out. But that first step was important. God showed them one path, only for them to find that this leads to something else quite different. Yet, to get there, the first step was vital.

Simon Peter took the risk of 'putting out into deep water'. How might God be asking something similar of you, or your church? Ask him to show you, and to be the power needed for his kingdom come.

About the author: 

Colin Brown is a Church Army Evangelist exploring a fresh expression amongst the art community.

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