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Faithful Sacrifice: Shoulder-to-Shoulder

Date Monday, 3rd July 2023

Preached by Harry Kendall

From 23rd-25th July, a group from Globe headed to REVIVE. Co-Mission’s annual festival, where all the churches in the network gather to connect and praise our faithful God. Harry has shared in this blog something of how the weekend impacted him.

As those travelling in the car with me to REVIVE 2023 will know, I enjoy talking about food, and like a kid in a sweet shop. I am tempted to bounce around and tell of everything that God has taught me this weekend; From Matt Fuller’s teachings from Psalm 89 on God’s faithfulness in hiding; to Jesus’ faithful obedience at the garden of Gethsemane; and the affected sense of palpitation as Ray Galea – concluding his teachings on Philippians 1 – stirs a hair-raising, spirit-rousing commissioning of two-thousand people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, together proclaiming our faithful dedication to the gospel… But I have resisted such tendencies in the pursuit of a substantial meal to share with you.

It was in fact a far more understated moment of stage, that struck me – less sensational or apparently spectacular, yet it gripped my heartstrings, playing them amidst a fleeting though frequent inattentiveness. Following hours of sun-sweated sports in the thirty-degree heat, a weighty seminar, and a belly filled with copious amounts of satisfying, taste-bud-tingling meats, sweet treats, and litres of water which had I ingested would have kept at bay my admittedly desiccated and vacuous state. It was a time of prayer for particular persons and churches of the Co-Mission network. Leaders had begun to share all the glorious happenings emerging from their congregations to the city around, displaying God’s good faithfulness and love for all the people for whom these churches are standing together faithfully for the gospel. As Jesus says in Matthew 9:37 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few…’’

The moment began when a dozen or so people walked upon the stage, led by Scott Furey of Christ Church Mayfair, and stood as a group shoulder-to-shoulder. He said all that was being planned – for a group from Christ Church Mayfair (CCM) to go forth and plant a new church in the much unreached North-West London. It was, though, when Sharon Furey, his wife, began to speak with such striking honesty and rawness – displaying, through her emotions, real leadership as she prepares to depart a church that has been her home for so many years – that God seized my full attention. CCM is a place that she so evidently loves, from which she enters a new region. Sharon is ‘anxiously’ expectant of new struggles and ‘uncertainty’, and it is in her Christ-like sacrificial, faithful obedience to God, that she, together with her husband and a small church, trusts in God’s unending faithfulness to make God known to the nations – the unreached in London. I now pray for Sharon, for Scott and the group going forth as new trials await them as well as new blessings to know God more dependently and to see the gospel transform boroughs, streets, and people’s lives. I pray also for the remaining church of CCM and the loss that they will be feeling as they encourage and send off a much-loved part of the family.

Whilst I do not feel presently convicted to church plant in the same way, I do ask God to help me be faithful to Him. In my day-to-day potentials for sacrificial evangelism to friends and family, course mates and coworkers, but particularly for specific events, for serving and evangelistic teams, and a great many other ways. Knowing that my flesh is weak, selfish, and idolatrous, it will inherently be a time of prayerfulness, reliance on the Spirit, and faithful submission to God that not my will but His be done. For this, God transforms me to be more than solitary or individualistic – it is a charge to stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder, and hold fast as one. As Philippians 1:27 declares ‘…I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel’.