Blog: September 2022 - Viable and Sustainable
Updated: Sep 29, 2022
With the Harvest coming in, and all the life in our farms producing the food we all need; I think how much we test things to be viable and sustainable. Businesses and organisations need to consider this for their future, and we even use it in regards to living things - even human life.
The very sad recent case of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee has been played out in the media. Whilst Archie appeared sustainable for some time on life support after a tragic accident at home, it because clear that his life had already ended as his life support treatment was ended.
Our small village churches often have to consider issues of viability and stainability. But unlike all God’s created life on this earth (not just the crops we harvest) that one day comes to an end, the church of Jesus Christ is always viable, because God is eternal and has raised His son Jesus Christ to resurrection life. Jesus says ‘I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’
So, whenever the people of God gather even in tiny numbers (Jesus says ‘wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there am I’) there is life – viability!
But is the church always sustainable? Clearly not in all its forms. Churches struggling to operate and continue are often given ‘life support’ in terms of grants or other churches supporting them – one way in which our 5 local churches continue is by the mutual support we give to each other. But churches do close. We all know buildings that used to be churches and chapels even in our 5 villages, and others have been demolished over the centuries. But the people of God - and not the buildings - are the church. And wherever God’s people gather there is life and viability! We are faced across our nation of the challenge of 10s of 1,000s of beautiful ancient churches and chapels impossible to be maintained by the small faithful vibrant people of God who meet in them, and who try to raise money to run them and pay for ministry too.
So, the church – because it’s God’s church – is always viable. But the way we have done it in the past may no longer be sustainable. Our Bishop has said that a church closure will never be considered unless the local people say they can serve their communities better as the viable people of God in a different way. So, it’s up to us. But we also have a living, active and very viable God who can and does sustain us! So, we look to Him as to how our churches can be not just viable but sustainable too. The same God who gives us the harvest and the food we need can work through us for His church to grow and flourish as well.