Why do we have Jesus Centres?
To demonstrate who God is. His heart to welcome and include everybody. To serve the poor.
James says true religion is looking after the orphans and the widows. Jesus told us the parable about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. If we’re not doing those things we can’t call ourselves Christians. We don’t want to be hypocritical, we want to be who we say we are and be light to the world. It’s important to do that because we’re demonstrating God’s heart and that’s what He wants to do. Jesus showed that in who He honoured, valued and lifted up.
What mistakes have we learnt from through developing our Jesus Centres?
We set off on an island, on our own. Now we’re learning to partner with other organisations and other churches with the same heart. We’re hoping in the future that we can continue to work on that partnership and play to each other’s strengths. It means the gospel is demonstrated through the unity of churches as well as service to the poor.
What would you like to see our Jesus Centres look like in ten years’ time?
I can only really speak for Northampton but it may be relevant to others. I really want to see community happening in the Jesus Centres. I want to see the Northampton Jesus Centre become the home of the Northampton congregation more than it is at the moment.
It’s not only a great place to serve, it’s a great place to be together and being on the frontline like that binds us together. I’d like to see it be a home for the church but also there’s room for different communities. We want to create community in the café and in the drop-in.
What have Jesus Centres added to our church?
As a church we’ve needed a credible, permanent, consistent interface with the world for a long time. Before, we focused on just street evangelism – bringing people in.
The Jesus Centre demonstrates the generosity of God because it’s just giving, asking nothing in return. That’s been good for us as a church to have that opportunity and it’s provided a forum for people to fulfil their ministry. Not everyone can do street evangelism and feel confident but the Jesus Centre is a way to love people and a great chance to meet and love people outside of church.
It’s saved us from suffocating in our own environment. We’ve still got a long way to go in terms of breaking out of our “locked-in-ness”. We set out to create community at home and work and as a result we’ve alienated ourselves and we need to be more involved in witnessing to people.
The Jesus Centre helps us do that. We all need to make it a priority to serve the poor and live out what Jesus commanded us to do.