Bet you never thought you’d see those four things together anywhere, never mind in the title of a blog! Yet here we are – and actually we could add another “C,” as I am enjoying some Cadbury’s Bournville Chocolate Buttons as I write.
I thought it might be of interest for you to get a glimpse into my morning, which has involved all the above things, mainly over a conversation with my most esteemed of colleagues, Mr Rob Jones (he told me to write that last bit). Every month I try to get together with staff members for a one-to-one, to see how they are getting on, and to chat over any issues that may be of concern to them. This will normally take place away from the office, in one of Biggleswade’s many fine coffee establishments. Today we were chatting about all things connected with Rob’s role as Youth Worker and how it has been affected, as we all have, by Covid – like many other things the Youth work has had to go online, but they have recently been meeting in person again, and one of the things they have been discussing is how charismatic we are at BBC. Some think we are not very charismatic, others think we are – so that probably means we have the balance about right; but the discussion does beg the question, “What makes a church a charismatic church?” The Greek word “Charismata” refers to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their use in church – normally meaning freedom in worship, waving hands, speaking or singing in tongues, prophecy and the like. These happen a lot in very charismatic churches, often accompanied by people falling down in the power of the Holy Spirit. But if we simply focus on the outward, spectacular gifts, we miss out on the richer, deeper meaning of charismatic – it’s a bit like slurping the froth on a fizzy drink but leaving the drink itself. Charismata also include, knowledge, discernment, understanding, helping, serving others…even administration (for a fuller list, check out Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4). Ultimately a charismatic church will include all of these things at one time or another, and the more we are open to the Holy Spirit the more we will see them, and the more the church will grow in the likeness of Christ.
In this “Covid time,” we need these gifts of the Spirit to be seen and evident as we serve one another and reach out to our community in love – and that, of course, is the numero uno, the kingpin, the top dog of spiritual gifts – just check out 1 Corinthians 13. All the other things are nothing without love. We cannot evangelise effectively (something else the Youth have been looking at as well as the adult congregation) without love. At the risk of sounding like that chap – Chico? – from the “talent show”, I feel a lot of love in our church family at BBC.
A Charismatic Church is first and foremost a Church that loves. And has good coffee. And shares Crosisants and Chocolate. And is willing to share all that it has with others. What does that look like today? That’s for us to work out in a safe, socially distanced kind of way as a group, and as individuals… oh, and don’t forget the Chocolate!