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The slow nature of Christian ministry

It was Jonathan Milton-Thompson who said to us a year or two ago, 'You may not see the fruit of the work you're doing now. Maybe your children won't see it. It might be your great-grandchildren's generation who reap the fruit of your labours. It doesn't mean it's not worth it - so keep on!'

As we head towards the close of 2010, we are ever conscious of the meaning of Jesus' parable: his kingdom looks like a mustard seed. Nothing. Yet we hold on to the truth that it will be seen to be biggest thing of all.

Like our snow-covered garden, our church's progress may seem so slow and quiet. Illnesses, setbacks, people drifting (as well as those coming, and growing), frustrations, disappointments... The world around us carries on in its wreckless complacency towards Almighty God. Jesus is now forgotton from Christmas. The people we want to reach out to are so ingrained in godless ways it's hard to know where to start.

Yet Jesus says to us, 'Take heart! I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33) Paul says, 'Therefore we do not lose heart.' (2 Corinthians 4:16) We look ahead to 2011 with fresh hope and energy, knowing Christ will build his church. We remain joyful, faithful, delighted by the gospel of Jesus, trusting in his providence over all, pressing on energetically with visible results or not.